Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Eve of St Agnes


Somebody asked me yesterday just why it was necessary to have a new translation of the Mass. In other words, I thought, why will we have to put up with:
St. Agnes' Eve - Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
when we could have

It was the twentieth of January and very cold.
The owl was cold too.
And animals walked like differently-abled people on the lawn,
And the sheep didn't go baa.

Though, mind you, if somebody has been having fish and chips for Friday lunch for the last forty years, he might think it a bit over the top to change to tempura of gadus morhua, served with pommes frites epaisses, seasoned with hand-selected sea salt and drizzled with the finest vinaigre de biére.

7 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

Do you want to know the difference between:
"tempura of gadus morhua, served with pommes frites epaisses, seasoned with hand-selected sea salt and drizzled with the finest vinaigre de biére." and "fish and chips?"

About 8 bucks, I'd say.

pelerin said...

That was brilliant! An excellent example of saying the same thing in two totally different ways. Keats is poetic at the same time as being understandable. Your own version, Father, is also understandable but lacks a certain 'je ne sais quoi!!' I loved the last line particularly! I bought my first Missal in 1963 which I still treasure and the English translations by Mgr Ronald Knox were poetic yet totally understandable. I can still remember how I felt when what seemed like successive new translations were issued necessitating the insertion of leaflets. Eventually my beloved Missal became redundant...

I understand the new translation is still being worked on - it does seem a pity that Mgr Knox's fell out of favour - and wonder whether anyone knows when it will be ready?

pelerin said...

PS Could you please tell me whether my 1963 Missal with Imprimatur 'Mechliniae 3 Dec 1963' (which I presume is Malines?) is the same as the 1962 edition?

Pastor in Valle said...

Yup, should be. The next proper edition was in 1965, I think.

Pastor in Valle said...

As to the timing of the new translation, they are now saying 2012, if we're very very lucky. I have this fear that some b******ds are simply hoping to wait and see whether Pope Benedict will die first, then they can cancel the whole thing.

pelerin said...

Thank you for your replies father. Living in a world with instantaneous communication access it seems so sad that the translations cannot come sooner.

The Cardinal said...

>>>>>>>>>
As to the timing of the new translation, they are now saying 2012, if we're very very lucky. I have this fear that some b******ds are simply hoping to wait and see whether Pope Benedict will die first, then they can cancel the whole thing.
<<<<<<<<<<

Yes - 2012, Advent at the very earliest. Hopefully later or indeed, as Pastor in Valle says, never. (A perfectly good translation was submitted to Rome in 1997, which was couched in decent English rather than robotspeak. That's the one we need.)

Yes, they're hoping the whole thing will be cancelled (and if it takes a papal death, well, that's unfortunate; but let's face it, he is an old man who increasingly appears to be in his dotage).

But no, they're not b*****ds. Simply people who want to see reforms rooted in pastoral needs, not in ideological posturing.