Sunday, June 30, 2013

On the Feast of S. Mary Magdalene (July 22)

From Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum Service-books:
On the Feast of S. Mary Magdalene (July 22) :
1st Evensong:   Collaudemus Magdalene ... ... ... 45
Mattins Estimavit hortolanum ... ... ... 67
Lauds & 2nd Ev.:   Maria, noli flere ... ... ... 45
Once again, I have written on this feast day previously (also here, where you can listen to an Orthodox Communion hymn for this feast), but with this post I am looking to complete my Sarum hymn listings specifically.  Follow along with the full office here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).    I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the post too.

Melody #45 is the same tune used for Urbs Beata Ierusalem and Angulare Fundamentum, sung On the Feast of the Dedication of a Church; Oremus hymnal online has a midi of the plainsong.   It's a pretty and distinctive tune.

This melody is also used on several other "Proper of Saints'" days:  at Visitation, on "The Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross" (on May 3 - and not the same holiday as the September 14 "Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross"), and on the Feast of "S. Vincent M."    That's an interesting group of days!   I'm going to try to learn more about this; I wonder especially if this melody has been over the centuries closely associated with Urbs Beata Ierusalem and Angulare Fundamentum - and whether or not those hymns (and thus this melody) had special resonance in the minds of Christians.   Obviously, UBI and AF are hymns that call to mind the church itself; you find them in the "Church" section of the 1982 hymnal under their current incarnations, "Blessed City, Heavenly Salem" and "Christ is made the sure foundation."   I've heard the latter hymn in particular used at ordinations and at other special occasional ecclesial celebrations; they are definitely associated in my mind with the church itself.  So I'm wondering how all that relates to the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene; I'm going to see what I can find out.

There are two versions of  "Blessed City, Heavenly Salem" in the 1982 Hymnal, and one of them - Hymn #519 - uses the original plainchant melody.

Melody #67 is the same one used for Tibi, Christe, Splendor Patris on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels:

Here's G. Vianini's version of Tibi, Christe, Splendor Patris, sung to this melody:

These seem to be obscure hymns, and it was quite difficult to find out much about them.  Then the 1902 book, Description and History of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Munster Square, London came to the rescue.  The book contains English translations of two of the hymns: Collaudemus Magdalene and Maria, noli flere - as well as a few others.  I'm including all five hymns from the book here, just for the interest value; Collaudemus Magdalene and Maria, noli flere are #s III and IV below.  I find the text of Maria, noli flere to be especially beautiful; the mystical "Gardener of the thirsty mind" image is astonishing!


Now let the Church in earth and heav'n
To Christ upraise her melody:
By sev'nfold grace from devils sev'n
A captive soul is now set free.

Full oft she sinned of whom we tell,
Mary, the sister of Lazarus;
Who, from the very jaws of hell,
Repentant life hath shewn to us.

To Christ the Healer see her go,
With precious ointment for her Lord:
The Good Physician speaks, and lo!
He heals her sickness by His Word.

O unction from a broken heart!
O rivers from those laden eyes'!
Such choosing of love's better part
Brings pardon with a glad surprise.

This loving Saint was first to see
The Victor, rising from His rest:
The earliest joy was hers to be
Who loved Him most, who loved the best.

Now God in mercy grant to us,
In life's incessant storms and cares,
That all the Saints most glorious
May aid us sinners with their prayers.

To God Alone be glory giv'n,
For sev'n-fold pow'r and glad release:
To souls of men, from sin forgiv'n,
He gives new life and joy and peace.

(S. Odo of Cluny, 11th Century-)


Dawning was the first of days,
When from death our Hope and Praise,
Son of God rose gloriously; 
Trampling down the infernal King,
Power of darkness vanquishing,
Forth He came 'victoriously.

When the risen Lord was seen,
Blessed Mary Magdalen
Was the herald whom He chose,
News of promised joy to bring
To His brethren sorrowing
O'er their Master's dying throes.

O thrice blessed eyes that first,
(When the chains of death were ourst,
Sin destroy'd and Satan quell'd),
Christ, the King of all, beheld.
This was she who was of old
Lost in sin so manifold,
But at Jesus' feet obtain'd
Grace to pardon all that stain'd.

