Monday, April 21, 2008

The Mozarabic version of the Canticle from Sirach 51:13-19

A Song of Pilgrimage (from Ecclesiasticus 51)

While I was still young,
I sought Wisdom openly in my prayer.

Before the temple I asked for her,
and I will search for her until the end.

From the first blossom to the ripening grape,
my heart delighted in her.

My foot walked on the straight path,
from my youth I followed her steps.

I inclined my ear a little and received her,
I found for myself much instruction.

I made progress in Wisdom;
to the One who sent her,
I will give glory.

I directed my soul to Wisdom,
and in purity have I found her.

With her, I gained understanding from the first,
therefore will I never be forsaken.

My heart was stirred to seek her,
with my tongue will I sing God's praise.

This beautiful canticle included in Enriching our Worship and now part of our Daily Office in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd and elsewhere originated in a sub group of the Standing Commission on Liturgy of which I was a part way back in the 80's. Howard Galley was a part of that sub group. We were looking for Wisdom Canticles and he sent me to look at examples in the Latin Mozarabic Psalter in the library. What you see here is the end result.

Now I find that 11QPSa Column 21 has the following indicating that a version of our Psalm was sung at Qumran!

When I was still young, before I had gone astray, I searched for her. She came to me in her beauty, and up to the end, I kept investigating her. Even when the blossom falls, when the grapes are ripening, they make the heart happy. My foot tread on a straight path, for since my youth I have known her. I had hardly bent my ear, when I found much teaching. A wet-nurse she became to me, to my teacher I give my honor. I determined to enjoy myself, I was zealous for the good,incessantly. I became ablaze for her, I could not avert my face. I stirred my soul for her and on her heights I was not calm...(the column breaks off...)

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