Teacher: I have here the essay written by Esme for the assignment I gave you for Easter, the feast of Ēostre, the Anglo-Saxon pagan celebration of the Goddess of Spring. You were to explain the famous hymn written by Johann Sebastian Bach in his “Saint Matthew Passion”:
O Sacred Head ill-used,
by reed and bramble scarred,
that idle blows have bruised,
and mocking lips have marred.
Now dimmed that eye so tender,
how wan those cheeks appear,
how overcast the splendour
that angel hosts revere!
This hymn, “O Sacred Head”, refers to the headland that juts out to sea. It was sacred to the indigenous people before the European colonists came over and stole and raped the land. Until then it had been a sacred headland, and now it is covered in invasive species of introduced noxious plants. That is why it is scared by weeds and brambles.
The colonists mocked the native people and they pined away. How overcast the splendour of their ancestral heritage.
It is amazing how far ahead of his time Bach really was. It points to his absolute genius that he was not only able to compose wonderful music but could foresee the harm brought to the planet by the devastating colonists.