Mutely suing, grief renewing,
Lo! she proveth how she loveth
Christ supremely, by her tears;
When adoring and imploring,
He regardeth and rewardeth,
Stilling self-accusing fears.

Mary sweetest! as is meetest,
For thy holy deeds and lowly,
Thee we hail as "Ocean Star ";
Name thou bearest which thou sharest
With that other blessed Mother
Who in rank outshines thee far.

One a queenly title gaineth,
One, a sinner, grace obtaineth;
Each upon the Church's night
Heralded returning light.
One the Gate whereby Salvation
Dawn'd amain on all creation;
The other world-wide bliss restored
And blazon'd forth the risen Lord.

Magdalen! our praises heeding,
Aid our vows by interceding,
O befriend us and commend us
At the throne of Christ above!
That the Fount of Expiation
Who effaced her degradation,
Reconcilement from defilement
May vouchsafe us in His love.

(Sarum Gradual, 11th Century.)


Sing we now the praise of Mary,
All her tears, her joy, her love;
High in laud we raise our voices,
While our hearts in concert move;
So the nightingale descanteth
Sweetly to the plaintive dove.

Nought the number of the feasters,
Seeking Jesus, did she fear;
She her Master's feet anointed,
Wash'd them with the falling tear,
Wiped them with her tresses, gaining
Pardon through her love sincere.

Lo, the cleans'd doth wash the Cleanser,
Stream to Fountain floweth fain;
Balm that from the flower distilleth,
Fragrance sheds on flower again;
And the dew from earth ascendeth
To the heav'n that gave the rain.

Spikenard in the alabaster
Is her offering pure and rare;
She, in pouring of the ointment,
Doth a mystic sign declare;
Sick, anointeth her Physician,
To receive His healing care.

Gazed the Lord with special favour
Down on Mary tenderly;
Much she loves; her sins, though many,
Have forgiveness full and free;
On the Resurrection-morning
She shall Jesus' herald be.

Glory be to God, and honour,
Who, true Paschal Sacrifice,
Lamb in death, in strife a Lion,
Did the third day Victor rise,
And the spoils of death, as trophies,
Bare triumphant to the skies.

(Sarum Breviary, 14fh Century.)


Weep not, Mary, weep no longer,
Nor another seek to find:
Here indeed the Gardener standeth,
Gardener of the thirsty mind.
In the spirit's inner garden
Seek that Gardener ever kind.

Whence thy grief and lamentation?
Lift, faint soul, thy heart on high,
Seek not memory's consolation,
Jesus Whom thou lov'st is nigh;
Dost thou seek the Lord? thou hast Him,
Though unseen by human eye.

Whence thy sorrow, whence thy weeping?
True the joy thou hast within;
Undiscerned abides within thee
Balm to heal the wounds of sin;
'Tis within, why, vainly roving,
Seek disease's medicine?

'Tis no wonder if thy Master
Pass thy knowledge while He sows;
For His seed, the word eternal,
Unto fulness in thee grows;
"Mary," saith He—thou, " Rabboni,"—
And the soul her Saviour knows.

Thou didst wash the feet of Jesus,
Thee the Fount of grace did lave;
May we, by that dew's refreshment,
Which to thee remission gave,
Share His glory, Whom thou sawest,
Risen a Victor from the grave.

(Sarum Breviary, 14th Century.)


When blessed Mary wip'd her Saviour's feet,
(Whose precepts she had trampled on before)
And wore them for a jewel on her head,
Shewing His steps should be the street,
Wherein she henceforth evermore
With pensive humbleness would live and tread:

She being stain'd herself, why did she strive
To make Him clean, Who could not be defil'd;
Why kept she not her tears for her own faults,
And not His feet? Though we could dive
In tears like seas, our sins are pil'd
Deeper than they, in words, and works, and thoughts.

