Scripture Verse

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

Introduction

portrait
Thomas T. Lynch
1818–1871

Words: Tho­mas T. Lynch, The Ri­vu­let, third ed­i­tion, en­larged (Lon­don: Long­mans, Green, Read­er & Dyer, 1868), num­ber 115.

Music: Vox Di­lec­ti John B. Dykes, 1868 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

illustration
The Crucifixion
Léon J. F. Bonnat
1833–1922

Lyrics

Today they know not what they do;
Tomorrow, when they see
Their deed, how cruel, must they rue
Wrong done half-wittingly?
When trembling they for mercy sue,
Wilt Thou severely say,
Your hands in blood ye did imbrue;
Die, then,
and turn away?

No, that be far from Thee, to break
These penitents so bruised,
Whose hearts for that wild error ache
They did with minds confused:
Their sin, that made the dull earth shake,
The speechless heav’ns grow black,
Thy mercy quite away can take,
When Love comes conqueror back—

Love, stronger than the grave and hell,
Than fire and frozen death—
To be life’s cool eternal well,
Life’s mild eternal breath.
Sweet sap within the cross shall swell,
Green branches round it twine,
That heav’nly fruits to earth may tell
This sorrow was divine.