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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/403

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MISERERE


353


MISERERE


vine Office and in various ceremonies. It is the first psalm at Lauds in all the ferial (week-day) Offices throughout the year, outside of Paschal Time, and in the Sunday Offices from SeptuagesLma to Palm Sun- day inclusive. It holds the same place in the Office of the Dead. It is tlie psalm chosen for the precesfer- iales at Vespers for all the weekdays in Lent with the exception of the triduum of Holy Week, for those in Advent, for the ember-days except those of the Pentecostal season, and for all vigils, except those of Christmas, Epiphany, the Ascension, and Pentecost. In addition it is said just before the oratio, or prayer, in all the Canonical Hours in the tritluum of Holy Week, except the Vespers and Compline of Holy Sat- urday. As it is also the fourth in order of the seven penitential psalms (q. v.), its times of recitation will be governed by the appropriate rubric in the Brevi- ary. It (or, as alternative, Ps. cxvi, " Laudate . . . omnes ") is said daily in the prayers after dinner {post prandium), except on days when only one meal is taken (in which case the prayers are those styled post ccBnam, "after supper") and also except the times from Christmas to the Octave of the Epiphany, from Holy Saturday until Low Sunday exclusively, and from Ascension Thursday to the Octave of Pentecost exclusively. It is very prominent in the ceremony of the Asperges (q. v.), during which the choir sings the antiphon "Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo", etc. (i. e. Ps. 1, verse 8; Vulg., 0), then the verse "Miserere mei, Deus", etc. (i. e.'Ps. 1, 1; Vulg., 3), then the Gloria Patri, and finally the antiphon "Asperges me", the celebrant meanwhile reciting, either alone or alter- nately with the sacred ministers, the entire Miserere. On Passion and Palm Sundays the Gloria Patri is omitted, and during Paschal Time the antiphon and psalm are "Vidi aquam" and " Confitemini " (Ps. cxvii) respectively.

The Miserere is found in many other ceremonial functions; at the Burial of the Dead, with the anti- phon " Exultaljunt Domino ossa liumiliata", taken from the 9th (Vulg., 10th) verse of the psalm; at the episcopal visitation of parishes ; the blessing of a bell ; the consecration of an altar-stone; the laying of the corner-stone of a church ; the blessing of a church, of a cemetery, of a house, of congregations, and fields ; the reconciliation of a profaned church (whether conse- crated or merely blessed) or of a profaned cemetery. It is especially prominent in the consecration of a church, when it is first said like other psalms, and afterwards in a more solemn manner, with tlie antiphon " As- perges" repeated after each group of three verses, during the sprinkling of the altars with holy water. It is said by the penitent who is to be absolved from excommunication {in fnro externo), and by the ab- solving priest in the case of a deceased excommunicate who had given some sign of contrition before death, the ceremony entitling to ecclesiastical burial. At the Visitation of the Sick the priest may say the Mis- erere or any other of the first three penitential psalms. While carrying the Blessed Sacrament to the sick, the priest is to say the Miserere ("which is the best suited for obtaining divine mercy for the sick" — de Herdt, "Praxis") and other psalms and prayers. In monas- teries it is said during the customary " discipline ". It figured prominently in the ancient ceremony of the Reconciliation of Penitents on Maundy Thursday, both as one of the seven penitential psalms recited by the bishop in the sanrttmry, and as one of the three psalms commenciiii; \\ iili Nti-ircre during the prostra- tion of clergy and hilly I inclihliiigthe penitents). For an interesting de.scri|jtiuii of this ancient function, cf. the volume entitled " Passiontide and Holy Week ", of Gueranger's "Liturgical Year."

In some Jewish rituals the Miserere is recited on

the Day of Atonement. It is also fouml in the .\ngli-

can Commination Service. In a fragmentary form it is

also prominent, in the selection of some of its most

X.— 23


searching verses, for the preces of Prime in the Divine Office ; in the verse " Domine labia mea aperies ", etc., with which the Office commonly opens at Matins and Prime ; in the use of the antiphon " Asperges ", and the verse "Miserere" in the Communion of the Sick, and of the antiphon alone at Extreme Unction (de Herdt, " Praxis ") ; in the selection of various verses for use as antiphons in the Office, and for an Offertory, a Com- munion, and an Alleluia-verse at Mass. The partial use made of it at Mass and Office has been minutely detailed in Bishop Marbach's exceedingly elaborate work, "Carmina Scripturarum " (Strasburg, 1907), 134-36.

