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TitleWADDELL_Epithalamica. an Easter Sequence by Peter Abelard
TagsStress (Linguistics) Mary Magdalene Poetry Easter Mary Mother Of Jesus
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Total Pages34
Table of Contents
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	p. 241
	p. 242
	p. 243
	p. 244
	p. 245
	p. 246
	p. 247
	p. 248
	p. 249
	p. 250
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		Front Matter
		Is Gerald of Wales a Credible Musical Witness? [pp.  155 - 169]
		Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Lettre d'un symphoniste de l'académie royale de musique, à ses camarades dans l'orchestre" [pp.  170 - 179]
		The Notation and Performance of New Music [pp.  180 - 201]
		Lecture on Dada by Stefan Wolpe [pp.  202 - 215]
		John Cage and Richard Kostelanetz: A Conversation about Radio [pp.  216 - 227]
		Finale Marked Presto: The Killing of Leclair [pp.  228 - 238]
		"Epithalamica": An Easter Sequence by Peter Abelard [pp.  239 - 271]
			untitled [pp.  272 - 282]
			untitled [pp.  282 - 286]
			untitled [pp.  286 - 291]
			untitled [pp.  291 - 293]
		Quarterly Book List [pp.  294 - 298]
		Back Matter [pp.  299 - 299]
                        
Document Text Contents
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Page 2

Epithalamica:
An Easter Sequence by Peter Abelard

FATHER CHRYSOGONUS WADDELL

BY the time the district agents of Nogent-sur-Seine finally auctioned off,
in late summer of 1795, the library of the recently suppressed Abbey of
the Paraclete, the books they had to offer were relatively few-a mere
173 volumes-and unimportant: Madame Charlotte de Roucy, last of the
long line of Paraclete abbesses, had realized that the Revolutionary whirl-
wind sweeping away the other monastic establishments of France would
make no exception even for the abbey founded by the star-crossed lovers
Abelard and Heloise. She had had the foresight to parcel out to select
friends and retainers of the doomed community its more valuable books
and manuscripts.' Among Madame de Roucy's beneficiaries was a certain
Monsieur Colin (or Collin). His literary tastes did not extend, apparently,
to books of piety and equally tedious subjects, because, for the better
part of a quarter of a century, the Paraclete books and manuscripts lay
stashed away in his attic. Around 1817 one of the Colin sons struck a
bargin with the Biblioth~que Royale (now the Biblioth6que Nationale):
in return for one of the eighteen-volume sets of Rousseau stocked at the
Parisian library for such purposes of exchange, Colin fils would agree to
part with one of the Paraclete manuscripts written, it was said and believed,
by the hand of Abelard himself.

It was a shabby looking manuscript, and the contents of the diminutive
volume were as uninteresting as its scruffy pigskin binding: some kind
of liturgical directory with a few other odds and ends at the beginning
and end.2 The text, in a decent enough Parisian hand of the late thirteenth

The author is grateful to Prof. Peter Dronke of Cambridge University and to Prof. Calvin Bower of
Notre Dame University for their helpful insights and encouragement.

1 For all details concerning the dispersion of the Paraclete library and manuscripts, see C. J.
Mews, "La bibliotheque du Paraclet du XIIIe siecle a la Revolution," Studia monastica, XXVII (1985),
31-60.

2 The manuscript from f. 29r onwards has been edited by C. Waddell, The Old French Paraclete
Ordinary, Cistercian Liturgy Series 4 (Trappist, Ky., 1983), with a schematic analysis of the contents,
pp. xiv-xv of the companion volume, n. 3 in the same series, The Old French Paraclete Ordinary and
the Paraclete Breviary: Introduction and Commentary (Trappist, Ky., 1985).

239

Epithalamica:
An Easter Sequence by Peter Abelard

FATHER CHRYSOGONUS WADDELL

BY the time the district agents of Nogent-sur-Seine finally auctioned off,
in late summer of 1795, the library of the recently suppressed Abbey of
the Paraclete, the books they had to offer were relatively few-a mere
173 volumes-and unimportant: Madame Charlotte de Roucy, last of the
long line of Paraclete abbesses, had realized that the Revolutionary whirl-
wind sweeping away the other monastic establishments of France would
make no exception even for the abbey founded by the star-crossed lovers
Abelard and Heloise. She had had the foresight to parcel out to select
friends and retainers of the doomed community its more valuable books
and manuscripts.' Among Madame de Roucy's beneficiaries was a certain
Monsieur Colin (or Collin). His literary tastes did not extend, apparently,
to books of piety and equally tedious subjects, because, for the better
part of a quarter of a century, the Paraclete books and manuscripts lay
stashed away in his attic. Around 1817 one of the Colin sons struck a
bargin with the Biblioth~que Royale (now the Biblioth6que Nationale):
in return for one of the eighteen-volume sets of Rousseau stocked at the
Parisian library for such purposes of exchange, Colin fils would agree to
part with one of the Paraclete manuscripts written, it was said and believed,
by the hand of Abelard himself.

It was a shabby looking manuscript, and the contents of the diminutive
volume were as uninteresting as its scruffy pigskin binding: some kind
of liturgical directory with a few other odds and ends at the beginning
and end.2 The text, in a decent enough Parisian hand of the late thirteenth

The author is grateful to Prof. Peter Dronke of Cambridge University and to Prof. Calvin Bower of
Notre Dame University for their helpful insights and encouragement.

1 For all details concerning the dispersion of the Paraclete library and manuscripts, see C. J.
Mews, "La bibliotheque du Paraclet du XIIIe siecle a la Revolution," Studia monastica, XXVII (1985),
31-60.

2 The manuscript from f. 29r onwards has been edited by C. Waddell, The Old French Paraclete
Ordinary, Cistercian Liturgy Series 4 (Trappist, Ky., 1983), with a schematic analysis of the contents,
pp. xiv-xv of the companion volume, n. 3 in the same series, The Old French Paraclete Ordinary and
the Paraclete Breviary: Introduction and Commentary (Trappist, Ky., 1985).

