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Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
The metre and six-line stanza, being uniform with those of “Rock of Ages," have tempted some to borrow “Toplady" for this ancient hymn, but Hastings' tune would refuse to sing other words; and, besides, the alternate rhymes would mar the euphony. Not unsuitable in spirit are several existing tunes of the right measure-like “Nassau” or “St. Athanasius”—but in truth the “Veni, Sancte Spiritus” in English waits for its perfect setting. Dr. Ray Palmer's paraphrase of it in sixes-and-fours, to fit“Olivet,”—
Come, Holy Ghost in love, etc. -is objectionable both because the word Ghost is an archaism in Christian worship and more especially because Dr. Palmer's altered version usurps the place of his own hymn. “Olivet" with “My faith looks up to Thee” makes as inviolable a case of psalmodic monogamy as “Toplady” with “Rock of Ages.”
“Chori Cantores Hierusalem Novae.”
St. Fulbert's hymn is a worthy companion of Perronet's “Coronation”-if, indeed, it was not its original prompter—as King Roberts' great litany was the mother song of Watts'“Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove," and the countless other sacred lyrics beginning with similar words. As the translation stands in the Church of England, there are six stanzas now sung, though in America but four appear, and not in the same sequence.
The first four of the six in their regular succession are as follows:
Ye choirs of New Jerusalem,
Your sweetest notes employ,
In strains of holy joy.
Crushing the serpent's head;
To wake the imprisoned dead.
At His command restore;
Where Jesus goes before.
To Him all power is given;
All saints in earth and heaven. Bishop Fulbert, known in the Roman and in the Protestant ritualistic churches as St. Fulbert of Chartres, was a man of brilliant and versatile mind, and one of the most eminent prelates of his time. He was a contemporary of Robert II, and his intimate friend, continuing so after the Pope (Gregory V.) excommunicated the king for marrying a cousin, which was forbidden by the canons of the church.
Fulbert was for some time head of the Theological College at Chartres, a cathedral town of France, anciently the capital of Celtic Gaul, and afterwards he was consecrated as Bishop of that diocese. He died about 1029.
The modern tone-interpreter of Fulbert's hymn bears the name “La Spezia” in some collections, and was composed by James Taylor about the time the hymn was translated into English by Robert Campbell. Research might discover the ancient tune for the hymn is said to have been sung in the English church during Fulbert's lifetime—but the older was little likely to be the better music. “La Spezia” is a choral of enlivening but easy chords, and a tread of triumph in its musical motion that suits the march of “ Judah's Lion":
His ransomed hosts pursue their way
Where Jesus goes before. James Taylor, born 1833, is a Doctor of Music, organist of the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Philharmonic Society.
Robert Campbell, the translator, was a Scotch lawyer, born in Edinburgh, who besides his work as an advocate wrote original hymns, and in other ways exercised a natural literary gift. He compiled
the excellent Hymnal of the diocese of St. Andrews, and this was his best work. The date of his death is given as Dec. 29, 1868.
THOMAS OF CELANO.
Dies irael dies illa,
Teste David cum Sybilla.
Sung by prophets far discerning. Latin ecclesiastical poetry reached its high water mark in that awful hymn. The solitaire of its sphere and time in the novelty of its rhythmic triplets, it stood a wonder to the church and hierarchy accustomed to the slow spondees of the ancient chant. There could be such a thing as a trochaic hymn!—and majestic, too!
It was a discovery that did not stale. The compelling grandeur of the poem placed it distinct and alone, and the very difficulty of staffing it for vocal and instrumental use gave it a zest, and helped to keep it unique through the ages.
Latin hymnody and hymnography, appealing to the popular ear and heart, had gradually substituted accent for quantity in verse; for the common people could never be moved by a Christian song in the prosody of the classics. The religion of the cross, with the song-preaching of its pro pagandists, created medieval Latin and made it