Friday, 15 December 2017

Scottish Regiments. The Gordon Highlanders.

"When The Battle Is Over".
The Gordon Highlanders.
Available on YouTube at

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encylopaedia,
unless stated otherwise.

The Gordon Highlanders were a Line Infantry Regiment of The British Army that existed for
113 years, from 1881 until 1994, when they was amalgamated with The Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons, and Camerons).

The Gordon Highlanders Regimental Cap Badge.
The Motto " Bydand " means "
abiding", "steadfast",
an adjectival use of The Middle Scots Present Participle of Bide.

The Regiment was formed on 1 July 1881, instigated under The Childers Reforms.

The new Two-Battalion Regiment was formed out of The 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of Foot —which became The 1st Battalion of the new Regiment — and The 92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, which became the 2nd Battalion.

The 1st Battalion fought at The Battle of Tel el-Kebir in September 1882 during The Anglo-Egyptian War, and then took part in The Nile Expedition in an attempt to relieve Major-General Charles Gordon during The Mahdist War.

The 1st Battalion then took part in The Chitral Expedition and then The Tirah Campaign; it was during operations on The North West Frontier in October 1897, during the storming of The Dargai Heights, that one of the Regiment's most famous Victoria Crosses was earned. Piper George Findlater, despite being wounded in both legs, continued to play the Bagpipes during the assault.

"Cock O' The North".
Played by Piper John Kidd, despite his injuries,
during The Charge of The Gordon Highlanders at Dargai Heights, Pakistan.
An attack on Dargai Heights, during The Tirah Campaign, resulted in the award of four Victoria Crosses. The Heights were held by Afridi tribesmen, but were successfully stormed by The Gordon Highlanders and The Gurkhas on 20 October 1897.
of The Derbyshire Regiment and Samuel Vickery of The Dorsetshire Regiment were Medal Recipients. The Action was Commemorated in verse by William McGonagall, the Pipe March "The Heights of Dargai" by J. Wallace, and the Fiddle Tune "Dargai" by James Scott SkinnerRichard Thompson later arranged and recorded a version of the Skinner Tune for the Guitar.
Available on YouTube at

Another of the heroes involved in The Charge of The Gordon Highlanders at Dargai Heights was Piper John Kidd. Piper Kidd was with Piper Findlater when, half-way up The Heights, both Pipers were shot down. Unmindful of his injuries, Piper Kidd sat up and continued to play "The Cock o' the North" as the Troops advanced up The Heights.

The 2nd Battalion fought at The Battle of Elandslaagte, in October 1899, and The Siege of Ladysmith, in November 1899, during The Second Boer War. Meanwhile, The 1st Battalion, who arrived a little later, saw Action at The Battle of Magersfontein, in December 1899, and was again in Action at Doornkop, where they suffered severe losses, in May 1900.

English: 92nd Highlanders and 2nd Gurkhas
storming The Gaudi Mullah Sahibdad at Kandahar 1 September 1880.
Polski: Druga wojna anglo-afgańska.
Date: Late-19th-Century.
Source: D. Chandler (ed.): The Oxford Illustrated History of The British Army,
Oxford University Press 1994, ISBN 0-19-869178-5.
Author: Richard Caton Woodville, Jr. (1856–1927).
(Wikimedia Commons)

In 1908, the Volunteers and Militia were reorganised nationally, with the former becoming The Territorial Force and the latter The Special Reserve; The Regiment now had one Reserve Battalion and four Territorial Battalions.

After The Second World War, The Gordons saw Active Service in The Malayan Emergency, Cyprus, and Northern Ireland. The Regiment was amalgamated with The Queens' Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) on 17 September 1994 to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons, and Camerons).

In 1997, The Gordon Highlanders Museum opened, in the former Regimental Headquarters in Aberdeen.

The Gordon Highlanders Museum Web-Site is HERE

Gordon tartan (Vestiarium Scoticum).png

The Gordon Tartan, as published in "Vestiarium Scoticum".
Modern Thread Count: B60 Bk2 B2 Bk2 B8 Bk28 G52 Y2 G2 Y4 G2 Y2 G52 Bk28 B40 Bk2 B8.
Date: 22 July 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: Celtus.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Traditional Mass Supporters Are Getting Younger And Younger, Says Recent Report.