239

Epithalamica:
An Easter Sequence by Peter Abelard

FATHER CHRYSOGONUS WADDELL

BY the time the district agents of Nogent-sur-Seine finally auctioned off,
in late summer of 1795, the library of the recently suppressed Abbey of
the Paraclete, the books they had to offer were relatively few-a mere
173 volumes-and unimportant: Madame Charlotte de Roucy, last of the
long line of Paraclete abbesses, had realized that the Revolutionary whirl-
wind sweeping away the other monastic establishments of France would
make no exception even for the abbey founded by the star-crossed lovers
Abelard and Heloise. She had had the foresight to parcel out to select
friends and retainers of the doomed community its more valuable books
and manuscripts.' Among Madame de Roucy's beneficiaries was a certain
Monsieur Colin (or Collin). His literary tastes did not extend, apparently,
to books of piety and equally tedious subjects, because, for the better
part of a quarter of a century, the Paraclete books and manuscripts lay
stashed away in his attic. Around 1817 one of the Colin sons struck a
bargin with the Biblioth~que Royale (now the Biblioth6que Nationale):
in return for one of the eighteen-volume sets of Rousseau stocked at the
Parisian library for such purposes of exchange, Colin fils would agree to
part with one of the Paraclete manuscripts written, it was said and believed,
by the hand of Abelard himself.

It was a shabby looking manuscript, and the contents of the diminutive
volume were as uninteresting as its scruffy pigskin binding: some kind
of liturgical directory with a few other odds and ends at the beginning
and end.2 The text, in a decent enough Parisian hand of the late thirteenth

The author is grateful to Prof. Peter Dronke of Cambridge University and to Prof. Calvin Bower of
Notre Dame University for their helpful insights and encouragement.

1 For all details concerning the dispersion of the Paraclete library and manuscripts, see C. J.
Mews, "La bibliotheque du Paraclet du XIIIe siecle a la Revolution," Studia monastica, XXVII (1985),
31-60.

2 The manuscript from f. 29r onwards has been edited by C. Waddell, The Old French Paraclete
Ordinary, Cistercian Liturgy Series 4 (Trappist, Ky., 1983), with a schematic analysis of the contents,
pp. xiv-xv of the companion volume, n. 3 in the same series, The Old French Paraclete Ordinary and
the Paraclete Breviary: Introduction and Commentary (Trappist, Ky., 1985).

239

Epithalamica:
An Easter Sequence by Peter Abelard

FATHER CHRYSOGONUS WADDELL

BY the time the district agents of Nogent-sur-Seine finally auctioned off,
in late summer of 1795, the library of the recently suppressed Abbey of
the Paraclete, the books they had to offer were relatively few-a mere
173 volumes-and unimportant: Madame Charlotte de Roucy, last of the
long line of Paraclete abbesses, had realized that the Revolutionary whirl-
wind sweeping away the other monastic establishments of France would
make no exception even for the abbey founded by the star-crossed lovers
Abelard and Heloise. She had had the foresight to parcel out to select
friends and retainers of the doomed community its more valuable books
and manuscripts.' Among Madame de Roucy's beneficiaries was a certain
Monsieur Colin (or Collin). His literary tastes did not extend, apparently,
to books of piety and equally tedious subjects, because, for the better
part of a quarter of a century, the Paraclete books and manuscripts lay
stashed away in his attic. Around 1817 one of the Colin sons struck a
bargin with the Biblioth~que Royale (now the Biblioth6que Nationale):
in return for one of the eighteen-volume sets of Rousseau stocked at the
Parisian library for such purposes of exchange, Colin fils would agree to
part with one of the Paraclete manuscripts written, it was said and believed,
by the hand of Abelard himself.

It was a shabby looking manuscript, and the contents of the diminutive
volume were as uninteresting as its scruffy pigskin binding: some kind
of liturgical directory with a few other odds and ends at the beginning
and end.2 The text, in a decent enough Parisian hand of the late thirteenth

The author is grateful to Prof. Peter Dronke of Cambridge University and to Prof. Calvin Bower of
Notre Dame University for their helpful insights and encouragement.

1 For all details concerning the dispersion of the Paraclete library and manuscripts, see C. J.
Mews, "La bibliotheque du Paraclet du XIIIe siecle a la Revolution," Studia monastica, XXVII (1985),
31-60.

2 The manuscript from f. 29r onwards has been edited by C. Waddell, The Old French Paraclete
Ordinary, Cistercian Liturgy Series 4 (Trappist, Ky., 1983), with a schematic analysis of the contents,
pp. xiv-xv of the companion volume, n. 3 in the same series, The Old French Paraclete Ordinary and
the Paraclete Breviary: Introduction and Commentary (Trappist, Ky., 1985).

239

Page 17

The Musical Quarterly The Musical Quarterly The Musical Quarterly The Musical Quarterly

Introduction, Stanza 1, text: The very first word, Epithalamica, by its
position and by reason of its novelty provides the context. Abelard seems
to have been among the first, if not the first, to use this adjective derived
from epithalamium, "bridal hymn." "Bridal hymn" would straightway
remind the Paraclete nuns of the Song of Songs which patristic tradition
had long termed the "bridal song" par excellence: the bridal song that
celebrated the love of God for his People, of Christ for his Church, of
the Word for the individual believer. The transition from one level of inter-
pretation to another was unproblematic: what seems at first-and probably
is-a markedly personalistic presentation of the Easter mystery directed
chiefly to the individual was not necessarily closed to a broader ecclesial
dimension. But more especially, it was Abelard's contributions to the
Paraclete liturgy that made the opening stanza immediately intelligible
to Heloise and her sisters. Every nun would have chanted at Lauds, just
a few hours earlier, Abelard's paschal hymn Da Mariae tympanum,27 and
frequent public readings of Abelard's Easter sermon28 would have familiar-
ized them with the terms of reference for this introductory stanza, namely,
Miriam's canticle in celebration of the Hebrews' miraculous passage through
the Red Sea-a major theme of the traditional Paschal Vigil celebration.
Miriam, whose Latin name is Maria, is, says Abelard, both virgin (no mention
is made in Holy Writ of her having a husband) and prophetess, one who sees.
And when Miriam-Mary sings her canticle, leading her women companions
in song and dance, she tells of her inward vision, a revelation that points
not only to this passage through the death-dealing waters of the Red Sea,
but to the future liberation of God's People through the sacrament of
baptism.29 This, then, provides the context for line 2, "Tell outwardly
the joys you gaze upon within," for the Bride is, like Mary-Miriam, a pro-
phetess. But Abelard immediately moves on to yet another Mary and to
another group of women companions: Mary Magdalene and the holy women
who were the first to see the risen Lord and to proclaim his resurrection
to the apostles. Mary Magdaline is, indeed, apostle to the apostles, apo-
stolorum apostola,30 whose mission is to proclaim the joy of the
resurrection. Here phrase after phrase of the sermon parallels lines 2 and 3
of the sequence: ut eis (apostolis) resurrectionis gaudium nuntiaret, Maria
illa caeteris in cantico praecinebat, et haec ante alias, gaudio resurrectionis
primo est potita; et haec prima nuntiando praecinit quod prima viderat.
Post ipsam vero, ad caeteras feminas hoc gaudium resurrectionis priusquam

