Friday, March 25, 2016

Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle

A Good Friday hymn that continues to grow on me is the ancient Latin hymn Pange lingua, parts of which appear as two different hymns in the Lutheran Book of Worship: Praise the Savior, Now and Ever, an English translation of the Swedish translation (Upp, min tunga, which I learned in the Vadstena Abbey Church through the Society of St. Birgitta) of the Latin, and Sing, My Tongue, in a translation credited in the LBW to "John Mason Neale, alt." Our friend "alt." has apparently worked considerably on Father Neale's original translation, beginning with Fr. Percy Dearmer over 100 years ago.

The original Latin hymn is by the 6th-century Latin poet (and Bishop of Portiers) Venantius Fortunatus. Here's an English translation of the full hymn (we sing five stanzas in LBW, immediately after the Cross is brought in procession to the front of the Church), by Dearmer and Neale:
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
Sing the ending of the fray;
Now above the cross, the trophy,
Sound the loud triumphant lay:
Tell how Christ the world’s Redeemer,
As a victim won the day.

He, our maker, deeply grieving
That the first made Adam fell,
When he ate the fruit forbidden
Whose reward was death and hell,
Marked e’en then this tree the ruin
Of the first tree to dispel.

Tell how, when at length the fullness,
Of th’appointed time was come,
Christ, the Word, was born of woman,
Left for us His heavenly home;
Showed us human life made perfect,
Shone as light amid the gloom.

Lo! He lies an Infant weeping,
Where the narrow manger stands,
While the mother-maid His members
Wraps in mean and lowly bands,
And the swaddling clothes is winding
Round His helpless feet and hands.

Thus, with thirty years accomplished,
Went He forth from Nazareth,
Destined, dedicated, willing,
Wrought His work, and met His death.
Like a lamb He humbly yielded
On the cross His dying breath.

There the nails and spears He suffers,
Vinegar, and gall, and reed;
From His sacred body piercèd
Blood and water both proceed;
Precious flood, which all creation
From the stain of sin hath freed.

Faithful cross, thou sign of triumph,
Now for us the noblest tree,
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be;
Symbol of the world’s redemption,
For the weight that hung on thee!

Bend thy boughs, O tree of glory!
Thy relaxing sinews bend;
For awhile the ancient rigor
That thy birth bestowed, suspend;
And the King of heavenly beauty
On thy bosom gently tend!

Thou alone wast counted worthy
This world’s ransom to sustain,
That a shipwrecked race forever
Might a port of refuge gain,
With the sacred blood anointed
Of the Lamb of sinners slain.

To the Trinity be glory
Everlasting, as is meet:
Equal to the Father, equal
To the Son, and Paraclete:
God the Three in One, whose praises
All created things repeat.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Primary Election Day 2016

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when I showed up at my polling place and, lo and behold, there was a line of people! That's not very common in this precinct. Then it turned out two of the seven were at the wrong precinct. On the other hand, one was a first-time voter. A couple more people came in while I was voting.

As is my custom, I asked how many voters had showed up so far. "Fifty-seven," replied the election judge doing the count. Not bad for a primary election in this precinct, I thought. Then again, this is the first time I have voted in a presidential primary where the nomination in both parites was still up for grabs. As Mr. Franklin said, "A republic, if you can keep it."

57? Hmm, that number's gonna pop up again this week!