December 26, 2011

Something Transcendental: Loreena McKennitt sings "The Dark Night of the Soul" (A poem by St. John of the Cross)

When the world is too much with you, it's not a bad idea to spend some time with St. John and the Eternals. Suggested by The Anchoress' compilation today where she shares:

“The Lord measures out perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, by by the manner in which we perform them.”
— St. John of the Cross

"Oh noche que juntaste amado con amada, amada en el amado transformada!"

Upon a darkened night
The flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
And by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
While all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
In secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
Than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire t'was led me on
And shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
It was a place where no one else could come

Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other

Within my pounding heart
Which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
Beneath the cedars all my love I gave
And by the fortress walls
The wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow

Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other

I lost myself to him
And laid my face upon my lovers breast
And care and grief grew dim
As in the mornings mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair


Full poem in the original and in translation after the jump.

Saint John of the Cross: The Dark Night of the Soul (From Spanish)

Songs of the soul rejoicing at having achieved the high state of perfection, the Union with God, by way of spiritual negation.

Once in the dark of night
When love ignited me, I yearned and rose
(O stroke of sheer delight!)
And went though no one knows,
Leaving behind a house in cold repose.

In darkness all went right.
By secret ladders, in clandestine clothes,
(O stroke of sheer delight!)
In darkness I arose
Leaving behind a house in cold repose.

And in the luck of night
In secret places where no other spied
I went without my sight
Without a light to guide
Except the heart that lit me from inside.

It guided me and shone
Surer than noonday sunlight over me,
And lead me to the one
Whom only I could see
Deep in a place where only we could be.

O guiding dark of night!
O dark of night more darling than the dawn!
O night that can unite
A lover and loved one,
A lover and loved one moved in unison.

And on my flowering breast
Which I had kept for him and him alone
He slept as I caressed
And loved him for my own,
Breathing an air from redolent cedars blown.

And from the castle wall
The wind came down to winnow through his hair
Bidding his fingers fall,
Searing my throat with air
And all my senses were suspended there.

I stayed there to forget.
There on my lover, face to face, I lay.
All ended, and I let
My cares all fall away
Forgotten in the lilies on that day.


La Noche Oscura Del Alma
San Juan De La Cruz

Cançiones del alma que se goça d’auer llegado al alto estado de la perfecçion, que es la union con Dios, por el camino de la negaçion espiritual

En una noche obscura,
con ansias en amores imflamada,
¡oh dichosa uentura!
sali sin ser notada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

A escuras y segura,
por la secreta escala disfraçada,
¡oh dichosa uentura!
a escuras y ençelada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

En la noche dichosa,
en secreto, que nadie me ueya,
ni yo miraua cosa,
sin otra luz ni guia
sino la que en el coraçon ardia.

Aquesta me guiaua
mas cierto que la luz del mediodia,
adonde me esperaua
quien yo bien me sabia,
en parte donde nadie parecia.

¡Oh noche que me guiaste!
¡oh noche amable mas que el aluorada!,
¡oh noche que juntaste
amado con amada,
amada en el amado transformada!

Y en mi pecho florido,
que entero para el solo se guardaua,
alli quedo dormido,
y yo le regalaua,
y el ventalle de cedros ayre daua.

El ayre de la almena,
cuando ya sus cabellos esparzia,
con su mano serena
en mi cuello heria,
y todos mis sentidos suspendia.

Quedeme y oluideme,
el rostro recline sobre el amado,
ceso todo, y dexeme,
dexando mi cuidado
entre las açucenas olvidado.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 26, 2011 2:34 AM
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Comments:

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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Wonderful gift. Thank you.

Posted by: The Anchoress at March 10, 2010 6:04 PM

Gerard, I'd like to thank you for turning me on to her when you played Dante's Prayer a few weeks ago. Loreena is just the best.

Incidentally, the book-end pieces on 'Dante' are taken from an Eastern Orthodox Hymn, 'Behold the Bridgroom Cometh'.

Posted by: ahem at March 10, 2010 7:02 PM

I have yet to hear a Lorena McKennitt song that is not both beautiful and touching.

And whoever's putting these videos together is doing justice to the music.

Perhaps you should repost "Dante's Prayer".

Posted by: WWWebb at March 10, 2010 7:40 PM

I would have liked to post a link to Beth Nielsen Chapman's lovely version of Ave Verum Corpus, but you all will have to find it somehow.
I used to listen to this song, especially, when I was at my lowest point about 1o years ago. I would put it on the repeat setting of my cd player and walk about 3 miles out and back each evening. Between the long walk and the music, I found unspeakable joy.

Posted by: Jewel at March 10, 2010 9:33 PM

It's hard to think that with all the people who have gone before us, we still have to learn our own path to what's fully alive.

Maybe that's the point.

Posted by: Borepatch at December 27, 2010 6:25 PM
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