27 AH 48, p. 179 (Hymn 169/59); HP, p. 129 (Hymn 59); CLS 5, p. 141.
28 Sermo 13, In diePaschae;PL 178:484 B-489 A.
29 Ibid., col. 484 C-D: Quid enim prophetes, nisi videns interpretatur? Cum visionem autem,

id est revelationem cantat, cui verborum quoque mysteria Dominus revelat...
30 Ibid., col. 485 B.

Introduction, Stanza 1, text: The very first word, Epithalamica, by its
position and by reason of its novelty provides the context. Abelard seems
to have been among the first, if not the first, to use this adjective derived
from epithalamium, "bridal hymn." "Bridal hymn" would straightway
remind the Paraclete nuns of the Song of Songs which patristic tradition
had long termed the "bridal song" par excellence: the bridal song that
celebrated the love of God for his People, of Christ for his Church, of
the Word for the individual believer. The transition from one level of inter-
pretation to another was unproblematic: what seems at first-and probably
is-a markedly personalistic presentation of the Easter mystery directed
chiefly to the individual was not necessarily closed to a broader ecclesial
dimension. But more especially, it was Abelard's contributions to the
Paraclete liturgy that made the opening stanza immediately intelligible
to Heloise and her sisters. Every nun would have chanted at Lauds, just
a few hours earlier, Abelard's paschal hymn Da Mariae tympanum,27 and
frequent public readings of Abelard's Easter sermon28 would have familiar-
ized them with the terms of reference for this introductory stanza, namely,
Miriam's canticle in celebration of the Hebrews' miraculous passage through
the Red Sea-a major theme of the traditional Paschal Vigil celebration.
Miriam, whose Latin name is Maria, is, says Abelard, both virgin (no mention
is made in Holy Writ of her having a husband) and prophetess, one who sees.
And when Miriam-Mary sings her canticle, leading her women companions
in song and dance, she tells of her inward vision, a revelation that points
not only to this passage through the death-dealing waters of the Red Sea,
but to the future liberation of God's People through the sacrament of
baptism.29 This, then, provides the context for line 2, "Tell outwardly
the joys you gaze upon within," for the Bride is, like Mary-Miriam, a pro-
phetess. But Abelard immediately moves on to yet another Mary and to
another group of women companions: Mary Magdalene and the holy women
who were the first to see the risen Lord and to proclaim his resurrection
to the apostles. Mary Magdaline is, indeed, apostle to the apostles, apo-
stolorum apostola,30 whose mission is to proclaim the joy of the
resurrection. Here phrase after phrase of the sermon parallels lines 2 and 3
of the sequence: ut eis (apostolis) resurrectionis gaudium nuntiaret, Maria
illa caeteris in cantico praecinebat, et haec ante alias, gaudio resurrectionis
primo est potita; et haec prima nuntiando praecinit quod prima viderat.
Post ipsam vero, ad caeteras feminas hoc gaudium resurrectionis priusquam

27 AH 48, p. 179 (Hymn 169/59); HP, p. 129 (Hymn 59); CLS 5, p. 141.
28 Sermo 13, In diePaschae;PL 178:484 B-489 A.
29 Ibid., col. 484 C-D: Quid enim prophetes, nisi videns interpretatur? Cum visionem autem,

id est revelationem cantat, cui verborum quoque mysteria Dominus revelat...
30 Ibid., col. 485 B.

Introduction, Stanza 1, text: The very first word, Epithalamica, by its
position and by reason of its novelty provides the context. Abelard seems
to have been among the first, if not the first, to use this adjective derived
from epithalamium, "bridal hymn." "Bridal hymn" would straightway
remind the Paraclete nuns of the Song of Songs which patristic tradition
had long termed the "bridal song" par excellence: the bridal song that
celebrated the love of God for his People, of Christ for his Church, of
the Word for the individual believer. The transition from one level of inter-
pretation to another was unproblematic: what seems at first-and probably
is-a markedly personalistic presentation of the Easter mystery directed
chiefly to the individual was not necessarily closed to a broader ecclesial
dimension. But more especially, it was Abelard's contributions to the
Paraclete liturgy that made the opening stanza immediately intelligible
to Heloise and her sisters. Every nun would have chanted at Lauds, just
a few hours earlier, Abelard's paschal hymn Da Mariae tympanum,27 and
frequent public readings of Abelard's Easter sermon28 would have familiar-
ized them with the terms of reference for this introductory stanza, namely,
Miriam's canticle in celebration of the Hebrews' miraculous passage through
the Red Sea-a major theme of the traditional Paschal Vigil celebration.
Miriam, whose Latin name is Maria, is, says Abelard, both virgin (no mention
is made in Holy Writ of her having a husband) and prophetess, one who sees.
And when Miriam-Mary sings her canticle, leading her women companions
in song and dance, she tells of her inward vision, a revelation that points
not only to this passage through the death-dealing waters of the Red Sea,
but to the future liberation of God's People through the sacrament of
baptism.29 This, then, provides the context for line 2, "Tell outwardly
the joys you gaze upon within," for the Bride is, like Mary-Miriam, a pro-
phetess. But Abelard immediately moves on to yet another Mary and to
another group of women companions: Mary Magdalene and the holy women
who were the first to see the risen Lord and to proclaim his resurrection
to the apostles. Mary Magdaline is, indeed, apostle to the apostles, apo-
stolorum apostola,30 whose mission is to proclaim the joy of the
resurrection. Here phrase after phrase of the sermon parallels lines 2 and 3
of the sequence: ut eis (apostolis) resurrectionis gaudium nuntiaret, Maria
illa caeteris in cantico praecinebat, et haec ante alias, gaudio resurrectionis
primo est potita; et haec prima nuntiando praecinit quod prima viderat.
Post ipsam vero, ad caeteras feminas hoc gaudium resurrectionis priusquam

