Paulinus of Nola (353-431)
(trans. Helen Waddell)
THE WORD OF THE CROSS
Look on thy God, Christ hidden in our flesh.
A bitter word, the cross, and bitter sight:
Hard rind without, to hold the heart of heaven.
Yet sweet it is; for God upon that tree
Did offer up his life: upon the rood
My Life hung, that my life might stand in God.
Christ, what am I to give Thee for my life:
Unless take from Thy hands the cup they hold,
To cleanse me with the precious draught of death.
What shall I do? My body to be burned?
Make myself vile? The debt's not paid out yet.
Whate'er I do, it is but I and Thou,
And still do I come short, still must Thou pay
My debts, O Christ; for debts Thyself hadst none.
What love may balance Thine? My Lord was found
In fashion like a slave, that so His slave
Might find himelf in fashion like his Lord.
Think you the bargain's hard, to have exchanged
The transcient for the eternal, to have sold
Earth to buy Heaven? More dearly God bought me.