Dear soul, she knew Who did vouchsafe and deign
To bear her filth; and that her sins did dash
Ev'n God Himself: wherefore she was not loth,
As she had brought wherewith to stain,
So to bring in wherewith to wash:
And yet in washing one, she washed both.
                              (George Herbert, 1633)

I was also able to find the Mattins hymn, Estimavit Hortolanum, in the book Medieval Hymns and Sequences; it's another Magdalene hymn based on the Gardener motif.  Here's the full entry; sing it to melody #67, as prescribed above:

Aestimabit Hortolanum

The very elegant hymn, Pange lingua Magdalenae, of English origin, is in the Sarum Breviary divided into three, for Vespers, Matins, and Lauds. I translated it for the Hymnal Noted; but it was thought too complex for popular use. The Lauds hymn was accidentally kept: the other translations lost. It is in the Clewer edition of the Day Hours.

As the Gardener, Him addressing,
  Well and rightly she believ'd:
He, the Sower, gave His blessing
  To the seed her heart receiv'd:
Not at first His Form confessing,
  Soon His Voice her soul perceiv'd.

She beheld, as yet not knowing
  In the mystical disguise, 
Christ, That in her breast was sowing
  Deep and heavenly mysteries:
Till His Voice, her name bestowing,
Bade her hear and recognize.

 She to Jesus, Jesus weepeth,
  Of her Lord removed complains;
Jesus in her breast she keepeth;
  Jesus seeks, yet still retains:
He That soweth, He That reapeth
  All her heart, unknown remains.

Why, kind Jesu, why thus hiding,
 When Thyself Thou would'st reveal?
Why, in Mary's breast abiding,
  From her love Thyself conceal?
Why, True Light, in her residing,
  Can she not Its radiance feel?

Oh, how strangely Thou eludest
  Souls that on Thee have believ'd!
But eluding, ne'er deludest,
  Nor deceiv'st, nor art deceiv'd;
But including, still excludest;
  Fully known, yet not perceiv'd.

Laud to Thee and praise for ever,
   Life, Hope, Light of every soul!
Through Thy merits may we never
  Be inscribed in Death's dark roll,
But with Mary's true endeavour
  All our sins, like her, condole! Amen. 

Here's a peek-in to the SSM Breviary entry:

The foundation stone of St. Mary Magdalene Munster Square was laid in 1849; the church's founder was influenced by the Oxford Movement of the 19th Century.

Here are a few images from their Gallery page:

Below I've included a big chunk of the book's "History of the Church" chapter; I wanted to see how and why Mary Magdalene was chosen as the name for the parish, but so far haven't discovered this.
Absence of a Church in any district is certain to ensure the deterioration of the neighbourhood at no very distant date. On the other hand, the provision of a dignified Church in any locality greatly improves the surrounding vicinity. This statement is borne out in a remarkable degree in the history of St. Mary Magdalene's.

When London, in Georgian days, gradually extended its borders and spread further afield, Osnaburgh Street and Munster Square with the surrounding property, were built (c.1810) in a substantial style. Osnaburgh Street, and others near by, were provided with stables to each house, and it appears that the inhabitants at first were people of means and some position. Like all newly built-on districts, it retained, too, some of its rural surroundings for a considerable period. The country was not nearly so far away then as now, and the village pound and village pond of St. Pancras were still on the sites of Holy Trinity Church and Portland Road Station, even within the memory of people still alive. But no Church accommodation of any description was provided for many years, and the area with all these additional rows of houses continued part of the gigantic parish of St. Pancras. It is evident that it was, moreover, recognised, even in those apathetic days, that the parish had outgrown the accommodation of the original little Church of St. Pancras, since, in 1819, the then Duke of York laid the foundation stone of the new Church, as we know it now, which was consecrated in 1822.

In 1818 Dr. Blomfield had been appointed Bishop of London, and he devoted himself very largely to increasing the number of Churches in his Diocese. With this object he founded the Metropolis Church Scheme, which had for its object the building of Churches in London, where the Church accommodation was ridiculously small in proportion to the ever-increasing population.

Christ Church, Albany Street, was the first Church built by this scheme, and was finished in 1837. It was to Christ Church that Mr. Stuart used every Sunday to go for his eight o'clock Communion, when staying with his father in Harley Street during the Oxford vacations, and whenever he went there he always dropped a piece of gold into the box, " For the Building of the New Church," which subsequently formed the nucleus of the fund for purchasing the site of St. Mary Magdalene's.

