I got very badly stuck on this one and then I woke up this morning and went – well, it’s a hymn
so translate it as one. So, unlike most of my poems, this one is singable – it may not be great verse but it is singable.

Specifically, it is singable to the tune that used to be known to every Catholic, actual or lapsed, as ‘Mother of God, Star of the sea’. Since the Church appropriated all sorts of ideas from pagan worship, it seems fair to steal something back…

Pure boys and maidens
We sing to thee
Diana Queen of Chastity

Latona on fair Delos isle
rested under an olive tree
bore you and watched the infant smile
Greatest of all Jove’s progeny

Pure boys etc.

Mistress of every wooded peak
and of secluded forest glades
of swift high streams that foaming speak
and of the fields the forest shades

Pure boys etc.

patron of women that give birth
and the reliever of their woe
queen of each crossroad on the earth,
as moon across the sky you go

Pure boys etc.

As moon you shed light on the soil
bringing the seasons round in turn
blessing the humble farmer’s toil
bringing the harvest that he’ll earn

Pure boys etc.

We worship you by every name
in every shape and aspect too
You have helped Rome; please be the same
to all of us who worship you

Pure boys etc.

About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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6 Responses to CATULLUS 34

  1. ffutures says:

    Is this the same tune as “For those in peril on the sea”?

  2. crazycrone says:

    I remember it well…What a useful URL.

  3. crowleycrow says:

    Sweet and lovely, even reverent. You gave yourself extra labor (or excuse for cunning) by making the stanzas rhyme ABAB –in hymns they usually rhyme XAXA, no?

    Actually maybe no, now that I look at a famous one:

    Our God, our Help in ages past,
    Our Hope for years to come,
    Our Shelter from the stormy blast,
    And our eternal Home!

    But it does alternate tetrameter-trimeter lines (like Emily Dickinson of course, who liked XAXA.)

  4. swisstone says:

    I hope some day you’re able to get a choir to perform this. I think it would be something qute special.

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