Lorica

As an antidote to yesterday’s dipping in the cesspool of political scum, today I received an email (thanks, Catenea!) that sent me searching YouTube for the Lorica sung in Latin or French.  I didn’t find that, but I did find it in Gaelic.

Lyrics:

Críost liomsa, (Christ with me)
Críost romham, (Christ before me)
Agus Críost i mo chroí’se, (and Christ in my heart)
Críost os mo chionn’sa, (Christ above me)
Críost fúm, (Christ below me)
Agus Críost ar mo chroí’se. (and Christ on my heart)
Agus Críost i mo chroí. (and Christ in my heart)

…and in English, Sung by Rita Connolly, with a good part of it a capella:

Lyrics:

I arise today
through the strength of heaven.

Light of sun, radiance of moon,
splendor of fire, speed of lightning,
swiftness of wind, depth of the sea,
stability of earth, firmness of rock.

I arise today
through God’s strength to pilot me

God’s eye to look before me, God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me
From all who shall wish me ill,
Afar and a near, alone and in a multitude
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body, and so…

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ to shield me.
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me;
Christ in the mouth of  everyone who speaks of me.

I arise today.

Here it is with three part harmony, vocalist is Lucy Bunce, backup is with Celtic instruments:

This poem, this Faedh Fiada is also spelled Faeth Fiada and even fOid Jiada. Other names for it include The Lorica of St. Patrick, St. Patrick’s Breastplate[Lúireach Pádraig], and Saint Patrick’s Rune (the “rune” is a shorter group of stanzas within the Lorica itself-I wrote about it here). It is also identified with the canticum Scotticum attributed to St. Patrick sometime before the ninth century. The text of this Irish hymn is in Atkinson”s Liber Hymnorum; a full text in Old Irish and Latin, with notes in English, is available in Google books. A discussion of the available manuscripts is here.

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5 Responses to “Lorica”

  1. Catanea Says:

    Well, dear Nijma, I’m glad you’re having a nice time.
    But as I mentioned in my e-mail, there was a lot of research in trying to find “the earliest” version of Patrick’s Lorica. And part of the challenge/problem is that dozens of people have dredged it up from secondary, tertiary… far-down-the-line sources, and put them up on the web with the posters’ own “improvements” to Patricks text [true: historical versions in manuscripts may have been “edited” by several redactors, but I personally prefer modifcations made in the first millenium to those made by last week’s cute web-editresses (and I’d bet quite a bit they are female ersatz christian/celtique persons)].
    FIND THE MANUSCRIPT, and do the best you can.

  2. Catanea Says:

    I do apologize for my habitual open brackets/parens &c which fail to find their closing opposite numbers. I’m sure the reasonable reader will have no trouble. But with the online texts, I have no idea (my versions were not from online texts).
    Good luck.

  3. Nijma Says:

    Catanea, I tried to fix your bracket–I hope that’s where you wanted to put it.

    I just started looking at online sources for the Lorica, but haven’t had the time yet for a proper search. That’s part of the reason I took a blogging vacation–I get interested in something and don’t realize where the time goes.

    I don’t have a problem with different types of translations. People want translated text for different reasons–some very good poets have completely changed famous texts with great results–for instance Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire” and “Take this Waltz”. Not everyone can read Old Irish, and it’s only natural to want to understand it. Likewise, Western religions are very male-centric, so it’s only natural for women, especially Celtic women, to look for spiritual inspiration in old texts with a time frame closer to pagan tradition.

    From the little research I have been able to do, though, it looks like the text is meant to be a magical charm. That is, uttering the words is supposed to protect someone for 24 hours, as it was said to have done with St. Patrick. I’m not sure about the effect of uttering them in another lanugage. Whatever… I can appreciate the historical value in finding a text as old as possible.

  4. Catanea Says:

    Incidentally, I wish I had all my material at hand, but I don’t.
    Nonetheless, I can tell you that the most credible translations I’ve seen claim Patrick asks (among many other things) to be delivered from the machinations of “smiths” and “women”, both assessed as rather dangerous to an average (?) man attempting Christian virtue. On the other hand, I believe celibacy was not required for Irish monks. There were married abbots, &c.
    I rather liked the idea that Patrick the Saint needed to invoke the protection of Christ against women and smiths. (I know some silversmiths). We’re all magical and perilous.

  5. Nijma Says:

    The version in wiki says “Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,” but I’m sure I have seen “druids”. I will have to look further for a definitive text when I have more time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Breastplate


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