Saturday, 6 October 2012

There ain't no tropes in the Agnus Dei

Jeffrey Tucker at The Chant Café has an article on the welcome news of a minor step forward in the reform of the reform. The Congregation for Divine Worship has asked the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to change its musical guidelines so that the insertion of unauthorised texts into the middle of the Agnus Dei is no longer approved.

The headline which showed up on my google desktop, google reader, and various other reminders was "No more tropes in the Agnus Dei." I knew that this reminded me of something and this evening it came to me. It is Mrs Ape's famous hymn "There ain't no flies on the Lamb of God" which features during a rough sea passage in Vile Bodies. The reference deserves to be quoted in context:
To Father Rothschild no passage was worse than any other. He thought of the sufferings of the saints, the mutability of human nature, the Four Last Things, and between whiles repeated snatches of the penitential psalms. 
The Leader of his Majesty's Opposition lay sunk in a rather glorious coma, made splendid by dreams of Oriental imagery – of painted paper houses; of golden dragons and gardens of almond blossom; of golden limbs and almond eyes, humble and caressing; of very small golden feet among almond blossoms; of little painted cups full of golden tea; of a golden voice singing behind a painted paper screen; of humble, caressing little golden hands and eyes shaped like almonds and the colour of night. 
Outside his door two very limp detective sergeants had deserted their posts. 
'The bloke as could make trouble on a ship like this 'ere deserves to get away with it,' they said. 
The ship creaked in every plate, doors slammed, trunks fell about, the wind howled; the screw, now out of the water, now in, raced and churned, shaking down hatboxes like ripe apples; but above all the roar and clatter there rose from the second-class ladies' saloon the despairing voices of Mrs Ape's angels, in frequently broken unison, singing, singing, wildly, desperately, as though their hearts would break in the effort and their minds lose their reason, Mrs Ape's famous hymn, There ain't no flies on the Lamb of God
The Captain and the Chief Officer sat on the bridge engrossed in a crossword puzzle.
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