Bernard of Clugny (or Cluny)

Bernard Of Clugny (Or Cluny)

a French monk, was born at Morlaix in Brittany, in the 12th century, and is said to have been of English parentage. We know nothing of the incidents of his life; his poetry is his best memorial. He is the author of the famous poem De Contemptu Mundi, comprising about three thousand lines. The greater part, however, is a bitter satire on the fearful corruptions of the age; but, "as a contrast to the misery and pollution of earth, the poem closes with a description of the peace and glory of heaven, of such rare beauty as not easily to be matched by any mediaeval composition on the same subject." It is written in a dactylic hexameter, divided into three parts, between which a cesura is inadmissible. The hexameter has a tailed rhyme, and feminine leonine rhyme between the two first clauses, thus:

Tunc nova gloria || pectora sobria ||. clarificabit: Solvit enigmata || veraque sabbata || continuabit Patria lumrnis, || inscia turbinis, || inscia litis Cive replebitur, || amplificabitur || Israelitis.

From this specimen it will be seen that it would be difficult to adopt the measure of the: original in any translation; and Dr. Neale, who has translated the larger part of this poem into English, remarks concerning his own rendering:

"I have deviated from my ordinary rule of adopting the measure of the original; because our language, if it could be tortured to any distant resemblance of its rhythm, would utterly fail to give any idea of the majestic sweetness which invests it in Latin. Its difficulty in that language is such that Bernard, in a preface, expresses his belief that nothing but the special inspiration of the Spirit of God could have enabled him to employ it through so long a poem." As must naturally be expected, this hymn has never been entirely translated into any language. Parts of it have been rendered, especially those referring to the celestial city. Best known is the one commencing in the English translation with "Jerusalem the golden," and found in many hymn books. The student of hymnology is referred to the following works: Trench, Sacred Latin Poetry (Lond. 1864), p. 304 sq.; Neale, Mediaeval Hymns, (ibid. 1867), p. 68 sq.; Duffield, The Heavenly Land, from the "De Contemptu Mundi "(N.Y. 1867); The Seven Great Hymns of the Medieval Church (ibid. 1866), p. 1 sq.; Coles, Latin Hymns with Original Translations (ibid. 1868), p. 7 sq.; Miller, Singers and Songs of the Church, p. 29. (B. P.)

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