Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saint Mary the Virgin

August 15 is the feast day of Saint Mary the Virgin, or the Feast of the Assumption, or the Dormition of the Theotokos, depending on your church; different names all referring to the same event, the Mother of God going up to heaven following her death. The painting above is part of a huge fresco in Parma by the sixteenth century artist Antonio da Correggio, depicting Mary, borne aloft by angels, joining the saints.

For appropriate hymns, we generally have to turn to the Roman Catholic church, and I found this one in the Catholic Church Hymnal of 1905. Though it may not be sung anywhere but here today, its author is certainly remembered.
Frederick William Faber was a convert to Catholicism from the Church of England and was one of the first to write new hymns in English for Catholics as opposed to translations from Latin.

Sing, sing, ye angel bands,
All beautiful and bright!
For higher still and higher,
Through fields of starry light,
The Queen of heav'n ascends,
Like the sweet moon at night.

A fairer flow'r than she
On earth has never been;
And save the throne of God,
Your heav'ns have never seen
A wonder half so bright
As your ascending Queen.

O happy angels, look!
How beautiful she is!
See, Jesus bears her up,
Her hand is locked in his;
Oh, who can tell the height
Of that fair Mother's bliss?

On then, dear pageant, on!
Sweet music breathes around;
And love, like dew distils
On hearts in rapture bound;
The Queen of heav'n goes up
To be proclaimed and crowned!

Frederick William Faber, c. 1861
Francis H. Champneys, 1889

The picture below shows the ascending Mary with (I think) her hand held by her son, described here in the hymn but generally not a part of artistic depictions of the event.

Two Years Ago: Saint Mary the Virgin

One Year Ago: Saint Mary the Virgin

No comments: