Saturday, April 18, 2009

After a day of 16th-century poetry

When you've immersed yourself in lines of lofty stately metre
Your thoughts do tend to fall in line and march a little neater.

Tasting of His roseate blood

Br. Stephen of the Cistercian abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank gives us the Easter Vespers hymn Ad cenam Agni providi and John Mason Neale's English translation of it. In particular, Br Stephen delights in Neale's use of roseate to describe Christ's blood. Neale himself, in his Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, tells why he chose the word roseate, which is often changed to crimson in other editions of his hymn:

Again, in the same Hymn:---
Cruore ejus roseo

is translated by
And tasting of His roseate Blood.

The epithet is everywhere altered to crimson: because the editors did not see its force. The poet would tell us that, though one drop of our Lord's Blood was sufficient to redeem the world,

(Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere,

as St. Thomas says,) yet out of the greatness of His love to us He would shed all. As every one knows, the last dainings of life-blood are not crimson, but of a far paler hue: strictly speaking, roseate. Change the word, and you eliminate the whole idea.

Tortured for the fourth amendment

The fourth amendment is a dangerous thing to government goons.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


I'm a "completist" - when possible I get the complete works, the complete discography, etc. So I ordered a 1992 edition of the Sidneian Psalms from a bookshop in England. It arrived this morning in all its utterly useless abridged, modernised-spelling ignominy. Abridged! WTF?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Psalm 1

From one of my multitude of small text-formatting projects, the first of Sir Philip Sidney's Psalm translations:


Beatus vir.

He blessed is who neither loosely treads
The straying steps as wicked councel leads,
      Ne for bad mates in way of sinners waiteth,
      Nor yet himself with idle scorners seateth;
But on Gods law his whole delight doth bind,
Which night and day hee calls to marking mind.

He shall be like a freshly planted tree,
To which sweet springs of waters neighbours be;
      Whose branches faile not timely fruite to nourish.
      Nor withered leaf shall make it faile to flourish:
So all the things whereto that man doth bend
Shall prosper still with well succeeding end.

Such blessing shall not wicked wretches see,
But like vile chaff with wind shall scattred be;
      For neither shall the men in sinne delighted
      Consist when they to highest doome are cited,
Ne yet shall suff'red be a place to take
Where godly men do their assembly make.

For God doth know, and knowing doth approve
The trade of them that just proceedings love:
      But they that sinne in sinfull breast do cherish,
      The way they go, shall be the way to perish.

Here's the KJV.

My Mom at work

Mom spent a day recently handing out certificates of appreciation to all the folks who volunteer at Shelbyville Manor, a nursing home at which she's an assistant activity director. That's her on the left. You can view the whole photo album here.