18 April 2009

ANTE ... (concludes last Monday's post)

The anonymous undated Pseudo-Ildephonsus (PL 96 coll 239 seqq) makes most use of this anthem. He relates it to Bethlehem (1) and to the Dormition (2). "We are invited to the cradle of this Infancy, which the angels frequent (frequentant) ... For dramaton, my beloved ladies, is a type of song, in which type the SS is said to be written. Lo! we are commanded, so that a more generous chanting may be commended, to repeat (frequentare), in honour of this Virgin, sweet songs in this genre, where [ (1) Angels, the star, magi, shepherds, are all at it] ... before whose couch, I ask you again, that at her burial (2) you should sing not dirges (threnos) of sorrow, not lamentations of weeping, but sweet songs to God, for today She has now, rejoicing, arrived at the King's bridal chamber ... where the choirs of Saints alternate wedding songs, where epithalamia of bride and groom are melodiously chanted ... she herself [the Virgin] sings with them [the heavenly host] a new song of drama, which nobody is able to sing except in that choir ... all the flocks of the heavenly order today in joy receive her, singing Hosannas under the drama of jubilation before the Mother of the High King." I think he is enjoying, wallowing in, the deployment of an exotically alien word. (Perhaps like modern preachers who know four Greek words, of which Koinonia is one, and constantly seek the admiration of their hearers by repeating it.)

That, of course, is only evidence of how one author took it. But I think he might be getting it generally right.

I've finished!

6 comments:

Pastor in Valle said...

Bravo! Unquestionably the most satisfying answer yet. And I certainly have nothing better to offer.

Michael said...

Despite all you delvings, I still prefer the version which I pray every day as a Carmelite Tertiary.
"In honour of this most chasre virgin let us sing canticles with sweet harmony."

Michael said...

typing error. "Chaste Virgin" of course. Sorry.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Problem is, it has little relationship with the Latin and thus falls pretty foul of Liturgiam authenticam! In fact, it is an example of what people inevitably get up to if the Latin is obscure!

Michael said...

I agree it is not satisfactory. Out of four Little Office of the Blessed version, there are four different versions. Yes, some state 'Before the couch' but to my untutored mind, it is not clear who is doing the singing and to whom the singing is directed. Could it be that the Latin text is confused in itself?
You don't want to stop in the middle of your prayers to work out puzzles.
Have you had any thoughts about 'Nigra sum'? I am black but beautiful, therefore has the King taken me into His chamber? That I find more confusing than 'Before the couch.'

Figulus said...

In the "Postille super cantica canticorum", Remigius describes the Song of Songs as being a "dragma" (as opposed to a "drama"), "Unde et de virginibus cantat ecclesia, `Frequentate...'". Apparently, it is the choir of virgins to whom the antiphon is being addressed. Does "de virginibus" mean that the antiphon was previously used in the Common of Virgins?

For the "Postille", see http://www.e-theca.net/emiliopanella/remigio3/canti11.htm