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Frenemies: Queen Mary’s Most Dangerous Companions

Mary Queen of Scots“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” goes conventional wisdom. We’ve all heard the phrase of course. It’s the sentiment behind the new word “frenemy” – the fusion of friend and enemy. That is, someone who is both your friend and your enemy. Frenemies are common in royal courts of course where back room deals and palace intrigues characterize the reigns of even the most virtuous monarchs, female and male.

As common as these complex relationships have been, few monarchs have faced such extremes in their frenemies as Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland where her most constant male companions were also those most bent on destroying her.  Let’s take a look at her three deadliest.

 

James Stewart, the Earl of Moray

James Stewart 1st Earl of Moray 1531-1570One of Mary’s half-brothers through James V’s many mistresses, James Stewart was a leading member of the “Lords of the Congregation” in the Scottish Parliament and therefore a key figure in the Protestant Reformation in Scotland.

As a member of Parliament, self-serving nobleman, and Protestant, he tirelessly worked to contain Queen Mary and undermine her ability to govern even while operating as her de facto chief of staff.

As her brother, he helped Mary transition from her role as queen-consort of France to queen sovereign of Scotland and genuinely seemed to care for her well-being as much as any in her court could.

 

Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley

Henry_Stuart,_Lord_DarnleyQueen Mary’s second husband, Henry Stewart was Mary’s cousin through her grandmother Margaret Tudor’s remarriage to Archibald Douglas. Tall, handsome, and sharing Queen Mary’s love of riding, falconry, and hunting, he seemed a suitable match for the lonely and widowed queen.

But Darnley had a dark side.  He was vain (even by standards of the time), arrogant, and prone to drunkenness, traits that made the Scottish people hate him as fiercely as they loved Queen Mary’s generous, kind, and amiable temperament. A particularly violent drunk, Darnley readily beat and terrorized Queen Mary.

In March, 1566, Darnley’s vanity and jealousy towards Queen Mary’s secretary David Riccio led to murder in Holyrood palace as Darnley stormed the queen’s apartment, seized her person, and forced her to watch Darnley’s men stab Riccio 56 times. Darnley put a pistol to Mary’s pregnant belly, hoping to force her to miscarry their son, while he demanded the crown matrimonial –the right to become king if she died childless.  Mary refused.  Eleven months later Darnley himself was found dead at Kirk o’ Field house in Edinburgh.

 

John Knox

John KnoxThe fire-brand whose May 1559 sermon set off a bloody rebellion against Queen Mary’s throne while she was still in France, John Knox was the ultimate frenemy for Queen Mary. A staunch misogynist who did not believe women possessed the capacity to rule over men in any capacity and who openly preached against women leaders on all levels of society, Knox was nonetheless one of Queen Mary’s preferred social companions, especially when indulging in hunting, archery, falconry, and other outdoor pursuits. Like the Earl of Moray, his politics and religion clashed with his social sensibilities, perhaps in part because Queen Mary was one of the most charismatic and charming of all royals in Europe.

Mary’s charm could not banish Knox’s paranoia towards both Catholics and women nor persuade him of her benevolent intentions. In the end, he, like the Lords of the Congregation who supported him, rejoiced in Mary’s final downfall and eventual death at English hands.

 

Court intrigue, murder, and violent revolution swept through Queen Mary’s Scotland during her largely forgotten reign. Yet despite the pressures around her, Mary remained gentle, kind, and a true people’s princess, loved by all – even by some of her most dangerous enemies. Where her cousin Elizabeth Tudor hardened her heart and kept her thoughts to herself, Queen Mary remained open, trusting, and charismatic, untainted by the terrors and sorrows of her life. A grieving widow, a battered wife, a persecuted Catholic, Queen Mary Stuart was so much more than her final years as Queen Elizabeth’s political prisoner.  It is a life worth remembering and worth exploring.  I hope you will take time this summer and learn her story.

Mary Queen of the Scots

“Mary Queen of the Scots, the Forgotten Reign” and its follow-up, “Queen Elizabeth Tudor: Journey to Gloriana” are available in multiple languages at a bookstore near you. See https://bit.ly/2IWJeOB for a complete list of available languages for each volume.

Cardinal Richelieu—the Musical Hymns, Carols, and Popular Music in “His Red Eminence.”