After completing his studies at Eton, and at Baliol College and New Inn Hall, Oxford, where he came under the influence of Dr. Pusey, he took his degree, and in about 1845 he was ordained, Mr. Wardell of Winlaton, in the Diocese of Durham, giving him a title. He next became an assistant-priest to Mr. Powell, of Cirencester, and afterwards he volunteered to assist Mr. Edward Munro in carrying on the College, which he had founded for the higher education of boys of the lower middle-class.

He then joined Mr. Dodsworth's staff at Christ Church, Albany Street, and while there he conceived the idea of devoting himself and his fortune to what eventually became his life's work, at St. Mary Magdalene's. It is said that he offered the Bishop of London to found a Church and to serve it in such part of London as had the most evil reputation, and the Bishop indicated the then York Square neighbourhood. He may possibly have also been influenced in his choice by Dr. Pusey, who was well acquainted with its terrible condition.

For all the forty or so years since the houses had been built, no Church had yet been erected within sight, and the neighbourhood had deteriorated rapidly. The proximity of the barracks, situated at the back of Cumberland Terrace, had also tended to lower the tone of the inhabitants. The result was that no respectable people would take a house in York Square, on account of the stigma attached to any one dwelling there.

It is typical of the man that Mr. Stuart not only sold his estate to pay the entire cost of the Church, and for its endowment, but he himself took a house in the notorious square itself as his own residence.

The site of the Church was originally occupied by a coach factory, and the site having been provided, as before indicated, by the congregation of Christ Church, the foundation stone was laid on July ioth, 1849, by Mr. Baron Alderson, an old friend of Mr. Stuart's.

The Holy Eucharist was celebrated in Christ Church, and the service was fully choral, five choirs combining to give effect to its performance, viz., those of St. Andrew's, Wells Street, Margaret Chapel, a selection from St. Mark's College, the boys of the Chapel Royal, St. James', and the regular cboir of Christ Church. They were conducted by the Rev. T. Helmore, whose Psalter (Noted) was used for the Psalms, which were chanted antiphonally by priest and choir. The Rev. John Keble preached the sermon. . After the Service, a procession was formed to proceed to the site, consisting of about seventy surpliced Priests and a surpliced Choir of eighty, followed by the greater part of the congregation. The service of the laying of the stone included two sets of Versicles—commencing respectively, "O how amiable are Thy dwellings," and "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious," the 8410 and 127th Psalms, sung to grand old Gregorian tunes, and prayers, including one for consecration of the stone. The stone was then formally laid, and an anthem followed. The blessing, pronounced by Mr. Dodsworth, concluded the ceremony. The procession then returned to Christ Church in the same order, and a banquet subsequently took place the same day.

The building of the Church, however, occupied a longer time than had originally been expected on account of difficulties with the foundations, but in three years the first part of the Church was ready for consecration, and on April 22nd, 1852, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene was consecrated by Bishop Blomfield, and the following, in the handwriting of Mr. Stuart, is the earliest entry from the Parish Book :—

"The Right Rev. Lord Bishop of London consecrated the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on this day. Messrs. Holland and Charrington, parishioners of the new District Parish, with the Rev. Edw. Stuart, Perpetual Curate, presented the petition for consecration.

"The Prayers were said by the Rev. E. Stuart; the Lessons were read by the Rev. M. Shaw, and Rev. W. F. Powell, of Cirencester. The Epistle was read by the Rev. W. F. Burrows, and Holy Communion was administered by the Bishop, assisted by the Rev. E. Stuart, Rev. W. F. Burrows, and Rev. J. W. Molyneux, Assistant Curate of St. Mary Magdalene's, to 300 communicants.

"The Sermon was preached by the Bishop of London, and the offertory, amounting to ^190, was set aside for the building of Schools in the new District.

"In the evening there was Service at seven o'clock, after which a Sermon was preached by the Rev. F. D. Maurice, Professor of King's College."

It may be mentioned in passing that the anomalous title of "Perpetual Curate," which was shared with the incumbent of Christ Church, Albany Street, and many other comparatively recently erected churches, and new districts, was altered to that of Vicar by the passing, in i860, of the Marquis of Blandford's Act.