Traditional Mass Supporters are getting younger and younger, says a recent Report.
Author: Unknown.

Herebert's "Holy Moder, That Bere Cryst". An Early-14th-Century Mediaeval English Version Of "Alma Redemptoris Mater".

The Virgin in Glory
(from a 14th-Century Manuscript,
Illustration: A CLERK OF OXFORD

This Article is taken from A CLERK OF OXFORD

It's a while since we've had any Poetry on this Blog, and it seems time to correct that. This year I've been paying particular attention to the works of the Early-14th-Century English Poet, William Herebert, and especially his sensitive, thoughtful versions of Latin Hymns; and since we're in Advent, let's take a look at his version of "Alma Redemptoris Mater", the Compline Antiphon for this Season. (For another Middle English Poetic response to the same Text, see this Post.) It's a short Text; the Latin is:

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.

Listen to it HERE.

This is Herebert's version:

Holy moder, that bere Cryst, buggere of monkunde,
Thou art ȝat of hevene blisse that prest wey ȝyfst and bunde.
Thou sterre of se, rer op the folk that rysing haveth in munde.
In thee thou bere thyn holy fader,
That mayden were after and rather,
Wharof so wondreth kunde.
Of Gabrieles mouthe thou fonge thylke "Ave";
Lesne ous of sunne nouthe, so we bisecheth thee.


Which is:

Holy Mother, who bore Christ, Buyer of mankind,
You are gate of Heaven's bliss, who gives the near and ready way.
You, Star of the Sea, raise up the folk who intend to rise.
Within you, you bore your Holy Father,
Who Maiden were before and after,
At which nature wonders.
From Gabriel's mouth you received the "Ave";
Release us from sins now, we beseech you.


That gives you the sense of Herebert's version, but not the Poetry. Herebert is a faithful translator, but he always adds something to his sources, and close attention to his choice of language is immensely rewarding.

I've been thinking recently about how approaching familiar Texts through Old- and Middle-English translations brings to life certain aspects of Religious language which have become, in Modern English, so conventional and familiar as to be almost dead metaphors.

There's a perfect example here in Herebert's version of Redemptor, which is buggere, to be pronounced (I promise !) as "buyer" - the sense being that Christ has "bought back" (i.e. redeemed) mankind from the slavery of sin.

It's a fairly common Middle-English translation of redemptor, giving an English equivalent rather than adopting, as we do now, the Latin word; redeemer turned up late in English, in the 15th-Century, and Herebert's far from the only one to use "buyer" or "again-buyer". (The Wycliffe Bible says:
"I wot that myn aȝeenbiere liueth, and in the laste dai I am to rise fro the erthe . . .')

The financial metaphor is there in the Latin redemptor, of course - emptor is "buyer", as in "caveat emptor" - but it's probably not alive to most people today who use the word "redeemer". (Though other Poets have made use of it; compare, perhaps, 'Redemption' by Herebert's namesake, George Herbert . . .)

But it was alive to Herebert, and must have been to a Mediaeval reader of this Poem. Herebert's whole first line is only translating three words of the Latin, the opening phrase of the Hymn - alma redemptoris mater - and yet he has space not only for that metaphor but also for aural play on "buyer" and "bear", a similarity of sound which links Mary's action ("bearing") to Christ's action ("buying"), and thus underlines the fundamental link between them which motivates the whole Poem: the role that Mary plays in Salvation, through her choice to become Christ's entry into the World and her Acts of Love to mankind.

The Hymn imagines Mary as the Open Door to Heaven, a road by which Christ enters the World and by which mankind can travel to joy. Herebert's description of that road is again a little more expansive than the Latin, and he plays with a beautiful ambiguity in his language which is not present (I think) in his source. 

He says that Mary the "prest wey ȝyfst and bunde"; I translated this above as "gives the near and ready way", but it's not quite as simple as that. Both prest and bunde mean something like "ready, prepared, near at hand", and the sense is that the road to Heaven is accessible and open (pervia is the Latin word he's building on).

