The Anathemata

Mabinog’s Liturgy (continued)

This is the night for which the Master of the Children has tried since Clemens and Felicitya to learn his nudging boys to say properly—in brogued Goidel Vulgate

Laetentur coeli,3 

The night when they begin

at May Major

in pontiff’s sung-nasal

Dominus dixit ad me.4 

But when they come to Anastasiab 

and fetching Hemerac  early from her bed

David Jones notes

3 See the First Mass of Christmas, sung at midnight from St Mary Major on the Esquiline Hill. Offertory, ‘Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, etc.’ Cf. the existence of Christianized Goidels (Irish) at e.g. Silchester, Hants, in the fifth century.

4 Ibid. Introit, ‘The Lord said unto me thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.’

The main liturgical emphasis in this first Mass is on the physical birth of a child in time and at a specified site.

additional notes

DJ note 3: In early Christian times, this mass at St Mary Major was apparently celebrated by the Pope himself, as were the other two masses (see next page).

a Clemens and Felicity: I would guess from the context that these are Saints days early in the year. St Felicity is connected with March 7, but St Clement is November 23, which seems a bit late for the context.

b Anastasia: see DJ note 2 to next page.

c Hemera: the Greek personification of dawn (usually described by Homer as ‘rosy-finger’d dawn’.


semantic structures