Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vale, Semester Domini

Over at Pastor Weedon's blog (salutations! I haven't read any comments of yours at Schütz's blog for a while, alas), he mentioned how the festival half of the year, what he termed the Semester Domini, "the Lord's Half", is almost over - Advent, Christmastide, Septuagesimatide, Lent, Passiontide, Eastertide, Ascensiontide, Whitsuntide: all the great seasons recapitulating all the Lord has done for us in the Economy of Salvation, the magnalia Dei.  Now, I might add, Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart are the last movable feasts still remaining before we move into the long season "after Pentecost", or as the Sarum Rite, and Anglicans and Lutherans and Dominicans (used) to call it, "after Trinity", what the modern Latin terms tempus per annum, what is described as the green season...

I am reminded of two items, one a children's hymn, one a poem - first, the hymn (written by Katherine Hankey in 1888), summarizing the Semester Domini:

Advent tells us Christ is near;
Christmas tells us Christ is here!
In Epiphany we trace
all the glory of his grace.

Those three Sundays before Lent
will prepare us to repent;
that in Lent we may begin
earnestly to mourn for sin.

Holy Week and Easter, then,
tell who died and rose agin;
O that happy Easter Day!
"Christ is risen indeed," we say.

Yes, and Christ ascended, too,
to prepare a place for you;
so, we give him special praise,
after those great Forty Days.

Then, he sent the Holy Ghost,
on the Day of Pentecost,
with us ever to abide;
well may we keep Whitsuntide!

Last of all, we humbly sing
glory to our God and King,
glory to the One in Three,
on the Feast of Trinity.

But now we move into what is described in John Meade Falkner's 1910 poem, "After Trinity":

We have done with dogma and divinity,
Easter and Whitsun past,
The long, long Sundays after Trinity
Are with us at last;
The passionless Sundays after Trinity,
Neither feast-day nor fast.

Christmas comes with plenty,
Lent spreads out its pall,
But these are five and twenty,
The longest Sundays of all;
The placid Sundays after Trinity,
Wheat-harvest, fruit-harvest, Fall.

Spring with its burst is over,
Summer has had its day,
The scented grasses and clover
Are cut, and dried into hay;
The singing-birds are silent,
And the swallows flown away.

Post pugnam pausa fiet;
Lord, we have made our choice;
In the stillness of autumn quiet,
We have heard the still, small voice.
We have sung Oh where shall Wisdom?
Thick paper, folio, Boyce.

Let it not all be sadness,
Not omnia vanitas,
Stir up a little gladness
To lighten the Tibi cras;
Send us that little summer,
That comes with Martinmas.

When still the cloudlet dapples
The windless cobalt blue,
And the scent of gathered apples
Fills all the store-rooms through,
The gossamer silvers the bramble,
The lawns are gemmed with dew.

An end of tombstone Latinity,
Stir up sober mirth,
Twenty-fifth after Trinity,
Kneel with the listening earth,
Behind the Advent trumpets
They are singing Emmanuel’s birth.

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