Tree of Life — Taddeo Gaddi, 1360s
Santa Croce, Florence
above all other,
one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!
Lofty tree, bend down thy branches,
to embrace thy sacred load;
oh, relax the native tension
of that all too rigid wood;
gently, gently bear the members
of thy dying King and God.
Tree, which solely wast found worthy
the world’s Victim to sustain.
harbour from the raging tempest!
ark, that saved the world again!
Tree, with sacred blood anointed
of the Lamb for sinners slain.
—Pange Lingua, Fortunatus