As remarked above, the Miserere is not only the first psalm at Lauds in the ferial Office, but is also re- peated just before the oratio at the end of Lauds in the triduum of Holy Week. The thought of giving to this second Miserere a musical treatment more elaborate than the ordinary plain-song used for the psalms in general, and of makmg it serve as a climax to the dramatic ceremonial of the Tenebrce, is probably due to Leo X. In 1514 the Miserere was sung to a falsohordone. The oldest example extant is that of Costanzo Festa (1517), which alternated verses in plain-song with verses in falsibordoni of four and five voices. This interestingly contrasted settmg or method of treatment formed the type for imitation ever since.

The musical settings of the Miserere are very many. Three of them (Baini's on Wednesday, Bai's on Thurs- day, and AUegri's on Friday afternoons) are especially famous because of their yearly repetition in the pope's chapel during the Tenebne. Among the numerous estimates recorded by musicians and travellers on these three settings, mention may be mafle of Men- delssohn's, Cardinal Wiseman's, Madame de Stael's (in "Corinne"), Mr. Rockstro's (in Grove, Diction- ary of Music), and especially of the yomig Mozart's sincerest tribute in the famous copy of it made by him at one hearing of .\llegri's Miserere (with cor- rections made at a subsequent hearing). In the second of his " Four Lectures on the Offices and Cere- monies of Holy Week", Cardinal Wiseman gives a comparative estimate of these settings and, in accord with all who have heard them, awards the palm of su- premacy to AUegri's. His description is glowing and vivid; but that of Mr. Rockstro is equally apprecia- tive and musically more precise and detailetl in re- spect of AUegri's Miserere, of which he gives many illustrations, and which he defends against certain criticisms. (Cf. in the same dictionary articles on Bai, Baini.)

M'.SwiNEY. Translation of the Psalms and Canticles with Com- mentari/ (St. Louis, 1901). 186-90, gives a bi-columnar transla- tion from the Vulgate and the Hebrew Massoretic text, 186-190: "With the exception of the two last verses, probably added to the Psalm during the Babylonian captivity, there is no valid reason for assigning this Psalm to a poet of a later age, who undertook to set forth the thoughts and emotions of David, on the occasion mentioned in the title". D'Eyraodes, Les Psaumes traduits de Vhcbreu (Paris, 1904). 146-.'J1, ascribes it to David: "Verses 20-21 were . doubtless added after the return from captivity in the time of Esdras when he again raised the walls of the temple. The congregation sing the verses." ViGOnnoux praises the work as one of irreproachable learning. Against the Davidic authorship: Chetne. The Book of Psalms (New York, 1892), 144-149; Briggs, A Critical and Exegelical Commentary on the Book of Psalms (New York, 1907), II, 3-12: " Ps 51 is a penitential prayer of the congregation in the time of Nehemiah." — Neutral: Kirkpatrick, The Book of Psalms (Cambridge, 1901). hks. II, III. 284-95. briefly dispases of some objections to the Davidic authorship and allows weight to others: Lesetre. Le Livrr d- l'--;i;me^ (Priris. lKK:ii, :, very extended commentary: Kenip k /'.. /■./." -f- ( li -H i.iiore. 1861),

very condensed. 1 III I '"i . Wniii I ' 'Ihle Sapienter

(Psallieret wcise) (Imui ':r_: im Hi , ri""i , 11, ."'1 :ni, an ex- tensive account of 111. hi;. ii.:i1 aii.l hiiimu ;il vh,m of the Mise- rere — Metrical tninsl.dioin into Euglnh: Bagshawe. The Psaims and Cantirlns in English VVrs.- (St. Louis, 1903). pro- poses the use of mctriiiil vcrsioni of the Ps.alms by Catholics and civpi nilOl hi" iii.lnr-il version of P" \: Mli.nnnRNE. The Ps.ih;- ,.l ;....-/ ." /,:.!'.. I, M.lr, ll.i.ii.l.in. ICdS), 105-08,

gj^, , ' ,,, i , ., I i.i 1 iiL'liOi \. r-,i-, I'l.' I' illrr, a revised

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