Samuel Barber composed this piece as part of his “Hermit Songs” in 1953. The text was written by an anonymous Irish monk, sometime between the 8th and 13th centuries. The English translation below is by Howard Mumford Jones.
Sometimes, even if something might not be 100% theologically accurate, it hits on a nerve of truth that otherwise would have been left hidden.
At the cry of the first bird
They began to crucify Thee, O Swan!
Never shall lament cease because of that.
It was like the parting of day from night.
Ah, sore was the suffering borne
By the body of Mary’s Son,
But sorer still to Him was the grief
Which for His sake
Came upon His Mother.