Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Poulenc and the Real France

I would like to quote, in French and then in English, a stanza from "Litanies à la Vierge noire" by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963), sung beautifully tonight in Dallas by the choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral. My friend Charles A. Coulombe has written about the difference between the "Pays Legal" and the "Pays Reel." I was powerfully struck by how this text reflects the real France, which still lives, barely, in spite of 225+ years of madness.

Reine du sanctuaire,
que consacra Saint Martial,
et où il célébra ses saints mystères.
Reine, près de laquelle s'agenouilla Saint Louis
vous demandant le bonheur de la France,
priez pour nous.
Reine, à qui Roland consacra son épée,
priez pour nous.
Reine, dont la bannière gagna les batailles,
priez pour nous.
Reine, dont la main délivrait les captifs,
priez pour nous.

Queen of the sanctuary,
which Saint Martial consecrated
and where he celebrated his holy mysteries.
Queen, before whom knelt Saint Louis
asking of you good fortune for France,
pray for us.
Queen, to whom Roland consecrated his sword,
pray for us.
Queen, whose banner won the battles,
pray for us.
Queen, whose hand delivered the captives,
pray for us.

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