Wednesday of Holy Week: The Ruthwell Cross

South side of the Ruthwell Cross
South side of the Ruthwell Cross

Ruthwell Cross Inscription (8th c)

Girded him then
God Almighty
When he would
Step on the gallows,
Fore all mankind
Mindfast, fearless,
Bow me durst I not.

Rood was I reared now
Rich king heaving,
The lord of light-realms;
Lean me I durst not.
Us both they basely mocked and handled,
Was I there with blood bedabbled,
Gushing grievous from his dear side
When his ghost he had uprendered.

Christ was on rood-tree,
But fast from afar
His friends hurried
To aid their atheling (prince).
Everything I saw.
Sorely was I with sorrows harrowed,
Yet humbly I inclined
To the hands of his servants
Striving with might to aid him,
With streals (shafts) was I all wounded.
Down they laid him limb-weary,
O’er his lifeless head then stood they,
Heavily gazing and heaven’s chieftain.

-Trans. Professor Stephens

For more on the Ruthwell Cross, see my posts The Ruthwell Cross and The Ruthwell Cross and Caution When Analysing Historical Christianity.

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