23 September 2010

My weaknesses

... are many. I succumbed to one of them when Rubricarius sent me the Decree of Clement XIII about using the Trinity Preface on 'Ordinary' Sundays.

The propers of Trinity Sunday wallow in medieval elegances as they praise the Trinity in sonorous and repetitive phraseology (" ... vera et una Trinitas una et summa Deitas sancta et una Unitas.") which I suspect goes back to the rhetoric of S Augustine. Lovely stuff. I mean that.

But it is the Baroque, in all its manifestations, that leaves me helpless. Even in its earlier literary forshadowings such as the predilection of Carolingian hymnwriters and homilists for grandifying their verse and prose with Hellenisms and punning juxtapositions ("Magnus aeterni Logotheta Verbi" to describe the wordsmith S John the Evangelist).

I had a real wallow when reading Clement XIII's Decree. The Trinity is described as Augustissima Trias. Authentic eighteenth century. Could a Pope have coined such words in any other period?

A phrase to die for.


Joshua said...

It was nice, wasn't it!

Please, can you adduce any other such purple passages for your readers' delight?

Figulus said...

I don't know when these hymns were written, but "Trias" is used in the Josephine hymns "Te Ioseph" and "Caelitum Ioseph" found in the breviary, as well as in the hymn "Custodes hominum" which we will be singing late next week.

It's nice to see it used in prose, though.

Walter said...

I can't believe St.Augustine didn't use this phrase in his
'de Trinitate'.
Would you be baiting us on, dear 'piscator hominum'?