Esolen's Hymns
  • Chrism
    Posts: 805
    A quick Google search shows that we've pooh-poohed some of Anthony Esolen's thoughts on hymns in general, but now the Dante translator has written some of his own, which I think bear mention. A bad liturgist can still be a good poet, after all. In a recent article in Crisis, he quotes from one.

    Hrmph, not bad, I thought, not bad. Which is high praise for a hymn: as the equation goes, bad theology + bad poetry + bad melody = good hymn. But perhaps that's too cynical. I don't think his hymn goes with the recommended melody, though.

    Thanked by 1Anna_Bendiksen
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,769
    Decent poetical work, but to me somehow not a hymn, in the way that the Robert Southwell poems in the Campion Missal aren't hymns. I"d thought that the definition of a hymn was "a song of praise to a God or hero"
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,359
    Very nice!! I thought he'd have some hymns in him.

  • davido
    Posts: 506
    I have to agree with Jeffrey. That’s certainly the broader definition that St Augustine uses.

    I am currently teaching a class at the parish using Esolen’s book, Real Music. Trying to explain the significance and appropriateness of traditional hymnody. I haven’t noticed this poohpoohing that Chrism mentions, I shall have to search now…
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,700
    Merriam-Webster Definition of hymn
    1a : a song of praise to God : sing a hymn of thanksgiving
    b : a metrical composition adapted for singing in a religious service : a book of hymns
    2 : a song of praise or joy : in jolly hymns they praise the god of wine— John Dryden
    3 : something resembling a song of praise : paean : The novel is a hymn to childhood and innocence.
  • Well, I'm confused.

    First Professor Esolen writes a text which sounds to these ignorant ears more Southern Baptist than Catholic.

    Then a debate ensues among people who really would know whether it is a hymn or not.

    On top of it all, Chrism throws in an equation that makes me think of mad hymnodists furiously composing in secret laboratories amid the occasional explosion.

    I think that this situation calls for a large quantity of gin punch. Who's in?

    Thanked by 1Chrism
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,359
    Southern Baptist hymns are unlikely to refer to the Eucharist in verses 2 and 4.