ERY LITTLE has escaped our perusal when it comes to research materials for the St. Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal. We even look through ancient Roman Catholic Primers, which (believe it or not) translate into English the Breviary hymns, and some of these books date back more than 400 years—not long after the time of King Henry VIII. As Eamon Duffy has pointed out, however, such Primers contain much more than English hymn translations.
The following was taken from a 1651AD Primer:
The Brébeuf hymnal does have beautiful hymn texts and tunes by modern composers and Catholics poets—but we also include some excellent ancient hymns. I’ve never seen any book that comes close to what we’re putting together, and I find myself in awe of the knowledge displayed by the scholars serving on our hymnal committee. And I end up feeling pretty inadequate!
A few excerpts:
When you see the Priest spread his Hands over the Chalice,
light your Wax-Candle; kneel, and with your other Hand
hold up the Vestment, till the Elevation be past;
that done, kiss the Vestment, put out the Candle;
and so often as you pass by the Blessed Sacrament,
do Reverence on your Knees.
[ … ]
The Clerk kneeling must give the Pax to the Priest to kiss,
and answer, “P. Pax tecum. C. Et cum spiritu tuo.”
Pausing a little, arise, make Adoration to the Sacrament,
give the Pax to those present, observe Order of calling, and Years:
Which done, be ready to give Wine and Water to the Priest;
and if there be Communicants, provide Towel and Taper,
and say Confiteor: After they have received the Host,
give them Wine, remove the Book to the Left Hand
of the Altar, take away the Towel, depart to your former place.
[ … ]
So put out the Candles, and look they spoil not
the Altar-Clothes, and lay up all handsomely.
If you have leisure, meditate a while, kiss the Altar, saying,
“I will adore in the Place where his Feet stood,” and depart.