Altus Prosator “F”

Ceiling of the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, with Seraphim mosaics on pendentives of the main dome.

CAPITULUM F

TITLE: De laude Dei ab angelis in quarta feria dicentes Sanctus
Sanctus Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

ARGUMENT: ‘Quando feci celum et terram collaudaverunt me
angeli’; ut in Sapientia Salomonis dicitur.

Factis simul sideribus
etheris luminaribus
collaudaverunt angeli
factura praemirabili
immensae molis dominum
opificem celestium
preconia laudabile
debito et immobile
concentuque egregio
grates egerunt domino
amore et arbitrio
non naturae donario.

STANZA F

When together, æther’s wonder,
Shine the Stars, the Angels sing;
To th’ Immensity’s Designer,
Host on host, their anthems ring:
Songs right meet for adoration,
Glorious harmonies they raise;
Since they move not from their courses
Never-ending is their praise.
Noble concert in the highest
Is their offering full and free:—
‘Tis of love’s sincerest rapture
Not of natural decree.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

Altus Prosator “E”

Creation of Adam (Vr) from Liber Chronicarum (the Nuremberg Chronicle).

CAPITULUM E

TITLE: De creatione elementorum mundi et hominis regentis ea
postea more regis
.

ARGUMENT: ‘In principio fecit Deus celum et terram’ ut in
Genesi dicitur
.–(Gen. i. 1.)

Excelsus mundi machinam
previdens et armoniam
caelum et terram fecerat
mare et aquas condidit
herbarum quoque germina
virgultorum arbuscula
solem lunam ac sidera
ignem ac necessaria
aves pisces et peccora
bestias et animalia
hominum demum regere
protoplastum praesagmine.

STANZA E

God, the Lord Most High, foreseeing
Nature’s concord full and sweet.
Moulded Heaven and Earth and Ocean
To one harmony complete:
Sprang the grasses, fair unfolding.
Copses burgeoned in the sun:
Beamed the sunlight, starlight, moonlight,
Firelight: all of need was done–
Birds for brake, and fish for waters.
Wild or tame kine for the sward–
Last, the highest, first created,
Man, Creation’s crown and lord.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

Macaronic Verses

“TRUMPETER UNUS ERAT,” ETC.
(Vol. xii., p. 226.)

The macaronic verses of infancy and early boyhood have had such a run in your pages, that it is quite time those of a later age should take an innings. When I was a schoolboy, the verses asked for by X. ran as follows:

Patres conscripti took a boat, and went to Philippi;
Boatum est upsettum, magno cum grandine venti.
Omnes drownderunt qui swim away non potuerunt.
Trumpeter unus erat, qui coatum scarlet habebat;
Et magnum periwig, tied about with the tail of a dead pig.

Verses of this character are tolerably ancient. Wright and Halliwell (Reliqiuæ Antiquæ, p. 91.) give a set, of which the first ten verses are as follows:

Flen, flyys, and freris populum domini male cædunt,
Thystlis and brevis crescentia gramina lædunt;
Christe, nolens guerras, sed cuncta pace tueris,
Destrue per terras brevis, flen, flyyes, and freris.
Flen, flyyes, and freris, foul falle hem thys fyften yeris,
For non that her ys lovit flen, flyyes, ne freris.
Fratres Carmeli navigant in a bothe about Eli
Non sunt in cæli, quia . . . . . . . .
Omnes drencherunt, quia sterisman non habuerunt,
Fratres cum knyvys goth about and . . .

This is from a manuscript of the fifteenth century. My omissions are put in cypher by Mr. Wright, and are not producible.

The following, taken by Halliwell from a manuscript of the sixteenth century is worth quoting entire. It is a breaking up song at Christmas; the third and fourth lines are exquisitely saucy:

Ante finem termini baculos portamus,
Capud hustiarii frangere debemus;
Si preceptor nos petit quo debemus ire,
Breviter respondemus, non est tibi scire.
O pro [per?] nobilis docter, now we youe pray
Ut velitis concedere to gyff hus leff to play
Nunc proponimus ire, withowt any ney,
Scolam dissolvere, I tell itt youe in fey.
Sicut istud festum merth is for to make,
Accipimus nostram diem owr leve for to take.
Post natale festum, full sor shall we qwake,
Quum nos revenimus, latens for to make.
Ergo nos rogamus, hartly and holle,
Ut isto die possimus to brek upe the scole.

In Wright’s Political Songs (p. 251.) there is a triglott performance, Latin, French, and English, of the time of Edward II. And this is enough for one kick of the ball.     M.

Notes and Queries, Vol. XII, No. 311, 13 October 1855.

The Worthy Gaelic

Tha Laideann coimhliont,
Torrach, teann nas leòr,
Ach ‘s sgalag thràilleil
I don Ghàidhlig chòir.

