7 February 2011


Well, I've looked at Fr Zed's piece on the Collect for this week ... one of, I think, only three collects which survive on the same Sunday from the ancient Roman liturgy into the modern rite. I wonder how they managed it. Did they hide behind the aspidistra as Bugnini sprayed the room with machine-gun fire?

Frankly, I think Cranmer's translation of in sola spe gratiae caelestis innititur as lean only on the hope of thy heavenly grace beats all the papist translations.

Sadly, the old Secret for Epiphany V does not survive. It contains the fascinating request that the Lord should direct nutantia corda. O'Connell translates this as our ['our' is not necessarily implied by the Latin] wavering hearts; the 1933 English Missal as the hearts of those that go astray. The sense of nutare is really to nod; the thing one's head does as one settles into a comfortable chair to listen to a not-terribly-well-constructed lecture after a satisfying lunch ... or as one downs a glass of wine in front of a very warm fire after a busy day.

I find nodding hearts a rather diverting mixed metaphor. I've always had a soft spot for mixed metaphors since we had a head master at Lancing who could hardly open his mouth without unconsciously uttering another example ("we must avoid the thin end of the iceberg" ... the Senior Common Room had a collection book full of them ... I wonder what's happened to it now). As a consequence, I've always liked coining them ... the only risk is that outsiders may laugh at one, not realising that one is making, not being, the joke.

But what does it matter if they do ...


Col. Hugo Thrumpington-Mange said...

Ah Padre, a lot of ducks’ backs have gone under the bridge since those Lancing days!

Fr John Hunwicke said...