On this webpage: https://www.aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2011/04/stond-wel-moder-under-rode.html I discovered a medieval English song: Stand well, Moder, under Rode. You can find this song in several manuscripts after 1250. It is modelled directly on the 11-stanza Latin sequence Stabat juxta Christi crucem.
The song invites, like the Stabat Mater, to sympathise with Mary and her Son, dying on the cross (rode). Meditation on their sorrows, as a way of entering into the experience of the Crucifixion, was an increasingly popular devotional theme in Middle Ages.
The situation is being represented even in a more poignant way while Mary and Christ talk to each other. Their tender speeches are intensely intimate, vivid and believable. Christ is trying to comfort her and explaining the necessity of his death: saving mankind. But his mother is unable to look beyond his immediate suffering. Christ is asking an impossible, paradoxical emotional response from her: to rejoice as she sees her son dying. Text and music are full of deep emotion, sorrow and love. Such a lively and credible dialogue you can’t find in the old Latin hymns.
In the Middle Ages it is believed that Mary suffered no pain in her pregnancy and childbirth. She felt the anguish of motherhood at last when her son died. Therefore, Stabat Mater and Stond well, Moder, both are meant to support all mothers who suffer because of the losss of their children. The last two stanzas are about the joyous outcome of the Passion, and the poem ends with the narrator petitioning for mercy. Two manuscripts preserve the song with musical notes.
For music, text, translation, explanation and beautiful images of Mary at the foot of the cross, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the fourteenth century, please see: https://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2011/04/stond-wel-moder-under-rode.html
For me, the most moving sung version, is that by Stephanie Prewitt and Daniel Johnson (also playing the psaltery), a sober and personal performance. I contacted Stephanie Prewitt and she was kind enough to share the video with me. Thanks!
(video will be added soon)