“C’est un rempart que notre Dieu, une invincible armure. Notre délivrance en tout lieu, notre défense sûre. Satan, notre ennemi, en fureur s’est promis. D’user de son pouvoir. Pour vaincre et décevoir. Sur terre il n’y a plus d’abri,” sang Anne Rochefeuille as she played the harpsichord in the main drawing room of the Palais Cardinal, Cardinal Richelieu’s grand palace built just north of the Louvre and bequeathed to King Louis XIII upon his death on the 4th of December 1642. Though Americans rarely hear it in French, the first verse of the above hymn is well-known by Protestants around the world as “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther.  It is, like so many songs in this latest biography, an unusual choice for the story of France’s greatest and most transformative first minister.

Armand-Jean Richelieu 1 small

Jean-Armand du Plessis, cardinal and duc de Richelieu transformed France into the first truly modern and secular state of the western world. Still essentially a collection of feudal states owing nominal loyalty to the king of France when he took up the bishopric of Luçon in 1608, the cardinal’s ability to put aside religious considerations in favour of complete subordination of the French people and its institutions to the king had inevitable cultural implications as well. Carefully patronizing writers, poets, dramatists, painters, sculptors, architects, composers, musicians, and other artisans, regardless of his personal opinions about their creations, his patient efforts carefully moved French culture into the celebrated baroque era we associate with King Louis XIV.

Red Eminence webIn my new biography, “His Red Eminence, Jean-Armand du Plessis de Richelieu,” I celebrate the cardinal’s life through music. Eight songs in French, Latin, and English fill these pages, helping the story to come alive. Given my habit for setting scenes during the Christmas holiday season, there are of course Christmas carols, more than any other book so far. 15th century French carol “Noël Nouvelet” makes an appearance, as does “Adeste Fideles” which was originally written by French monks in the medieval era but not translated to English as “O Come All Ye Faithful” until Victorian times.

Two decidedly English songs make an appearance: the 16th century English “Coventry Carol” is heard for the first time in one of my books as does the medieval version of the popular song “Quoth John to Joan.”

Popular French music arrives in the form of Pierre Guédon’s “Aux plaisirs, aux délices.”  Guédon’s music is very special because it’s one of the few surviving songs we have specific to King Louis XIII’s reign instead of dating to either the Valois dynasty or Louis XIV’s reign.

Aux plaisirs, aux délices, bergères,

Il faut ètre du temps ménagères,

Car il s’écoule et se perd d’heure en heure;

Et le regret seulement en demeure.

A l’àmour, aux plaisirs, au bocage

Employez les beaux jours de votre àge.

But perhaps the most poignant of the two popular music pieces in this book is also the most familiar.  “Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie” by Thoinot Arbeau is a love song written at the end of the 16th century. Popular with re-enactors, it is slow, stately and full of quiet passion. Just the sort of song that rises to the many diverse occasions found in not only this beautiful biography, but many of the Legendary Women of World History biographies as well.

We first encounter “Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie” in 1618 during Armand-Jean’s exile in Avignon when best friend Anne Rochefeuille sings the first two verses. Then, in 1628, facing the horrors of war and missing home and the love waiting for him in Paris, Armand-Jean sings verses three through eight for us, allowing us to hear the song in full. Drama arises when his song is overheard by Father Joseph, his “grey eminence” as history remembers him. For one of the most consistent sources of drama in this biography is the constant question by those around the good cardinal as to whether or not, and if so who, is he taking to his bed as his lover.

Historically, the question is never proven either way but rather is a matter of persistent rumour spanning his entire adult life.

My belief is that he did have a lover, a woman whom he loved and faithfully took to bed for over twenty years. But more than a vessel for his sexual appetites, she was best friend, confidant, nurse, and intellectual equal.  She was everything for Armand-Jean du Plessis that Katharina von Bora was for Martin Luther almost a century before—except of course that du Plessis could not marry her in the church without stepping down from the priesthood and his only means of supporting himself. Even after becoming a cardinal in 1622 and first minister of France in 1624, Richelieu’s economic survival depended on him keeping secret what the true nature of his relationship with his Anne really was. If the truth were ever discovered, the scandal stood to cost him not only his position (and the money he depended on to live), but his life as well.

 

With this dramatic context in mind, I invite you to enter King Louis XIII’s court with all its music and dance and courtly romance and intrigues to meet the real man you never knew from reading Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers.”

