Hermit Songs (Samuel Barber) part 1





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Published on May 3, 2010

2010 MSM recital


I. At Saint Patricks Purgatory
(13th century, tr. Sean OFaolain)

Pity me on my pilgrimage to Loch Derg!*
O King of the churches and the bells
Bewailing your sores and your wounds,
But not a tear can I squeeze from my eyes!
Not moisten an eye after so much sin!
Pity me, O King!
What shall I do with a heart
that seeks only its own ease?
O only begotten Son
by whom all men were made,
Who shunned not the death by three wounds,
Pity me on my pilgrimage to Loch Derg,
And I with a heart not softer than a stone!

*Station Island in Loch Derg (in County Donegal) has been a place of pilgrimage for well over 1,000 years. The site is called Saint Patricks Purgatory due to a legend that Saint Patrick experienced a vision of the torments of Hell while on the island.

III. Saint Itas Vision
(attr. Saint Ita, 8th century, tr. Chester Kallman)

I will take nothing from my Lord, said she,
Unless He gives me His Son from Heaven
In the form of a Baby that I may nurse Him.
So that Christ came down to her
in the form of a Baby
And then she said:
Infant Jesus, at my breast,
Nothing in this world is true
Save, O tiny nursling, You.
Infant Jesus, at my breast,
By my heart evry night,
You I nurse are not
A churl but were begot
On Mary the Jewess by Heavens Light.
Infant Jesus, at my breast,
What King is there but You who could
Give everlasting Good?
Wherefore I give my food.
Sing to Him, maidens, sing your best.
There is none that has such right
To your song as Heavens King,
Who evry night is
Infant Jesus at my breast.

IV. The Heavenly Banquet
(attr. Saint Brigid, 10th century, tr. Sean OFaolain)

I would like to have the men of Heaven in my own house;
With vats of good cheer laid out for them.
I would like to have the three Marys, their fame is so great.
I would like people from evry corner of Heaven.
I would like them to be cheerful in their drinking.
I would like to have Jesus sitting here among them.
I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heavens family
Drinking it through all eternity.

V. The Crucifixion
(12th century, tr. Howard Mumford Jones)

At the cry of the first bird
They began to crucify Thee, O Swan!
Never shall lament cease because of that.
It was like the parting of day from night.
Ah, sore was the suffring borne
By the body of Marys Son,
But sorer still to Him was the grief
Which for His sake
Came upon His Mother.

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