Thus began the actual history of the Church, the Jubilee of which we have been spared to keep this year (1902). How far reaching may be the results of the single-hearted labours of Mr. Stuart and those others who have ministered and laboured at St. Mary Magdalene's, no man can tell. It is sufficient for us to know that the whole moral tone of the Parish was visibly improved even before Mr. Stuart's death, and the improvement has continued ever since.

The lines on which Mr. Stuart worked to attain this end and in which he has been followed by his successors, were to make the word Thorough the motto of the Church, and this single word best sums up his own life and teaching, as well as the Church and the services.

And he was not afraid to adopt such practices of the Roman branch of the Catholic Church as were fit and edifying, leaving them the "monopoly," as he was wont to write, of compulsory confession, of compulsory celibacy, of miraculous images, and of prayers in Latin. He also strongly championed the voluntary use of private confession in both his teaching and writings. He always insisted, however, on having the congregation with him before he added to the ceremonial or otherwise altered the services. For this purpose he preached on Vestments, Incense, or whatever it. might be, before introducing them, besides writing pamphlets and leaflets with the same object. He also compiled a Hymn-book at a time when the paraphrased versions of the Psalms were almost the only metrical songs used in Churches. Several of these hymns are now -included in the new Hymn-books now in use in the Church. He made the Services and Music bright, congregational, and hearty. One of the customs he borrowed from abroad was that of Open-air Processions, on the greater festivals, in addition to those in the Church. In these he introduced girls in white, with different coloured scarves, as well as the regular choir with the banners of the Church. He admitted that such processions were then (1873) unusual, but hoped that would not be the case much longer. He further justified the proceedings in a tract he published at the time by appealing to common sense and to Biblical tradition, as well as similar efforts of dissenters and others.

At Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Whitsun, he always circulated leaflets, the specimens of which, with the extracts from his other writings on pages 48 to 50 will suffice to show the type of the man, and the direct clearness of his teaching.

In his social work he was as conspicuous as a pioneer as in the services. The Christmas dinners and presents, treats to the children of the schools, their parents, and poor people generally, have always been one of the traditions of the parish. For many years, too, he held annual summer excursions to Rye House, charging the participants one shilling each all round towards their share of the day's expenses, people in better positions being invited to increase their contribution. As far back as 1855 he formulated the rules for St. Mary Magdalene's Club, which was most successful, and in which—as in all the work connected with the Church—he took a great personal interest, and towards the success of which he devoted several hours of his own spare time each week. This social side languished somewhat at the time of his death, but was revived by Mr. Ponsonby, and is now succeeded

hoping that a good Vicarage house would be handed over to his successors free of debt. The corner stone was laid on the morrow of St. Mary Magdalene's Day, 1895, and the house was first occupied in 1896.

Mr. Hitchcock's health was not very good, and after a voyage to the Cape had not done all the good that was expected, it became necessary for him to resign. The Rev. W. H. Jervois, who had been assistant priest for five years at St. Giles's, Reading (Mr. Ponsonby's original parish), and twelve years at St. Matthew's, Westminster, was appointed Vicar in 1896, by the Bishop (Temple) of London, to whom the patronage had fallen by the original settlement.

During the past six years the schools have been enlarged, the new Institute has been opened, the congregation has become more parochial, and thus the Church has started on the second half-century of her work.

The Church's work, whether in general or in any individual parish, must be one of faith, always certain of her divine commission and the divine promises, always looking upward, always confident, always content to leave results in the hands of God. The time will come when the densely populated area bounded by Euston Road, Hampstead Road, and Drummond Street will be annexed to the parish, bringing with it a large increase of responsibility and an imperative call for fresh effort; it is therefore necessary from a purely human point of view to put forth our best energies now on behalf of the present population to bring home to them the Catholic Faith, and so to make them "workers together with God," at least by their example of Christian living.

There are many things still wanting to complete the Church, particulars of which will be found elsewhere, but these notes will indicate what has, by the grace of God, been accomplished in the past, and assuredly we mayitook forward to like blessings in the time to come.

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