30 January 2024

WHAT a Day!!

 Firstly: in the Church of England, Charles the Martyr: from 1662 onwards, the Prayer Book retained a service describing him as "Blessed Charles". In fact, by strict statute law it still keeps him on its Calendar, because when Queen Victoria's government decides to suppress the service, they forgot to suppress the corresponding entry in the Calendar.

Blessed Charles has, since 1649, had a cultus among certain Anglicans. I believe there is still a High Mass on the day of his Witness in the Banquetting House in Whitehall. And the formulae of the Mass contain an unofficial Sequence ... in Latin!!  It is in the same metre as the Stabat Mater. One of its stanzas paraphrases a piece of lyric verse from that century (neatly rendered into Latin by allowing apostrophic Second Persons Singular to express English indicatives: "Nihil vile tu fecisti/, Semper digne to gessisti/ Mirum per spectaculum/; Nil maligne proclamasti;/ Pulchrum caput inclinasti/ Velut super lectulum.

I expect Englit specialists will recognise the original.

But today is also the feast of S Martina. She was put onto the Calendare Romanum by Pope Urban VIII in 1635, really to commemorate his own rebuilding of a Church of S Martina in the Forum Romanum. He was a Horace enthusiast; and he perpetuated the memory of his own actions by, himself, composing three Office Hymns especially for this Day. And so as to be different', he used a Latin Metre which only rarely ... indeed, I suspect, only when Urban VIII has been doing some composing ... appears among the Breviary Office Hymns: Asclepiads and Glyconics. 

Urban VIII wants to beg S Martina to drive away the strepitus armorum et fera praelia to the lands of the Thracians. Brits may be entertained by the fact that, in a Horatian Model, Horace had desired the recipients of such attentions to be ... the Persians and the Brits!

One stanza in one of these three hymns also requests that the Turks may be expelled from Jerusalem: "Solymas nexibus exime,/Vindexque innocui sanguinis hosticum/ Robur funditus erue". 

The post-conciliar reformers', of course, turned their noses up at S Martina, Urban VIII, and Horace.

Special Latin Hymns both for King Charles in Whitehall and S Martina in the Roman Forum!  

Coincidences, coincidences!!

5 comments:

Richard Ashton said...

There are no coincidences.

Sue Sims said...

Andrew Marvell's An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland, but I'm not convinced that the Latin paraphrase is of equal literary quality!

Atticus said...

How black the scaffold as the hour drew nigh;
The block so low, so cold and drear the sky -
But O! how hot and bright sprung forth the flood
Of bless√©d Charles the Martyr’s glorious blood.

When they unto the Banqueting House brought
Their Royal Victim, what great work they wrought:
Straightway the Heav’nly Banquet he attained,
And we a princely intercessor gained.

Physician to his people’s ghostly health,
He gave his body to the commonwealth;
His kingly head bechrism’d laid he down,
And changed an earthly for a Martyr’s crown.

Though dark the deed and grim the people’s groan,
It took him guiltless to the Judgement Throne:
Vouchsafe, O Lord, that we at last may speed
To where for us our Martyr King doth plead.

(With the permission of the author. Suggested melodies: Farley Castle or Song 24.)

Adrian said...

I understand the English is by C B Moss and the Latin by Henry Jenner. I do not know whether the latter is the Henry Jenner who was consecrated Bishop of Dunedin but never served there or his son, the Cornish language revivalist.

PseudonymousposterJohn said...

Well. That was the FIRST King Charles in these islands.
I was somewhat surprised to open the significant dates page in my new W. H. Smith’s diary the other day and there to find a reference to an historic personage I never expected to see mentioned. “King Charles III born, 1948”? Whereas I thought he was a much older man. By a couple of centuries.
So I was forced to correct W. H. Smiths as follows, King Charles III, born 3 December, 1720.
(And now Paul will be jolly cross with me, but then, these days, he always is).