Thursday 25 September 2014

ABC Drabbles of Death - R is for Requiem

And so we reach the letter 'R' in the ABC Drabbles of Death series. As regular readers will know this is a series of 100 word stories for each letter of the alphabet based around death. A morbid subject to be sure, but we've had a blend of sad, gruesome and even funny on the macabre journey so far.

This week's drabbles (yes drabbles as this is a double bill - all will become clear!) takes a more solemn tone. For the letter 'R' there was only one choice - it had to be requiem and in specific a requiem mass. At first I thought I would write a drabble covering the mass from some angle then I thought of something different.

I've always been fascinated by the ceremony of faith and in particular the old school catholic Latin mass and the requiem is a stand out example. It has also inspired some of the most beautiful music ever created. And then a mad idea formed. Why not write a drabble based on the lLatinrequiem mass?

Well as it turned out that was pretty easy. The highlights of the mass I wanted to feature in Latin came to 101 words - so an easy edit. Not so easy was the English version - after all not that many people read Latin these days (I'm far from fluent). I found an excellent English translation but that weighed in at nearly 200 words for the same verses. Latin is clearly a more compact language.

So I ask forgiveness for any Latin scholars reading this as I've taken some liberties with the translation!

If you've not read the previous drabbles in the series then you'll find them all here:

R is for Requiem (Latin Version)

Dies iræ! dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla!

Tuba, mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulchra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit, et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Iudicanti responsura.

Preces meæ non sunt dignæ:
Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum præsta,
Et ab hædis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Iudicandus homo reus.

Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Pie Iesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem.

R is for Requiem (English Version)

Wrathful day and mourning!
Fulfilled prophets' warning,
Everything in ashes burning!

Trumpet flingeth;
through sepulchers ringeth;
to throne bringeth.

Death, nature quaking,
all creation awaking,
Judge’s answer making.

Worthless prayers sighing,
yet, grace complying,
rescue me from fires undying!

With favoured sheep place;
nor among goats abase;
but to thy side upraise.

While the wicked confounded,
doomed to flames unbounded
Summon saints surrounded.

I kneel, heart’s submission,
like ashes, my contrition;
help in my last condition.

Day of tears and mourning!
From earth returning
For judgment preparing;

God, mercy spare him!
Lord, all pitying, Jesus blest,
grant them eternal rest.

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