Monday, June 15, 2020

Psalms 145:8-14 Year A Proper 9 (14) July 5, 2020

The lectionary for Year A, proper 9, July 5, calls for a part of a Psalm. Some psalms are so long. Psalm 78 is a full oratorio. I recall times when the choir would lament the length of a Psalm even when using Anglican chant or plainsong. But 145 is actually only 22 verses (21 - remember the missing nun). And RCL does restore the missing verse. (Notice the Zechariah passage - a great candidate for a motet.)

145:8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
145:9 The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
145:10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you.
145:11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
145:12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
(13b)    The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
145:14 The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.

And RCL restores the verse with all in both halves of the verse. God is so much more difficult in practice than in theory. (See this post for some background on the missing nun. Perhaps 'all' repeats. But perhaps the work of the deceptive fly is also God's work. Is deception compatible with faithfulness?)

My purpose here is to guide you through the library again to a Psalm, perhaps a little more accessible to music than the prose books (though there are many sections of prose that contain heart-stopping music.)  Here is the library, the shelf, and the raw material (MusicXML). And here is a development of the ideas in verses 8-14 (a few days later).

Here is my translation for comparison. Note the syllable counts for verse 13. One more in the first half wouldn't hurt the poem. (I restored the musical line for verse 13b.) Note also that this is an acrostic. Only the Countess of Pembroke is as foolish as I am to attempt an alphabetic translation.

Psalms 145 Fn Min Max Syll
חַנּ֣וּן וְרַח֣וּם יְהוָ֑ה
אֶ֥רֶךְ אַ֝פַּ֗יִם וּגְדָל־חָֽסֶד
8 How gracious and compassionate is Yahweh,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
3e 4B 7
טוֹב־יְהוָ֥ה לַכֹּ֑ל
וְ֝רַחֲמָ֗יו עַל־כָּל־מַעֲשָֽׂיו
9 To all Yahweh is good,
and his compassion is over all he has made.
3e 4A 5
יוֹד֣וּךָ יְ֭הוָה כָּל־מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ
וַ֝חֲסִידֶ֗יךָ יְבָרֲכֽוּכָה
10 Yahweh, all you have made will give you thanks,
and those under your mercy will bless you.

3e 4B 10
כְּב֣וֹד מַלְכוּתְךָ֣ יֹאמֵ֑רוּ
וּגְבוּרָתְךָ֥ יְדַבֵּֽרוּ
11 Kingdom glory will be their talk,
and of your valour they will speak.
3e 4B 8
לְהוֹדִ֤יעַ ׀ לִבְנֵ֣י הָ֭אָדָם גְּבוּרֹתָ֑יו
וּ֝כְב֗וֹד הֲדַ֣ר מַלְכוּתֽוֹ
12 Letting his valour be known to the children of humanity,
and the glorious honour of his reign.
3e 4C 13
מַֽלְכוּתְךָ֗ מַלְכ֥וּת כָּל־עֹֽלָמִ֑ים
וּ֝מֶֽמְשֶׁלְתְּךָ֗ בְּכָל־דּ֥וֹר וָדֽוֹר
נְאֶמַ֗ן יְהוָ֣ה בִדְבָרָ֑יו
וְחַסִ֡יד בְּכּ֥וֹל מַעֲשָֽׂיו
13 Making your reign a reign for every era,
and your governance in all generations.
Note that faithful is Yahweh in his words,
and merciful in all his deeds.
3e 4B 9
סוֹמֵ֣ךְ יְ֭הוָה לְכָל־הַנֹּפְלִ֑ים
וְ֝זוֹקֵ֗ף לְכָל־הַכְּפוּפִֽים
14 Supports Yahweh all the fallen,
and he uplifts all the disturbed.
3e 4B 9

I cannot find Mary (Herbert) Sidney's version online, but I did find John Donne's praise of her work (started by her brother before his death) as well as an article on memory and memorialization in her work.)

ETERNAL God—for whom who ever dare
Seek new expressions, do the circle square,
And thrust into straight corners of poor wit
Thee, who art cornerless and infinite—
I would but bless Thy name, not name Thee now—
And Thy gifts are as infinite as Thou—
Fix we our praises therefore on this one,
That, as thy blessed Spirit fell upon
These Psalms' first author in a cloven tongue—
For 'twas a double power by which he sung
The highest matter in the noblest form—
So thou hast cleft that Spirit, to perform
That work again, and shed it here, upon
Two, by their bloods, and by Thy Spirit one ;
A brother and a sister, made by Thee
The organ, where Thou art the harmony.

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