Deserts of vast eternity

Or wilt thou go ask the Mole?

Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet I (Aleph-Beth). Thomas Tallis (1505-1585).

Incipit lamentatio Ieremiae prophetae:

Aleph. Quomodo sedet sola civitas, plena populo!
Facta est quasi vidua domina gentium,
et princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.

Beth. Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lacrimae eius in maxillis eius;
non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus caris eius:
omnes amici eius spreverunt eam et facti sunt ei inimici.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.

"The beginning of the Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet:
Aleph. How lonely the city sits, once full of people!
The queen of nations has been made as a widow,
and the prince of provinces as a vassal.

Beth. Weeping has she wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks;
there is none to console her, from all her lovers:
all her friends have spurned her and become her enemies.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem: return  to the Lord your God.”

The Book of Lamentations consists of a series of acrostic prayers, each stanza beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It is ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is supposed to have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem. Extracts from it are traditionally recited or sung at the divine office on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Tallis was the composer for the Chapel Royal under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth I. He remained a Catholic throughout this period, perhaps afforded some protection by his position. He was also one of only a few composers in Elizabethan England to continue to compose religious music in Latin. Along with the other English Catholic composer of the time William Byrd, he was granted a 21-year monopoly on composing polyphonic music by Elizabeth I in 1575.

Judas, mercator pessimus. Tomas Luis da Victoria (c. 1548-1611); Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae (1585).

Iudas mercator pessimus osculo petiit Dominum
ille ut agnus innocens non negavit Iudae osculum.
Denariorum numero Christum Iudaeis tradidit.
Melius illi erat si natus non fuisset.

"Judas, that vilest merchant, sought a kiss from the Lord,
and he, as an innocent lamb, did not deny Judas the kiss.
For many denarii he handed Jesus over to the Jews;
It would have been better for him that he had not been born.”

Today is traditionally called Spy Wednesday, in reference to the idea that today, two days before Good Friday, commemorates the day on which Judas Iscariot went to the Sanhedrin and agreed to betray Jesus.

This piece of music was really written for the morning liturgical service (Office) tomorrow. A reponsory follows the recitation of a psalm, as a short reflection. Traditionally, the morning and evening offices were combined into a single service held after dark, called tenebrae (lit. “darkness”), at which a series of candles was extinguished after each psalm, symbolising the gloom and sorrow of the Crucifixion. At the end of the service, a single candle, still lit, is hidden beneath the altar, symbolising the hope of the Resurrection.

This setting of the text was written by one of the last - and greatest - composers of the Renaissance, Tomas Luis da Victoria, a Spanish Catholic priest. It comes from his setting of the whole office (liturgy of reciting the psalms at set hours of the day) for Holy Week, completed in 1585.

The Work & Writing of Laurie Penny: On bomb threats and boredom.



Last night I went for dinner with a friend, M, who is one of those women who can’t walk down a street without being hassled by men: cat-calling, making bizarre animal noises at her, professing undying love or threatening rape. This is a daily reality for many of us, but with M it’s on a whole…

I have felt completely at sea during this recent upwelling of vileness. I don’t recognise my country, my culture, my gender, my online communities, my world. I feel stupid and ignorant for not having understood that it was like this. I can’t believe that it is like this, but evidently it is.

You can argue that it’s not, in the real world; that online deindividuation is at work. You can claim that this insane sequence of rape threats and bomb threats is so much noise, the digital equivalent of the London riots - so famously not the result of poverty or deprivation or injustice, but sheer criminality - arising out of a mind of contagion of the mind and stemming from no deeper cause. Maybe. Maybe that’s the burden of Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment. In that case, we’re going to have to get better at social media, and the journey is much, much longer than I had thought.

I don’t believe that’s all it is. I think the culture war - not just the gender war, although that’s at the forefront of this present wretched spectacle, but similar ones surrounding race, sexuality, and every other flashpoint - is hotting up because the self-perceived right of people to behave monstrously is finally being challenged and eroded. I think the war is between people who want to live in a civilised world and deal with nuance, difference, and things they don’t approve of, and those who simply want everything they don’t like to go away.

I have no idea what to do about it. I’m not a natural combatant. I’m basically a trickster and a storyteller. I loathe confrontation. 

But for the record: this is my side. The side of not being a monster. The side of diversity of gender, ethnicity, philosophy, opinion. I don’t know what to call it. It’s more than equality. It’s life the way it should be, and it turns out to be much, much further away than I thought it was.

This is my side.

So: you stand for difference and nuance, and you stand on the side of not being a monster. And do you intend to fight with monsters?

(Source: penny-red)

2 weeks ago - 118

Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite - Incensing of the Altar


Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite - Incensing of the Altar

(Source: mrbibbins)

The monarchy’s most important constitutional function is simply to be there: by occupying the constitutional high ground, it denies access to more sinister forces; to a partisan or corrupt president, divisive of the nation; or even to a dictator.

The Queen’s powers are a vital safeguard of democracy and liberty.

Sir Michael Forsyth (via coup-de-sang)

(via anarchomonarchism-deactivated20)


Have you ever wondered what the Egyptians had written on the Obelisk at Concorde, Paris?


Have you ever wondered what the Egyptians had written on the Obelisk at Concorde, Paris?


Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour…
     - The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue

Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth,Inspired hath in every holt and heethTendre croppes, and the yonge sonneHath in the ram his halve cours yronne…


Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour…
     - The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue

Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth,
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne…



Share and Enjoy

"Share and Enjoy" is, of course, the company motto of the hugely successful Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints division, which now covers the major land masses of three medium sized planets and is the only part of the Corporation to have shown a consistent profit in recent years.

The motto stands - or rather stood - in three mile high illuminated letters near the Complaints Department spaceport on Eadrax - “Share and Enjoy”. Unfortunately its weight was such that shortly after it was erected, the ground beneath the letters caved in and they dropped for nearly half their length through the underground offices of many talented young complaints executives - now deceased. The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read “Go stick your head in a pig”, and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.

At these times of special celebration a choir of over two million robots sing the company song “Share and Enjoy”. Unfortunately - again - another of the computing errors for which the company is justly famous means that the robot’s voices are exactly a flattened fifth out of tune and the result sounds something like this, only slightly worse.

The lyrics to the company song are as follows:

Share and Enjoy
Share and Enjoy
Journey through life
With a plastic boy
Or Girl by your side
Let your pal be your guide
And when it breaks down
Or starts to annoy
Or grinds when it moves
And gives you no joy
Cos it’s eaten your hat
Or had sex with your cat
Bled oil on your floor
Or ripped off your door
You get to the point
You can’t stand any more
Bring it to us, we won’t give a fig
We’ll tell you, ‘Go stick your head in a pig’.

(via The HHG Project)

(via katholikos)

1 month ago - 37




and let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that michaelangelo had probably never seen a girl naked and when he want to sculpt or paint them his mentality seems to be “wow, everyone likes women….they must be…

1 month ago - 105149

The two denominations have different definitions of atheism. For the Sunday Assembly, an atheist church is one that has no belief in God; the schismatics think it should be one with a belief in no God. This confessional difference is not insignificant — it’s as immense as the difference between the phrases ‘He was unmarried’ and ‘He was a confirmed bachelor’ in a Telegraph obituary — but it goes unspoken: the new new atheists are no fonder of nice philosophical distinctions, especially not that one, than the new atheists.

Andrew Watts on the split between the Sunday Assembly and Godless Revival (who object to the “milquetoast atheism” of the Sunday Assembly). (via johnthelutheran)