Here is “Auld Lang Syne” by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians:
I wish you the best in the new year.
As a proud descendent of the Czechs, I must pay homage to Good King Wenceslas with his Christmas tune. Here it is by the Irish Rovers:
Note that the good king practices Christian charity on the feast of Saint Stephen. The feast of Stephen is on December 26 in the West but on December 27 in the East. I have no idea why the date differs. So, for you new calendarists, happy feast of Saint Stephen, either yesterday or today!
I wish all you new calendarists a very merry Christmas. Have a blessed feast. Here is the Canon of the Nativity in several languages.
The Polish video maker must not have been able to follow Greek; the read along is off. I have no idea about the Arabic. I am surprised that she starts with English, but I suppose that it is geared toward the generally Anglophone YouTube audience. Nicely done.
Hodie Christus natus est.
For those of you on the new calendar, I wish you a lovely Christmas Eve. Here is some Arabic chant—evidently for the Nativity.
The following Arabic Nativity follows the more familiar (to me, anyway) Byzantine style. It reminds me of Saint John Koukouzelis’ work.
Enjoy the feast, and redeem the time.
Here is Enya (Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin) singing “Veni Emmanuel.”
I read that Enya’s songs sometimes have scores of voice layers of her singing and that she does each take individually. If I understand the process correctly, it seems quite impressive. I had assumed that some sort of digital recording magic created the various layers, but I guess that it only integrates them.
I am always happy to listen to Belle and Sebastian’s new offerings. In October, I bought my copy of Belle and Sebastian Write about Love, and I have listened to it dozens (upon dozens) of times so far. I immediately appreciated “I Didn’t See It Coming” and “I Want the World to Stop,” but I only casually liked the others songs. However, I have found that the songs are good “growers,” and now I really like the new tunes, even the ones for which I did not much care at first, like “Come on Sister,” “Calculating Bimbo,” and “Sunday’s Pretty Icons.” “The Ghost of Rock School” is wonderful; I love the imagery in the lyrics. “Read the Blessed Pages” is heartrending.
There have been many fine reviews of the album. Although I disagree with pop critic Brad Bain’s comments about God Help the Girl, he opines the following concerning the new album:
And they really are an ensemble, even now, after a nearly five-year break since The Life Pursuit. Playing as a group has always been one of their strengths; for a band that has an instantly recognizable sound (the first 12 seconds of “I Can See Your Future” or “Write About Love” might as well be someone yelling “THIS RIGHT HERE IS A SONG BY BELLE AND SEBASTIAN”), they have no particularly distinctive instrumentalists, just a finely developed sense of how to support each other’s timbres and rhythms.
I laughed (yes, out loud) when I read that, and his point is very astute. Bain also remarks how the album grows on you—a common review theme for the album. Here is “I Can See Your Future” and those heralding first twelve seconds:
Sarah Martin is cool.
My father recently sent me a Kipling poem, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.” I found the fact curious until I discovered that Glenn Beck has popularized the poem in the past year. Beck is an odd ball—he converted to Mormonism, after all—but I am glad that he seems to be successful in renewing Americans’ interest in the great treasure of the recent West. If only we could get another talking head to get Americans to read Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Cicero, Seneca, and other worthy ancients. It could happen. Who knows? Even some evangelicals are beginning to read Ignatius, Irenaeus, Augustine, and the fathers. Are we entering into another age of ressourcement?
As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
The Indian born Joseph Rudyard Kipling is among the many men who justify the existence of the English nation. Since the Romans, what other people have adjusted so well to every corner of the world that they inhabited? Other men may colonize ghettos, rob savage natives, and mark their limited niches, but the English people create new worlds that are proper civilizational progeny. How unfortunate it is to see the children of Alfred the Great squander their inheritance.