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Much of the beauty of the older forms was lost and the hymns did not really become classical. We have reason to hope that the present reform of the breviary will also give us back the old form of the hymns. But meanwhile it seems necessary to keep the later text. This is the one best known, it is given in all hymnbooks and is still the only authorized form. Only in one case have we printed the older text of a hymn, number 57, “Urbs Jerusalem.” The modern form of this begins: “Caelestis urbs Jerusalem.” But in this case the people who changed it in the seventeenth century did not even keep its metre; so the later version cannot be sung to the old, exceedingly beautiful tune.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1913)

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Rev’d Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923)
published 2 July 2016 by Corpus Christi Watershed


T WAS AS FOOLISH A MISTAKE to judge poetry of the fourth and following centuries by the rules of the Augustan age as it would be to try to tinker prose written in one language, to make it conform with the grammar of another. There are cases where these seventeenth-century Jesuits did not even know the rules of their own grammar books. In “Conditor alme siderum” they changed lines which are perfectly correct by quantity.
—Fr. Adrian Fortescue


260 Fr. Adrian Fortescue


According to Michael Davies:

On one occasion, Fr. Fortescue was engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle with some fanatical Albanian soldiers at Hebron, and he and his companions had to fight their way with bludgeons to their horses and gallop away—in Adrian’s case with a broken collarbone. On a second occasion the caravan with which he was travelling in Asia Minor, disguised as an Arab, was attacked by brigands, and in self-defense he killed an assailant with a pistol shot.