On Spikiness

(To be sung to AURELIA. HT to Vrouw Jonker for this one.)

Our church is mighty spikey
with smells and bells and chants,
And Palestrina masses
that vex the Protestants.
O happy ones and holy
who fall upon their knees
For solemn Benediction
And mid-week Rosaries.

Though with a scornful wonder
men see our clergy, dressed
In rich brocaded vestments
as slowly they process;
Yet saints their watch are keeping
lest souls be set alight
Not by the Holy Ghost, but
by incense taking flight.

Now we on earth have union
with Lambeth, not with Rome,
Although the wags and cynics
may question our true home;
But folk masses and bingo
can’t possibly depose
The works of Byrd and Tallis,
or Cranmer’s stately prose.

(Here shall the organist modulate)

So let the organ thunder,
sound fanfares “en chamade;”
Rejoice! For we are treading
where many saints have trod;
Let peals ring from the spire,
sing descants to high C,
Just don’t let your elation
Disrupt the liturgy.


About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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5 Responses to On Spikiness

  1. RevJATB says:

    If you’re having trouble remembering what en chamade means, think of the big trumpet-shaped pipes on the back wall of the Cathedral Church of the Advent. You know, the ones that stick out horizontally. The ones that I didn’t know had been installed until that one Christmas Eve when I arrived kind of late and had to sit on the next to last pew, and then got introduced to them on the introduction to “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” My ears are still ringing.

  2. Cap'n Whook says:

    “And Palestrina masses, that vex the Protestants.” Reminds me:

    John, were you in University Chorale at Samford the time we all got lost in a Palestrina work during a concert as TPB had dispersed us all over the chapel? Someone said that Oliver Roosevelt (the local critic) would “nail us to all four walls” for that (if memory serves, there was an erudite wise-crack in the review)!

    I think there is an “en chamade” rank in “The Whistle,” the organ in SU’s concert hall, so designed and dubbed by Dr. Tibbs, since Baptists like high wind pressure for hymn singing “en masse.” That organ was reinstalled in a swallow’s nest (stuck on the wall), house right, having been dismantled for years to make more room backstage.

  3. RevJATB says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I was there. It was “Sicut cervus.” What a train wreck.

  4. PaulB says:

    Hmm. This may make it into the HLPC hymn repertoire.

  5. Mo says:

    Interesting, but off topic: Oliver Roosevelt’s son (Oliver Jr.) lives in my town in SC. His wife is a very good violinist who plays for us on occasion when I hire a chamber orchestra. Small world.

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