San Athen mhòir
Bha ‘Ghreugais còrr ‘na tìm,
Ach b’ ion di h-òrdag
Chur fo h-òirchios grinn.

Latin is perfect / fertile, and firm enough / but it is a slavish servant / compared to worthy Gaelic. / In great Athens / Greek was outstanding in its time / but it had to put its thumb / under its neat golden girdle.

Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, Moladh an Ùghdair don t-Seann Chànain Ghàidhlig.

Collect for Purity

Deus cui omne cor patet et omnis voluntas loquitur: et quem nullum latet secretum: purifica per infusionem sancti spiritus cogitationes cordis nostri: ut te perfecte diligere et digne laudare mereamur, per dominum nostrum iesum christum filium tuum qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate eiusdem spiritus sancti deus, per omnia secula seculorum. Amen.

Leofric Missal.

A Dhé Uile-chumhachdaich, d’ am bheil gach cridhe fosgailte, gach miann aithnichte, agus o nach ’eil ni uaigneach air bith folaichte; Glan smuaintean ar cridheachan le deachdadh do Spioraid naoimh; a chum gu’n toir sinn gràdh iomlan dhuit, agus gu’n àrd-mhol sinn gu h-iomchuidh d’ Ainm naomh, tre Chriosd ar Tighearn. Amen.

1895 Gaelic translation of the Prayer-book, from David Griffith, Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer, 37:5.

God, unto Whom alle hertes ben open, and unto Whom alle wille spekith, and unto Whom no privé thing is hid: I beseche Thee so for to clense the entent of myn hert with the unspekable gift of Thi grace that I may parfiteliche love Thee, and worthilich preise Thee. Amen.

The Cloude of Unknowyng.

“I Learned It By Watching You!”

Yet, from letters which some of you have sent, and from many other sources, We learn that discordant practices have been introduced into the sacred liturgy by your communities or provinces (We speak of those only that belong to the Latin Rite). For while some are very faithful to the Latin language, others wish to use the vernacular within the choral office. Others, in various places, wish to exchange that chant which is called “Gregorian,” for newly-minted melodies. Indeed, some even insist that Latin should be wholly suppressed.

We must acknowledge that We have been somewhat disturbed and saddened by these requests. One may well wonder what the origin is of this new way of thinking and this sudden dislike for the past; one may well wonder why these things have been fostered.

Apostolic Letter, Sacrificium Laudis, of Pope Paul VI, 15 August 1966.

Altus Prosator “C”

The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1562, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1562, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

CAPITULUM C

TITLE: De transmigratione novem graduum principis.
ARGUMENT: ‘Vidi stellam de celo cecidisse in terram’; et in Esaiâ, ‘Quomodo cecidisti Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris.’

CELI de regni apice
stationis angelicae
claritate prefulgoris
venustate speciminis
superbiendo ruerat
lucifer quem formaverat
apostataeque angeli
eodem lapsu lugubri
auctoris ceno-doxiae
pervicacis invidiae
ceteris remanentibus
in suis principatibus.

PRONE, from splendour of that kingdom
Where GOD’S angels crown the height,
From all loveliness of beauty
All transcendency of light,
Lucifer, by GOD created,
Fell by his vainglorious pride—
Fell by envy still persisting,
Fell with all his host allied,
From the same high place apostate
In the same sad ruin prone,—
While the faithful angel princes
Kept their state before the Throne.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English translation by Samuel John Stone.

Altus Prosator “B”

CAPITULUM B

Title: De formatione novem graduum, tribus praetermissis, non per ignorantiam, sed pro augustia capituli praetermisit.
Argument: ‘Fiat lux, et facto, est.’

BONOS creavit angelos
ordines et archangelos
principatuum ac sedium
potestatum virtutium
uti non esset bonitas
otiosa ac maiestas
trinitatis in omnibus
largitatis muneribus
sed haberet celestia
in quibus previgilia
ostenderet magnopere
possibili fatimine.

ALL good angels and archangels,
Powers and Principalities,
Virtues, Thrones, His will created—
Grades and orders of the skies,
That the majesty and goodness
Of the Blessed TRINITY
In its ever bounteous largesse
Never might inactive be;
Having thus wherewith to glory,
All the wide world might adore
The high Godhead’s sole-possession
Everywhere and evermore.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English translation by Samuel John Stone.

Altus Prosator “A”

CAPITULUM A

Title: De unitate et Trinitate trium personarum.
Argument: Vetustus dierum sedebat super sedem suam. (Daniel vii. 9.)

ALTUS prosator vetustus
dierum et ingenitus
erat absque origine
primordii et crepidine
est et erit in secula
seculorum infinita
cui est unigenitus
christus et sanctus spiritus
coeternus in gloria
dietatis perpetuae
non tris deos depromimus
sed unum deum dicimus
salva fide in personis
tribus gloriosissimis.

