A SPECIAL MOTET written by Renaissance composer William Byrd (†1623) honoring the Martyrdom of St. Edmund Campion is now 1 available for free and instant download:
* * Why do I use my paper, ink and pen (Mp3 Audio)
HY DOE I USE my paper inck and pen,
and call my wits to counsel what to say,
such memories were made for mortal men,
I speak of Saints, whose names cannot decay,
An Angels trump, were fitter for to sound,
their glorious death, if such on earth were found.
For obvious reasons, this extraordinary recording was commissioned as the soundtrack for the Promotional Video explaining the Campion Missal & Hymnal. If you appreciate this, please consider purchasing a copy of this book. Thank you!
THE AUDIO RECORDING is the work of Matthew J. Curtis, a truly gifted singer. Regarding the text itself, an Edmund Campion scholar sent the following via Email:
“The words are moving because Catholics were forced to use manuscript to disseminate works (printing presses being difficult to buy, conceal and feed; paper being bulky and expensive). This poem, written by Henry Walpole within a month of Campion’s death, was printed in the Alfield, A true reporte of the death & martyrdome of M. Campion Iesuite and preiste; the press of Richard Verstegan was seized. The manuscript version was disseminated widely, and set to music by William Byrd, probably with a few months, although the printed version of Byrd’s setting was not published till 1588, without Campion’s name being included (for obvious reasons, in Protestant England). The poem itself is remarkable, since it is in the same form as Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis: six-line stanzas of rhyming iambic pentameters (unstress/stress). There are thirty of them, divided into clear groups of ten. In other words, it is much more than a popular ballad, and has (unlike many modern Catholic hymns) a very clear concordance between words and metre.”
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 As a matter of fact, it’s been available since 31 January 2013. You can see this by going to the Campion Missal Website and scrolling to the bottom of the page, where the various “external” articles are featured.