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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vexed? It is a good thing...


There is a monument in the shape of a cross that stands a mere few feet away from the church where I was baptized, lo, not all that long ago... The cross stands very tall - about 12 feet tall - on the grass that belongs to a school actually - a school I never attended, somehow - l'École Leblanc. I remember my father showing me this monument, in the 70s... The monument has been there since 1941 - the year a dear relative of mine was born... They commemorated with this monument the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Jacques Cartier in the area, in 1541 - the plaque that states all that took another 50 years to find its way there though, having been installed only in 1991.
Jacques Cartier's third voyage of 1541 has been summed up with three words: Failure, Retirement & Suspension.
Aside from Cartier, the monument has much greater significance for me personally...
I remember 1991 very well - two out of those three words that qualified Cartier's final voyage apply for that year as well, as far as a certain other person of my entourage was concerned back then...
Well, at some point anyway, it seemed to be that way... However, appearances are always so deceiving - and so it was there too...
But I digress - and verse nostalgic by the same token there.
Back to the monument now - it is a huge white, immaculate cross, with a crest embedded in its center and the years 1541 and 1941 across said crest...
It looks very stylish, very elegant and has not changed one iota in all these years...
On the plaque, there is an enchanting hymn that always captivated my imagination...
Interesting that a web search unearthed many different lyrics and versions of the hymn - titled Vexilla Regis...

Artiste: Noctes
Chanson: Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferni

Beware-with the dark I ride as one. When my legacy I reclaim.
As a fallen god, with the lunar legions by my side
On dragon wings I fly. Behold-the etheral shades of night

Pletoric formations of dark dancing past the aeons of the eleusinian vast
Within a dream, my honour to last, to sprout throughout my blood
to strengthen my heart.
The heaven torns apart as twillight shreds and thunder.
With a vampire breath I whirl the frost, to storm within my kingdom to come
Dead winter enthrones.

Vexilla regis produent inferni
As a phantom of night I ride, by thy side

The Archangels revocation of the dead
The apocalyptic revelation
The arrival of plague and death.
The Armageddon revolution-to come

Astral sparks of fire, descending to ablaze
The landscapes drained by sulphur rain
from the canopy licked by flames
Shadows walks the earth, to ravish life and glee
To walk the fields of reverie, sowing dark in dreams to be

Beware-with the dark I ride as one. When my legacy I reclaim.
As a fallen god, with the lunar legions by my side
On dragon wings I fly. Behold-the etheral shades of night

Clamant-the silence-as blood to my ears
The battlescreams echoes has vanished, faded into the past

The black sun is falling into the abyss
with the lakes of dark blood to merge
The sky is aflame, when I ride through the night
as a phantom through fire I fly
Armageddon...The final redemption of wrath

Dies Irae...

The latin and French version that is quoted on the plaque is much more one of DEVOTION than one so... Apocalyptic! Although I like apocalyptic - aye, I do! Almost as much as I like nostalgic, romantic, antique and antics...
But I've just digressed once again right there...
The following is the Latin & French *classic* version:
(Not all the latin is translated though - if anyone can help with that, feel free to do so!)

VEXILLA Regis prodeunt ; - Les étendards du Roi s’avancent
fulget Crucis mysterium, - La Croix rayonne en son mystère.
quo carne carnis conditor - En croix, la Vie subit la mort,
suspensus est patibulo.1 - Et par sa mort eut fruit de vie.

Confixa clavis viscera
tendens manus, vestigia,
redemptionis gratia
hic immolata est hostia.

Quo vulneratus insuper - Toi qui reçus le coup de lance
mucrone diro lanceae, - Au fer brutal, pour nous laver
ut nos lavaret crimine,2 - De la souillure du péché,
manavit unda et sanguine. - Tu ruisselas d’eau et de sang.

Impleta sunt quae concinit - C’est accompli ce qu’a chanté
David fideli carmine, - David en des vers prophétiques.
dicendo nationibus : - Il proclamait : « Sur les nations,
regnavit a ligno Deus. - C’est par le bois que règne Dieu. »

Arbor decora et fulgida, - Arbre splendide, éblouissant,
ornata Regis purpura, - Orné de la pourpre royale,
electa digno stipite - Tronc choisi qui fus jugé digne
tam sancta membra tangere. - De toucher des membres si saints.

Beata, cuius brachiis - Bienheureux Arbre dont les bras
pretium pependit saeculi : - Ont porté la rançon du monde !
statera facta corporis, - Tu pesas le poids de ce corps,
praedam tulitque tartari. 3 - Et l’Enfer dut lâcher sa proie.

Fundis aroma cortice, -
vincis sapore nectare,
iucunda fructu fertili
plaudis triumpho nobili.

Salve, ara, salve, victima,
de passionis gloria,
qua vita mortem pertulit
et morte vitam reddidit.

O Crux ave, spes unica, - Salut, ô Croix, seule espérance !
hoc Passionis tempore ! * - Procure, au temps de la Passion,
piis adauge gratiam, - Grâce abondante aux cœurs fidèles,
reisque dele crimina. - Et rémission aux cœurs coupables.

Te, fons salutis Trinitas, - Trinité, source de salut,
collaudet omnis spiritus : - Les vivants chantent Vos louanges,
quos per Crucis mysterium - Victorieux par Votre Croix,
salvas, fove per saecula. - Ils recevront la récompense. Amen !

On this link, you can listen to the hymn (or cantique) too...!
Oh, and as for Cartier and his failed voyage...
The historian in me would be remiss if he did not add the following...
In Spring of 1542, Cartier abandoned Charlesbourg-Royal and set out for France with a supply of what he believed was gold and diamonds gathered from the shores of the St. Lawrence River.
Back in France, the King was ecstatic over the cache of 'gold and diamonds' Cartier had brought with him from the New World. However, the gold turned out to be worthless iron pyrite - fool's gold. The diamonds were nothing but quartz. Canada, apparently, offered nothing which would compensate for the money spent to finance the voyages.
French exploration in the New World would subsequently be suspended.
No more commissions were ever granted to Jacques Cartier. He retired to his birthplace, St. Malo, where he died in 1557.

My father's health really started deteriorating in 1992.
By September of 1993, he was forced into early retirement because of his failing health.
His plans to retire to his birthplace were ruined by all this.
He would live about the same amount of time afterwards, only not in his birthplace and in relative good health, like Cartier, the bringer of fool's gold, would enjoy...

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