27 AH 48, p. 179 (Hymn 169/59); HP, p. 129 (Hymn 59); CLS 5, p. 141.
28 Sermo 13, In diePaschae;PL 178:484 B-489 A.
29 Ibid., col. 484 C-D: Quid enim prophetes, nisi videns interpretatur? Cum visionem autem,

id est revelationem cantat, cui verborum quoque mysteria Dominus revelat...
30 Ibid., col. 485 B.

Introduction, Stanza 1, text: The very first word, Epithalamica, by its
position and by reason of its novelty provides the context. Abelard seems
to have been among the first, if not the first, to use this adjective derived
from epithalamium, "bridal hymn." "Bridal hymn" would straightway
remind the Paraclete nuns of the Song of Songs which patristic tradition
had long termed the "bridal song" par excellence: the bridal song that
celebrated the love of God for his People, of Christ for his Church, of
the Word for the individual believer. The transition from one level of inter-
pretation to another was unproblematic: what seems at first-and probably
is-a markedly personalistic presentation of the Easter mystery directed
chiefly to the individual was not necessarily closed to a broader ecclesial
dimension. But more especially, it was Abelard's contributions to the
Paraclete liturgy that made the opening stanza immediately intelligible
to Heloise and her sisters. Every nun would have chanted at Lauds, just
a few hours earlier, Abelard's paschal hymn Da Mariae tympanum,27 and
frequent public readings of Abelard's Easter sermon28 would have familiar-
ized them with the terms of reference for this introductory stanza, namely,
Miriam's canticle in celebration of the Hebrews' miraculous passage through
the Red Sea-a major theme of the traditional Paschal Vigil celebration.
Miriam, whose Latin name is Maria, is, says Abelard, both virgin (no mention
is made in Holy Writ of her having a husband) and prophetess, one who sees.
And when Miriam-Mary sings her canticle, leading her women companions
in song and dance, she tells of her inward vision, a revelation that points
not only to this passage through the death-dealing waters of the Red Sea,
but to the future liberation of God's People through the sacrament of
baptism.29 This, then, provides the context for line 2, "Tell outwardly
the joys you gaze upon within," for the Bride is, like Mary-Miriam, a pro-
phetess. But Abelard immediately moves on to yet another Mary and to
another group of women companions: Mary Magdalene and the holy women
who were the first to see the risen Lord and to proclaim his resurrection
to the apostles. Mary Magdaline is, indeed, apostle to the apostles, apo-
stolorum apostola,30 whose mission is to proclaim the joy of the
resurrection. Here phrase after phrase of the sermon parallels lines 2 and 3
of the sequence: ut eis (apostolis) resurrectionis gaudium nuntiaret, Maria
illa caeteris in cantico praecinebat, et haec ante alias, gaudio resurrectionis
primo est potita; et haec prima nuntiando praecinit quod prima viderat.
Post ipsam vero, ad caeteras feminas hoc gaudium resurrectionis priusquam

27 AH 48, p. 179 (Hymn 169/59); HP, p. 129 (Hymn 59); CLS 5, p. 141.
28 Sermo 13, In diePaschae;PL 178:484 B-489 A.
29 Ibid., col. 484 C-D: Quid enim prophetes, nisi videns interpretatur? Cum visionem autem,

id est revelationem cantat, cui verborum quoque mysteria Dominus revelat...
30 Ibid., col. 485 B.

254 254 254 254

Page 18

Epithalamica Epithalamica Epithalamica Epithalamica

ad apostolos vel quoslibet viros pervenit.3l Note the verb twice used here,
praecinebat/praecinit, for it will occur in a contextually important phrase in
the next strophe.

The introductory stanza consists of four twelve-syllable lines in half-
rhyme (a-a-a-a); only the final syllables of the lines rhyme, in contrast
to stressed rhyme, in which both accent and final syllable (as well as in-
tervening syllable in proparoxytones) are rhymed. Half-rhyme is one of
the hallmarks of Abelard's sequences, and a rather distinctive feature,
considering the development of the sequence form in the twelfth century.
Indeed, the virtually exclusive use of half-rhyme in Abelard's planctus
is unusual enough for Peter Dronke to refer to it as being, at this late period,
"an archaizing technique";32 this specialist in medieval poetry adds that
"sequences in which stressed rhymes are non-existent or rare are on the
whole more likely to be datable before rather than after 1100."33 Abelard's
hymns, his six planctus, and the two other sequences in the Nevers prosary
tentatively ascribed to him are all written in "old-fashioned" half-rhymes.
We may infer, then, that the presence or absence of this form of rhyme
will be a useful criterion for establishing (or challenging) Abelard's author-
ship of a given poetic text.

Stanza 1, melody: A single melodic phrase is repeated four times in succes-
sion. This repetition is possible in the present instance because the melody
is so perfectly crafted (we shall find the same phenomenon in the next
stanza, and in stanzas 7, 8, and 9). This technique of fourfold repetition
in direct succession occurs also in other melodies tentatively ascribable
to Abelard-though any discussion of his technique of melodic repetition
within the same strophe will have to await the publication of the other
sequences. But, on the basis of preliminary research, it would seem that
this kind of extended repetition, so untypical of the twelfth-century
sequence, is as distinctive a feature of Abelard's musical style as is half-
rhyming for his poetry.

From beginning to end this prolix sequence remains within the first
mode, with a range limited to C-d. Unlike the lament for Jonathan and
Saul and the other two sequences, this one begins in the middle rather
than the lower range, perhaps because of the exclamatory nature of the
opening lines. But like the other pieces, this one eschews the one-note-
per-syllable type of writing so characteristic of so many twelfth-century
sequences. Two- and three-note neumes in combination with single notes,

31 Ibid.
32 In "Virgines caste," Lateinische Dichtungen des X. und XI. Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg, 1981),

p. 97.
33 Ibid., pp. 97-98.

ad apostolos vel quoslibet viros pervenit.3l Note the verb twice used here,
praecinebat/praecinit, for it will occur in a contextually important phrase in
the next strophe.

The introductory stanza consists of four twelve-syllable lines in half-
rhyme (a-a-a-a); only the final syllables of the lines rhyme, in contrast
to stressed rhyme, in which both accent and final syllable (as well as in-
tervening syllable in proparoxytones) are rhymed. Half-rhyme is one of
the hallmarks of Abelard's sequences, and a rather distinctive feature,
considering the development of the sequence form in the twelfth century.
Indeed, the virtually exclusive use of half-rhyme in Abelard's planctus
is unusual enough for Peter Dronke to refer to it as being, at this late period,
"an archaizing technique";32 this specialist in medieval poetry adds that
"sequences in which stressed rhymes are non-existent or rare are on the
whole more likely to be datable before rather than after 1100."33 Abelard's
hymns, his six planctus, and the two other sequences in the Nevers prosary
tentatively ascribed to him are all written in "old-fashioned" half-rhymes.
We may infer, then, that the presence or absence of this form of rhyme
will be a useful criterion for establishing (or challenging) Abelard's author-
ship of a given poetic text.

Stanza 1, melody: A single melodic phrase is repeated four times in succes-
sion. This repetition is possible in the present instance because the melody
is so perfectly crafted (we shall find the same phenomenon in the next
stanza, and in stanzas 7, 8, and 9). This technique of fourfold repetition
in direct succession occurs also in other melodies tentatively ascribable
to Abelard-though any discussion of his technique of melodic repetition
within the same strophe will have to await the publication of the other
sequences. But, on the basis of preliminary research, it would seem that
this kind of extended repetition, so untypical of the twelfth-century
sequence, is as distinctive a feature of Abelard's musical style as is half-
rhyming for his poetry.

From beginning to end this prolix sequence remains within the first
mode, with a range limited to C-d. Unlike the lament for Jonathan and
Saul and the other two sequences, this one begins in the middle rather
than the lower range, perhaps because of the exclamatory nature of the
opening lines. But like the other pieces, this one eschews the one-note-
per-syllable type of writing so characteristic of so many twelfth-century
sequences. Two- and three-note neumes in combination with single notes,

31 Ibid.
32 In "Virgines caste," Lateinische Dichtungen des X. und XI. Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg, 1981),

p. 97.
33 Ibid., pp. 97-98.

ad apostolos vel quoslibet viros pervenit.3l Note the verb twice used here,
praecinebat/praecinit, for it will occur in a contextually important phrase in
the next strophe.

The introductory stanza consists of four twelve-syllable lines in half-
rhyme (a-a-a-a); only the final syllables of the lines rhyme, in contrast
to stressed rhyme, in which both accent and final syllable (as well as in-
tervening syllable in proparoxytones) are rhymed. Half-rhyme is one of
the hallmarks of Abelard's sequences, and a rather distinctive feature,
considering the development of the sequence form in the twelfth century.
Indeed, the virtually exclusive use of half-rhyme in Abelard's planctus
is unusual enough for Peter Dronke to refer to it as being, at this late period,
"an archaizing technique";32 this specialist in medieval poetry adds that
"sequences in which stressed rhymes are non-existent or rare are on the
whole more likely to be datable before rather than after 1100."33 Abelard's
hymns, his six planctus, and the two other sequences in the Nevers prosary
tentatively ascribed to him are all written in "old-fashioned" half-rhymes.
We may infer, then, that the presence or absence of this form of rhyme
will be a useful criterion for establishing (or challenging) Abelard's author-
ship of a given poetic text.

Stanza 1, melody: A single melodic phrase is repeated four times in succes-
sion. This repetition is possible in the present instance because the melody
is so perfectly crafted (we shall find the same phenomenon in the next
stanza, and in stanzas 7, 8, and 9). This technique of fourfold repetition
in direct succession occurs also in other melodies tentatively ascribable
to Abelard-though any discussion of his technique of melodic repetition
within the same strophe will have to await the publication of the other
sequences. But, on the basis of preliminary research, it would seem that
this kind of extended repetition, so untypical of the twelfth-century
sequence, is as distinctive a feature of Abelard's musical style as is half-
rhyming for his poetry.

From beginning to end this prolix sequence remains within the first
mode, with a range limited to C-d. Unlike the lament for Jonathan and
Saul and the other two sequences, this one begins in the middle rather
than the lower range, perhaps because of the exclamatory nature of the
opening lines. But like the other pieces, this one eschews the one-note-
per-syllable type of writing so characteristic of so many twelfth-century
sequences. Two- and three-note neumes in combination with single notes,

31 Ibid.
32 In "Virgines caste," Lateinische Dichtungen des X. und XI. Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg, 1981),

p. 97.
33 Ibid., pp. 97-98.

ad apostolos vel quoslibet viros pervenit.3l Note the verb twice used here,
praecinebat/praecinit, for it will occur in a contextually important phrase in
the next strophe.

The introductory stanza consists of four twelve-syllable lines in half-
rhyme (a-a-a-a); only the final syllables of the lines rhyme, in contrast
to stressed rhyme, in which both accent and final syllable (as well as in-
tervening syllable in proparoxytones) are rhymed. Half-rhyme is one of
the hallmarks of Abelard's sequences, and a rather distinctive feature,
considering the development of the sequence form in the twelfth century.
Indeed, the virtually exclusive use of half-rhyme in Abelard's planctus
is unusual enough for Peter Dronke to refer to it as being, at this late period,
"an archaizing technique";32 this specialist in medieval poetry adds that
"sequences in which stressed rhymes are non-existent or rare are on the
whole more likely to be datable before rather than after 1100."33 Abelard's
hymns, his six planctus, and the two other sequences in the Nevers prosary
tentatively ascribed to him are all written in "old-fashioned" half-rhymes.
We may infer, then, that the presence or absence of this form of rhyme
will be a useful criterion for establishing (or challenging) Abelard's author-
ship of a given poetic text.

Stanza 1, melody: A single melodic phrase is repeated four times in succes-
sion. This repetition is possible in the present instance because the melody
is so perfectly crafted (we shall find the same phenomenon in the next
stanza, and in stanzas 7, 8, and 9). This technique of fourfold repetition
in direct succession occurs also in other melodies tentatively ascribable
to Abelard-though any discussion of his technique of melodic repetition
within the same strophe will have to await the publication of the other
sequences. But, on the basis of preliminary research, it would seem that
this kind of extended repetition, so untypical of the twelfth-century
sequence, is as distinctive a feature of Abelard's musical style as is half-
rhyming for his poetry.

From beginning to end this prolix sequence remains within the first
mode, with a range limited to C-d. Unlike the lament for Jonathan and
Saul and the other two sequences, this one begins in the middle rather
than the lower range, perhaps because of the exclamatory nature of the
opening lines. But like the other pieces, this one eschews the one-note-
per-syllable type of writing so characteristic of so many twelfth-century
sequences. Two- and three-note neumes in combination with single notes,

31 Ibid.
32 In "Virgines caste," Lateinische Dichtungen des X. und XI. Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg, 1981),

p. 97.
33 Ibid., pp. 97-98.

255 255 255 255

Page 33

The Musical Quarterly The Musical Quarterly The Musical Quarterly The Musical Quarterly

This is, however, only an approximation of the far superior Nevers reading,
and while some stanzas of PUY are closer to NEV, others are not. All we
can ask of PUY, then, is that it give us, after the due transposition has
been made, a general idea of what the music for the original finale may
have once been. To further complicate the matter, the scribe has omitted
the word dies and its corresponding notes in two of the three refrains (where
the restoration is given in brackets), and the pattern of verse-refrain is
broken in two out of twelve instances. In our transcription, only one note
(indicated by an asterisk *) has been altered: F for the E of the manuscript.

Despite this unsatisfactory source material, perhaps we are not too
far from the original melody. Even as it stands, the Le Puy version of the
finale presents several features concordant with the earlier sections of the
sequence. First of all, we should expect to find four stanzas with a fairly
ample musical treatment; otherwise it would be difficult to excerpt them
to be sung alone as the sequence for Thursday and Saturday of Easter
Week, as was done at the Paraclete in the late thirteenth century. And
second, we should expect that the finale fit in with the modal structure
of the whole composition, and this it does, for it mirrors, in a sense, the
beginning. Only stanza 1 and the finale begin assertively in the Bl hexachord
before modulating through the half step E-F into the natural hexachord.
Elsewhere, the melodies remain well within the natural hexachord, though
with an occasional and extremely effective use of the non-hexachordal Bt.
Indeed, Abelard likes to bring F and B into close melodic relationship,
and this seems to be characteristic of his melodic lines. It is curious, too,
that of the three long sequences, his planctus and his hymn, not one includes
a Bb.70 We should also expect to find an overall balance achieved through
the harmonious juxtaposition of contrasting yet complementary formulas.
This is certainly admirably realized in the case of the triple-refrain formu-
lary: the first begins on the upper d before sweeping down in a cascade
of sound to the final D; the second begins and remains on the dominant a;
and the third hovers in single notes, at the end of all this markedly neumed
melodic activity, barely above the final D. Unlike the first refrain, which
passes through two hexachords, and the second one, which has as its top
and bottom pitches the tritone B-F, the third refrain is content to remain
unambiguously in the natural hexachord. And this third refrain also provides
an element that makes both for variety and for unity, and helps bring
together all this diversified material into a single whole: the motive F D E D.
We have met with it in a contextually important section, the two refrains

70 It could be argued that the scribes have simply failed to indicate the flat sign; but attempts
to introduce the B flat at any place in these melodies lead more often than not to musical aberrancies
unworthy of even a less gifted composer. Moreover, the scribe of NEV elsewhere employs B flat
according to the musical context.

This is, however, only an approximation of the far superior Nevers reading,
and while some stanzas of PUY are closer to NEV, others are not. All we
can ask of PUY, then, is that it give us, after the due transposition has
been made, a general idea of what the music for the original finale may
have once been. To further complicate the matter, the scribe has omitted
the word dies and its corresponding notes in two of the three refrains (where
the restoration is given in brackets), and the pattern of verse-refrain is
broken in two out of twelve instances. In our transcription, only one note
(indicated by an asterisk *) has been altered: F for the E of the manuscript.

Despite this unsatisfactory source material, perhaps we are not too
far from the original melody. Even as it stands, the Le Puy version of the
finale presents several features concordant with the earlier sections of the
sequence. First of all, we should expect to find four stanzas with a fairly
ample musical treatment; otherwise it would be difficult to excerpt them
to be sung alone as the sequence for Thursday and Saturday of Easter
Week, as was done at the Paraclete in the late thirteenth century. And
second, we should expect that the finale fit in with the modal structure
of the whole composition, and this it does, for it mirrors, in a sense, the
beginning. Only stanza 1 and the finale begin assertively in the Bl hexachord
before modulating through the half step E-F into the natural hexachord.
Elsewhere, the melodies remain well within the natural hexachord, though
with an occasional and extremely effective use of the non-hexachordal Bt.
Indeed, Abelard likes to bring F and B into close melodic relationship,
and this seems to be characteristic of his melodic lines. It is curious, too,
that of the three long sequences, his planctus and his hymn, not one includes
a Bb.70 We should also expect to find an overall balance achieved through
the harmonious juxtaposition of contrasting yet complementary formulas.
This is certainly admirably realized in the case of the triple-refrain formu-
lary: the first begins on the upper d before sweeping down in a cascade
of sound to the final D; the second begins and remains on the dominant a;
and the third hovers in single notes, at the end of all this markedly neumed
melodic activity, barely above the final D. Unlike the first refrain, which
passes through two hexachords, and the second one, which has as its top
and bottom pitches the tritone B-F, the third refrain is content to remain
unambiguously in the natural hexachord. And this third refrain also provides
an element that makes both for variety and for unity, and helps bring
together all this diversified material into a single whole: the motive F D E D.
We have met with it in a contextually important section, the two refrains

70 It could be argued that the scribes have simply failed to indicate the flat sign; but attempts
to introduce the B flat at any place in these melodies lead more often than not to musical aberrancies
unworthy of even a less gifted composer. Moreover, the scribe of NEV elsewhere employs B flat
according to the musical context.

This is, however, only an approximation of the far superior Nevers reading,
and while some stanzas of PUY are closer to NEV, others are not. All we
can ask of PUY, then, is that it give us, after the due transposition has
been made, a general idea of what the music for the original finale may
have once been. To further complicate the matter, the scribe has omitted
the word dies and its corresponding notes in two of the three refrains (where
the restoration is given in brackets), and the pattern of verse-refrain is
broken in two out of twelve instances. In our transcription, only one note
(indicated by an asterisk *) has been altered: F for the E of the manuscript.

Despite this unsatisfactory source material, perhaps we are not too
far from the original melody. Even as it stands, the Le Puy version of the
finale presents several features concordant with the earlier sections of the
sequence. First of all, we should expect to find four stanzas with a fairly
ample musical treatment; otherwise it would be difficult to excerpt them
to be sung alone as the sequence for Thursday and Saturday of Easter
Week, as was done at the Paraclete in the late thirteenth century. And
second, we should expect that the finale fit in with the modal structure
of the whole composition, and this it does, for it mirrors, in a sense, the
beginning. Only stanza 1 and the finale begin assertively in the Bl hexachord
before modulating through the half step E-F into the natural hexachord.
Elsewhere, the melodies remain well within the natural hexachord, though
with an occasional and extremely effective use of the non-hexachordal Bt.
Indeed, Abelard likes to bring F and B into close melodic relationship,
and this seems to be characteristic of his melodic lines. It is curious, too,
that of the three long sequences, his planctus and his hymn, not one includes
a Bb.70 We should also expect to find an overall balance achieved through
the harmonious juxtaposition of contrasting yet complementary formulas.
This is certainly admirably realized in the case of the triple-refrain formu-
lary: the first begins on the upper d before sweeping down in a cascade
of sound to the final D; the second begins and remains on the dominant a;
and the third hovers in single notes, at the end of all this markedly neumed
melodic activity, barely above the final D. Unlike the first refrain, which
passes through two hexachords, and the second one, which has as its top
and bottom pitches the tritone B-F, the third refrain is content to remain
unambiguously in the natural hexachord. And this third refrain also provides
an element that makes both for variety and for unity, and helps bring
together all this diversified material into a single whole: the motive F D E D.
We have met with it in a contextually important section, the two refrains

70 It could be argued that the scribes have simply failed to indicate the flat sign; but attempts
to introduce the B flat at any place in these melodies lead more often than not to musical aberrancies
unworthy of even a less gifted composer. Moreover, the scribe of NEV elsewhere employs B flat
according to the musical context.

This is, however, only an approximation of the far superior Nevers reading,
and while some stanzas of PUY are closer to NEV, others are not. All we
can ask of PUY, then, is that it give us, after the due transposition has
been made, a general idea of what the music for the original finale may
have once been. To further complicate the matter, the scribe has omitted
the word dies and its corresponding notes in two of the three refrains (where
the restoration is given in brackets), and the pattern of verse-refrain is
broken in two out of twelve instances. In our transcription, only one note
(indicated by an asterisk *) has been altered: F for the E of the manuscript.

Despite this unsatisfactory source material, perhaps we are not too
far from the original melody. Even as it stands, the Le Puy version of the
finale presents several features concordant with the earlier sections of the
sequence. First of all, we should expect to find four stanzas with a fairly
ample musical treatment; otherwise it would be difficult to excerpt them
to be sung alone as the sequence for Thursday and Saturday of Easter
Week, as was done at the Paraclete in the late thirteenth century. And
second, we should expect that the finale fit in with the modal structure
of the whole composition, and this it does, for it mirrors, in a sense, the
beginning. Only stanza 1 and the finale begin assertively in the Bl hexachord
before modulating through the half step E-F into the natural hexachord.
Elsewhere, the melodies remain well within the natural hexachord, though
with an occasional and extremely effective use of the non-hexachordal Bt.
Indeed, Abelard likes to bring F and B into close melodic relationship,
and this seems to be characteristic of his melodic lines. It is curious, too,
that of the three long sequences, his planctus and his hymn, not one includes
a Bb.70 We should also expect to find an overall balance achieved through
the harmonious juxtaposition of contrasting yet complementary formulas.
This is certainly admirably realized in the case of the triple-refrain formu-
lary: the first begins on the upper d before sweeping down in a cascade
of sound to the final D; the second begins and remains on the dominant a;
and the third hovers in single notes, at the end of all this markedly neumed
melodic activity, barely above the final D. Unlike the first refrain, which
passes through two hexachords, and the second one, which has as its top
and bottom pitches the tritone B-F, the third refrain is content to remain
unambiguously in the natural hexachord. And this third refrain also provides
an element that makes both for variety and for unity, and helps bring
together all this diversified material into a single whole: the motive F D E D.
We have met with it in a contextually important section, the two refrains

70 It could be argued that the scribes have simply failed to indicate the flat sign; but attempts
to introduce the B flat at any place in these melodies lead more often than not to musical aberrancies
unworthy of even a less gifted composer. Moreover, the scribe of NEV elsewhere employs B flat
according to the musical context.

270 270 270 270

Page 34

Epithalamica Epithalamica Epithalamica Epithalamica

of the Bride in stanzas 7 and 8. The same notes occur, F-D E D, at the
end of the fourfold repetition of the refrain for line a, stanzas 10-13, and
here as the refrain formula for line c of the same four stanzas, and as the
concluding Amen formula. This four-note pattern composed of the melodic
intervals of a minor third and major second is beautifully prepared for
by the cadences of the stanza lines, which have as their four-note pattern
a half step followed by a minor third: at the upper fifth for line a of stanzas
10-13 and for the coda (c-b-c a), at the lower fifth for line c of stanzas
10-13 (F-E F-D). (The bracketed "dies" of the refrain for phrases b and c
were omitted by the scribe, who seems to presuppose that the same figure
used in phrase a will be repeated here.) All in all, this Le Puy version makes
musical sense in itself and in its relationship with the earlier parts of the
sequence.

Conclusion: Given its place in the Nevers manuscript next to Abelard's
planctus, its themes and vocabulary that merely repeat the themes and
vocabulary of Abelard's hymns and sermons, the generally "classical"
melodic treatment of the words, the typically Abelardian half rhymes,
the variable stanza structure, and the fact that no manuscript of it earlier
than the second half of the twelfth century is known, and, finally, its ob-
viously monastic, "mystical" and markedly personalistic cachet, together
with its presence in the Paraclete liturgical books where it featured as the
principal sequence for Easter and its Octave, may we not reasonably con-
clude that a sequence by Peter Abelard has been recovered deserving of
a place among the highest musical and poetic achievements of the twelfth
century?

of the Bride in stanzas 7 and 8. The same notes occur, F-D E D, at the
end of the fourfold repetition of the refrain for line a, stanzas 10-13, and
here as the refrain formula for line c of the same four stanzas, and as the
concluding Amen formula. This four-note pattern composed of the melodic
intervals of a minor third and major second is beautifully prepared for
by the cadences of the stanza lines, which have as their four-note pattern
a half step followed by a minor third: at the upper fifth for line a of stanzas
10-13 and for the coda (c-b-c a), at the lower fifth for line c of stanzas
10-13 (F-E F-D). (The bracketed "dies" of the refrain for phrases b and c
were omitted by the scribe, who seems to presuppose that the same figure
used in phrase a will be repeated here.) All in all, this Le Puy version makes
musical sense in itself and in its relationship with the earlier parts of the
sequence.

Conclusion: Given its place in the Nevers manuscript next to Abelard's
planctus, its themes and vocabulary that merely repeat the themes and
vocabulary of Abelard's hymns and sermons, the generally "classical"
melodic treatment of the words, the typically Abelardian half rhymes,
the variable stanza structure, and the fact that no manuscript of it earlier
than the second half of the twelfth century is known, and, finally, its ob-
viously monastic, "mystical" and markedly personalistic cachet, together
with its presence in the Paraclete liturgical books where it featured as the
principal sequence for Easter and its Octave, may we not reasonably con-
clude that a sequence by Peter Abelard has been recovered deserving of
a place among the highest musical and poetic achievements of the twelfth
century?

of the Bride in stanzas 7 and 8. The same notes occur, F-D E D, at the
end of the fourfold repetition of the refrain for line a, stanzas 10-13, and
here as the refrain formula for line c of the same four stanzas, and as the
concluding Amen formula. This four-note pattern composed of the melodic
intervals of a minor third and major second is beautifully prepared for
by the cadences of the stanza lines, which have as their four-note pattern
a half step followed by a minor third: at the upper fifth for line a of stanzas
10-13 and for the coda (c-b-c a), at the lower fifth for line c of stanzas
10-13 (F-E F-D). (The bracketed "dies" of the refrain for phrases b and c
were omitted by the scribe, who seems to presuppose that the same figure
used in phrase a will be repeated here.) All in all, this Le Puy version makes
musical sense in itself and in its relationship with the earlier parts of the
sequence.

Conclusion: Given its place in the Nevers manuscript next to Abelard's
planctus, its themes and vocabulary that merely repeat the themes and
vocabulary of Abelard's hymns and sermons, the generally "classical"
melodic treatment of the words, the typically Abelardian half rhymes,
the variable stanza structure, and the fact that no manuscript of it earlier
than the second half of the twelfth century is known, and, finally, its ob-
viously monastic, "mystical" and markedly personalistic cachet, together
with its presence in the Paraclete liturgical books where it featured as the
principal sequence for Easter and its Octave, may we not reasonably con-
clude that a sequence by Peter Abelard has been recovered deserving of
a place among the highest musical and poetic achievements of the twelfth
century?

of the Bride in stanzas 7 and 8. The same notes occur, F-D E D, at the
end of the fourfold repetition of the refrain for line a, stanzas 10-13, and
here as the refrain formula for line c of the same four stanzas, and as the
concluding Amen formula. This four-note pattern composed of the melodic
intervals of a minor third and major second is beautifully prepared for
by the cadences of the stanza lines, which have as their four-note pattern
a half step followed by a minor third: at the upper fifth for line a of stanzas
10-13 and for the coda (c-b-c a), at the lower fifth for line c of stanzas
10-13 (F-E F-D). (The bracketed "dies" of the refrain for phrases b and c
were omitted by the scribe, who seems to presuppose that the same figure
used in phrase a will be repeated here.) All in all, this Le Puy version makes
musical sense in itself and in its relationship with the earlier parts of the
sequence.

Conclusion: Given its place in the Nevers manuscript next to Abelard's
planctus, its themes and vocabulary that merely repeat the themes and
vocabulary of Abelard's hymns and sermons, the generally "classical"
melodic treatment of the words, the typically Abelardian half rhymes,
the variable stanza structure, and the fact that no manuscript of it earlier
than the second half of the twelfth century is known, and, finally, its ob-
viously monastic, "mystical" and markedly personalistic cachet, together
with its presence in the Paraclete liturgical books where it featured as the
principal sequence for Easter and its Octave, may we not reasonably con-
clude that a sequence by Peter Abelard has been recovered deserving of
a place among the highest musical and poetic achievements of the twelfth
century?

271 271 271 271

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