Thursday, October 25, 2007

Roman Breviary online and Super Flumina Babylonis

I found a valuable site browsing for a translation of Super Flumina (more precisely of "in sallicibus . . . suspendimus organa nostra") this morning. (Don't you do stuff like that at 6 am?)

I am overjoyed to find that the Breviary is online with Latin and English side by side. It is now set to be my default browser page.

This is from the website:
The Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul was established for the purpose of inviting the Christian faithful throughout the world to give glory to God by uniting themselves with the Catholic clergy in that public prayer and liturgy which is the Divine Office.

Oh yes, I did find my translation of the Psalm 136, which begins with the words Super flumina. We sing polyphonic versions of the psalm in The St. Ann Choir. It's below. I cut the end off, since it gets into vengeance against the Babylonians. Blessed be he who strikes the heads of your children against the stones (as you did to ours). That sort of thing.

Psalmus 136. Super flumina

1. Super flúmina Babylónis, illic sédimus et flévimus: * cum recordarémur Sion:
2 In salícibus in médio ejus, * suspéndimus organa nostra.
3 Quia illic interrogavérunt nos, qui captívos duxérunt nos, * verba cantiónum.
4 Et qui abduxérunt nos: * Hymnum cantáte nobis de cánticis Sion.
5 Quómodo cantábimus cánticum Dómini * in terra aliéna?

Psalm 136. Super flumina

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, * when we remembered thee, O Sion.
2 Upon the willow trees that are therein, * we hanged up our harps.
3 For they that led us away captive, * required of us then a song.
4 And they that carried us away, said : * Sing us one of the songs of Sion.
5 How shall we sing the song of the Lord * in a strange land?

And then there is the reggae version:

Lyrics: Bob Marley - by the rivers of babylon lyrics

By the rivers of Babylon,
where we sat down,
and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.

For the wicked carry us away captivity
Require from us a song.
How can we sing King Alpha song
in a strange land?

So let the words of our mouth
and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable in thy sight Over Us

My cousin's wife Dorothy wrote me the following:

"In my Hebrew Bible, it's Psalm 137, and the word [for organa] is "Kinor," which means
harp. "

One might imagine then a pipe organ in the willow trees, but it's more reasonable to see harps in one's mind's eye. They'd have to not be the big ones we use in our orchestras, of course, but small harps, like the harp that David played.


Also from



It is considered praiseworthy to say the following prayer, kneeling, in preparation for the Office; for which Pope Pius XI granted an Indulgence of three years.

(By local custom, it may be said either privately, or in unison by the whole Choir, but in a low tone of voice.)


Aperi, Dómine, os meum ad benedicéndum nomen sanctum tuum: munda quoque cor meum ab ómnibus vanis, pervérsis et aliénis cogitatiónibus; intelléctum illúmina, afféctum inflámma, ut digne, atténte ac devóte hoc Offícium recitáre váleam, et exaudíri mérear ante conspéctum divínæ Majestátis tuæ. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

Dómine, in unióne illíus divínæ intentiónis, qua ipse in terris laudes Deo persolvísti, has tibi Horas (vel hanc tibi Horam) persólvo.

Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless thy holy Name; cleanse also my heart from all vain, evil, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding and kindle my affections; that I may worthily, attentively, and devoutly say this Office, and so be meet to be heard before the presence of thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, in union with that divine intention wherewith thou, whilst here on earth, didst render praises unto God, I desire to offer this my Office of prayer unto thee.
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