However, both words mean a good deal more than "open". Both also connote energy, readiness, and eagerness, and, in other Middle-English Texts, are more often used of people than of objects or roads; of an army preparing for battle, a servant promptly attending on his lord, a lover eager to do his lady's bidding - of anyone quick, lively, spirited, attentive, ready to spring into action. They're incredibly life-filled words.

And so, perhaps, they suggest the eager, life-bearing, near-at-hand person in an Advent context: Christ, who stands ready to spring into the World through The Gate opened by Mary. Herebert's verb ȝyfst offers more than the Latin, too: Mary "gives" (not only "remains") The Way to Heaven, and of course, she gives Christ to the World. The way in this Poem is primarily The Road to Heaven, but Christ, too, is "The Way", and the adjectives used to describe The Way, here, could apply equally well - if not rather better - to Him.

Herebert's Christ is always an energetic figure, active, determined, and forceful, brimming with physical as well as spiritual vitality. I talked about this earlier in the year in reference to Herebert's Poems for Easter and The Ascension, which have Christ climbing onto The Cross and then into the skies, and it's most obvious of all in his Poem " What is He, this lordling, that cometh from the fight". In that Poem, he imagines Christ as a young knight coming bloodied from battle, who, through his strength and douhtynesse has won a hard struggle against evil. This is the Christ Whom the Mediaeval Church saw in the young man of the Song of Songs, who comes seeking his beloved:

Look, he comes leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills. My beloved is like a gazelle, or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me, "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. For now the Winter is past, the rain is over and gone . . . Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."

As Gregory the Great wrote (and an Anglo-Saxon Poet turned into Poetry):

Hence it is that Solomon has put into the mouth of The Church the words: "Behold, He cometh ! leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills." These hills are his lofty and noble achievements. "Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains."

When He came to redeem us, He came, if I may so say, in leaps. My dearly beloved brethren, would you know what His leaps were ? From Heaven, he leapt into the womb of The Virgin, from the womb into the manger, from the manger on to The Cross, from The Cross into the grave, and from the grave up to Heaven.

Lo, how the Truth made manifest in the Flesh did leap for our sakes, that He might draw us to run after Him, for this end did He rejoice, as a strong man to run a race.

This isn't the passive, suffering Christ of most Mediaeval Poetry about The Crucifixion, nor the grave gentle Jesus of later imaginings; it's something immensely vital, virile and alive, a shape-shifting force of pure energy. Herebert's word prest exactly describes this Christ.

But Christ is only hinted at here; the focus of the Hymn is Mary, and her intermediary role. The images of her as "Gate of Heaven" and "Star of The Sea" are familiar ones, which Herebert also translates in his version of another Marian Hymn, "Ave maris stella".

I'll come back to the "Gate" image in another Post this Advent (if I get around to it !) because there's a wonderful Anglo-Saxon Poem which does even more, brilliantly, with that image of Mary as The Door between the Worlds. Here, it's only one aspect of her role as Mediatrix.

She is implored "'rer op the folk that rysing haveth in munde" ("raise up the folk who want to rise", with a nice alliterative touch), and "lesne ous of sunne", a more specific petition than the Latin's peccatorum miserere - asking to be "released" from sin loops back to the opening idea of Christ as "redeemer". So the Poem comes full circle, and returns to the link between Mary's action and Christ's - the One Who bought us and the one who bore Him.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia). Virgin And Martyr. Feast Day 13 December.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia).
   Virgin. Martyr.
   Feast Day 13 December.


Red Vestments.

Saint Lucy Before The Judge.
Artist: Lorenzo Lotto (1523–1532).
Source: Scanned from book.
This File: 26 February 2011.
User: Sailko.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Lucia Di Siracusa
(Lucy of Syracuse).
Available on YouTube at

English: Procession of Light, 
on The Feast Day of Saint Lucy 
(Santa Lucia) in Sweden.
Deutsch: Luciafeier in einer schwedischen Kirche.
Photo: 13 December 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Claudia Gründer.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Born in Sicily towards the end of the 3rd-Century A.D., of noble origin, Saint Lucy, as the Gospel twice reminds us, gave away all her riches to the Poor and, when she had nothing more, she gave herself to Jesus (Epistle).

Whilst The Foolish Virgins neglected to fill their lamps with the "Oil of Gladness", of which the Introit speaks, Lucy, whose name signifies "Light", waited with her lighted lamp in hand, that is, with her Soul filled with Grace, the coming of her Spouse.

Feast Day of Saint Lucy
(Santa Lucia).
Available on YouTube at

Saint Lucy.
Available on YouTube at

"Pure hearts are the Temples of The Holy Ghost," she declared to her judge. It is this Spirit, also symbolised by the "Oil of Gladness", as we are told in The Ceremonies of Maundy Thursday, an Oil that gave suppleness and strength to her Soul in such a miraculous way, that Saint Lucy resisted her executioners unto death rather than lose the treasure of her Virginity.

Wherefore, her name occurs in The Canon of The Mass (Second List), and is repeated every day by thousands of Priests, who glorify God in her. She died in 303 A.D.

The lighted lamp in hand is the Soul in a state of Grace; let us, in this Season of Advent, wait for the Spouse who will soon come.

Mass: Dilexisti.
Commemoration: Of The Octave.
Gospel: Simile Est.
Preface: Of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saint Lucy
(Santa Lucia).
Artist: Francesco del Cossa (1436–1487).
Date: After 1470.
Current location; National Gallery of Art,
Washington D.C., United States of America.
Source/Photographer: Digital photo by User:Postdlf.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Lucy.
Available on YouTube at

Sixth Day Within The Octave Of The Feast Of The Immaculate Conception. 13 December.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Sixth Day within The Octave
   of The Feast of The Immaculate Conception.
   13 December.


White Vestments.

"The Immaculate Conception".
Artist: Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640).
Date: 1628.
English: Work belonging to the Madrid Prado Museum
photographed during the exhibition « Rubens et son Temps »
(Rubens and His Times) at the Museum of Louvre-Lens.
Français: Œuvre appartenant au musée du Prado de Madrid
photographiée lors de l’exposition temporaire « Rubens et son Temps »
au musée duLouvre-Lens.
Deutsch: Arbeiten gehören in der " Rubens et son Temps "
(Ausstellung Rubens und seine Zeit) im Museum von Louvre-Lens fotografiert.
Español: Trabaja perteneciente a fotografiado durante la exposición de
" Rubens et son Temps " (Rubens y su época) en el Museo de Louvre-Lens.
Current location: Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain.
Source/Photographer: User:Jean-Pol GRANDMONT (2013).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Church prolongs during eight days (an Octave) The Feast of Mary's Victory over the devil and repeats The Mass Celebrated on 8 December.

The most important Feasts of The Virgin are The Assumption and The Immaculate Conception, both Feasts of The First-Class and both with an Octave.

That is why each day The Creed is said during The Octave, that Profession of Faith fixed at The First Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.), which was only Chanted when the attendance in Church was very large.

Let us prepare for The Birth of Christ in our hearts by adorning them with a little of His Mother's Purity.

Mass: As on The Feast of The Immaculate Conception.
Creed: On account of The Feast of The Immaculate Conception.
Preface: Of The Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Sixth Day within The Octave of The Feast of The Immaculate Conception is Commemorated in The Mass of Saint Lucy (13 December).



Available (in U.K.) from

Available (in U.S.A.) from

Rouen Cathedral.

Rouen Cathedral, France.
Illustration: SHUTTERSTOCK

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

Rouen Cathedral (French: Cathédrale primatiale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption de Rouen) is a Catholic Church in Rouen, Normandy, France. It is The See of The Archbishop of Rouen, Primate of Normandy. The Cathedral is in the Gothic Architectural Tradition.

from 1876-1880 with a height of 151 m (495 ft).
Photo: 15 February 2014.
Source: Own work.
Author: DXR.
(Wikimedia Commons)
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