Finzi, Gerald: Lo, the full, final sacrifice

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Lo, the full, final sacrifice (1946)

Lo, the full, final sacrifice
On which all figures fix’t their eyes.
The ransomed Isaac, and his ram;
The Manna, and the Paschal Lamb.
Jesu Master, just and true!
Our food, and faithful shepherd too!

O let that love which thus makes thee
Mix with our low mortality,
Lift our lean souls, and set us up
Convictors of thine own full cup,
Co-heirs of saints, that so all may
Drink the same wine; and the same way;
Nor change the pasture, but the place
To feed of Thee in thine own face.

O dear memorial of that death
Which lives still, and allows us breath!
Rich, royal food! Bountiful bread!
Whose use denies us to the dead!
Live ever, bread of loves, and be
My life, my soul, my surer self to me.

Help, Lord, my faith, my hope increase;
And fill my portion in thy peace.
Give love for life; nor let my days
Grow, but in new powers to thy name and praise.

Rise, Royal Sion! rise and sing
Thy soul’s kind shepherd, thy heart’s King
Stretch all thy powers; call if you can
Harps of heaven to hands of man.
This sovereign subject sits above
The best ambition of thy love.

Lo the bread of life, this day’s
Triumphant text provokes thy praise.
The living and life-giving bread,
To the great twelve distributed
When life, himself, at point to die
Of love, was his own legacy.

O soft self-wounding Pelican!
Whose breast weeps balm for wounded man.
All this way bend thy benign flood
To a bleeding heart that gasps for blood.
That blood, whose least drops sovereign be
To wash my worlds of sins from me.
Come love! Come Lord! and that long day
For which I languish, come away,
When this dry soul those eyes shall see,
And drink the unseal’d source of thee;
When Glory’s sun faith’s shades shall chase,
And for thy veil give me thy face. Amen.

Words: from Richard Crashaw (c.1613–49)
translations of the Hymns of St Thomas Aquinas
Music: Gerald Finzi (1901–56)