HIGH CREATOR Unbegotten,
Ancient of Eternal days,
Unbegun ere all beginning,
Him the world’s one source we praise:
GOD who is and GOD who shall be:
All that was and is before:
Him with CHRIST the Sole-Begotten,
And the SPIRIT we adore,
Co-eternal one in glory,
Evermore and evermore:–
Not Three Gods are,
They we worship,
But the THREE which are the ONE,
GOD in Three most glorious Persons:–
Other saving Faith is none.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English translation by Samuel John Stone.

Collectio Canonum Hibernensis

Folio 15v of Codex 210 of the library of the Domkapitel of Cologne, an except of Collectio Canonum Hibernensis, a systematic Latin collection of Continental canon law, scriptural and patristic excerpts, and Irish synodal and penitential decrees, thought to have been compiled by two Irish scholars working in the 8th century: Cú Chuimne of Iona (died 747) and Ruben of Dairinis (died 725).
Folio 15v of Codex 210 of the library of the Domkapitel of Cologne, an except of the Collectio Canonum Hibernensis, a systematic Latin collection of Continental canon law, scriptural and patristic excerpts, and Irish synodal and penitential decrees, thought to have been compiled by two Irish scholars working in the 8th century: Cú Chuimne of Iona (died 747) and Ruben of Dairinis (died 725).

Nobody Reads the Bible

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox.
Ronald Arbuthnott Knox.

Nobody reads the Bible; popes and bishops are always telling us to read the Bible, and when you produce a translation of the Bible, the only thing people complain about is your rendering of the diminutive snippets that are read out in church on Sundays. ‘Of course,’ they add, ‘the book is alright for private reading‘ — in a tone which implies that such a practice is both rare and unimportant.

Ronald Knox, On Englishing the Bible, Baronius Press (2012), p. 59.

The Maist Honorable and Ancient Place in Scotland

Colmkill. Narrest this be twa myles of sea, layes the ile the Erische callit I-colm-Kill, that is, Sanct Colm’s ile, ane faire mayne ile of twa myle lange and maire, and ane myle braid, fertill, and fruitfull of corne and store, and guid for fishing. Within this ile there is a monastery of mounckes, ane uther of nuns, with a paroche-kirk, and sundrie uther chapells, dotat of auld by the kings of Scotland, and be Clandonald of the iyles. This abbay forsaid was the cathedrall kirk of the bishops of the iyles sen the tyme they were expulsed out of the ile of Man by the Englishmen; for within the ile of Man was ther cathedrall kirke and living of auld, as I have already said in the description of that ile. Within this ile of Colmkill, there is ane sanctuary also, or kirkzaird, callit in Erische Religoran, quhilk is a very fair kirkzaird, and weill biggit about with staine and lyme: into this sanctuary ther is three tombes of staine formit like little chapels, with ane braid gray marble or quhin staine in the gavill of ilk ane of the tombes. In the staine of ane tombe there is wretten in Latin letters, Tumulus Regum Scotiæ, that is, The tomb ore grave of the Scotts Kinges. Within this tombe, according to our Scotts and Erische cronickels, ther layes fortey-eight crouned Scotts kings, throughe the quhilk this ile hes beine richlie dotat be the Scotts kings, as we have said. The tombe on the south syde forsaid hes this inscription, Tumulus Regum Hyberniæ, that is, The tombe of the Irland kinges; for we have in our auld Ericshe cronickells, that there wes foure Irland kings eirdit in the said tombe. Upon the north syde of our Scotts tombe, the inscriptione beares, Tumulus Regum Norwegiæ, that is the tombe of the kings of Norroway; in the quhilk tombe, as we find in our ancient Erische cronickells, ther layes eight kings of Norroway; and als we find in our Erische cronickells, that Coelus king of Norroway commandit his nobils to take his bodey and burey it in Colm-Kill, if it chancit him to die in the iles, bot he was so discomfitit, that ther remained not so maney of his armey as would burey him ther; therfor he was eirded in Kyle, after he stroke ane field against the Scotts, and was vanquisht be them. Within this sanctuary also lyes the maist pairt of the Lords of the iles with ther lineage. Twa Clan Lynes with ther lynage, M’Kynnon and M’Guare with ther lynages, with sundrie uthers inhabitants of the hail iles, because this sanctuarey wes wont to be the sepulture of the best men of all the iles, and als of our kings as we have said; becaus it was the maist honorable and ancient place in Scotland in thair dayes, as we reid.

— Of the Western Isles of Scotland, called Hybrides; by Mr Donald Monro High Dean of the Isles who travelled through the most of them in the year 1549.