 

 

Walking in Queen Mary’s Footsteps: Palaces and Castles

Welcome to “Summer in Scotland,” our month-long celebration of Scotland and in particular the Scotland known and loved by its most famous queen, Mary Stuart, better known simply as “Mary Queen of Scots.”

Across Queen Mary’s forty-four years she lived in France, reigned in Scotland, and died in England. Though not all of the places she guested at, lived at, and/or worked from still exist (notably Fotheringhay Castle where she was executed in 1587), these six palaces and castles are not only still standing, but they are open to the public for you to visit this summer.

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace (West Lothian, Scotland)

Built as a retreat from court life at Edinburgh Castle by the Stewarts, the peace and quiet of Linlithgow makes it the perfect getaway for royals and modern visitors alike. Overlooking Loch Linlithgow, there is scenic beauty and waterfowl aplenty to melt away whatever stress comes your way. No wonder it was the Stewarts preferred place to give birth and is Queen Mary Stuart’s birth place.

Open year round except on 25 December, 26 December, 1 January, and 2 January. Tickets start at £7.20 and are available at https://tickets.historic-scotland.gov.uk/webstore/shop/viewItems.aspx?cg=TKTS&c=WSLOTHIANS.

Chateau Blois 1

Château Blois (Loire Valley, France)

Located in the Loire Valley about halfway between Orléans and Tours, Chateau Blois was 15th and 16th century France’s preferred royal residence.  Here Queen Mary and Prince François spent countless weeks in the year at court.  Later, in 1617, it became home to Marie de Medici’s court in exile. Along with her came her very loyal chief advisor, Armand-Jean du Plessis, better known as Cardinal Richelieu (see “His Red Eminence, Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu”).

Open year-round, tickets start at €12. Go to http://en.chateaudeblois.fr/EvenementChateauVisite/2040-prepare-your-visit.htm for details and tourism package options.

Chateau Chambord

Château de Chambord (Loire Valley, France)

Favoured by Queen Mary’s father-in-law Henri II and designed in part by Leonardo da Vinci, Chambord is an architectural masterpiece that takes you into the mind of its creator.  Features a unique double-helix staircase designed by da Vinci so that no one going up can meet anyone going down on it.

Open year-round except on 25 December and 1 January, you can stroll the outside grounds for free. Tickets to visit the castle and private gardens start at €14,50.  Go to https://www.chambord.org/en/plan-your-visit/opening-hours/ for more information.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh, Scotland)

At the heart of Queen Mary’s reign stands Edinburgh Castle which, appropriately, dominates the Edinburgh skyline.  Situated on a cliff high above the rest of the city, it is easy to see why King David I (son of Margaret of Wessex and brother to Empress Matilda of England) chose the site for his castle. Queen Mary and her parliament ruled from here and on 19 June 1566 she gave birth to King James VI in the same bedroom you can visit today. Queen Mary herself made several improvements to the castle which intially she found dark and cold compared to the airy grandeur of the French court, adding wall-coverings and art to warm both body and soul, especially in winter.

Open year-round except on 25th and 26th December. Tickets start at £17.50 if you purchase your tickets online or £19.50 if you purchase at the gate.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle (Stirling, Scotland)

Built in 1107, Stirling Castle is one of the historically most significant landmarks in Scotland’s long pursuit of freedom and independence from English conquest. William Wallace and Andrew Moray famously fought the Battle of Stirling Bridge near here in 1297 to retake the castle from England. Robert the Bruce’s 1314 victory at Bannockburn likewise returned it to Scotland. In 1503, King James IV built its Great Hall. Queen Mary held her baptism service for her son James (VI) here in 1566. When it was James VI’s turn to baptise his son Henry in 1594, he also held the baptism and its celebrations at Stirling Castle.

Open year-round except on 25th and 26th December.  Tickets start at £15 if you purchase online or £16 at the gate.

Lochleven Castle

Lochleven Castle (Kinross, Scotland)

Built in the 14th Century, Queen Mary guested at Lochleven before its tower turned into her prison in 1567.  This is where she miscarried or aborted James Hepburn’s baby, and where she abdicated her throne in favour of her son James.

Open 1 April to 31 October. Closed from 1 November to 31 March. Access by boat only. Tickets start at £9.00 which includes boat fare. Go to https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/lochleven-castle/prices-and-opening-times/ to purchase advance tickets (strongly recommended).

 

Wherever your summer takes you, I hope you will spend part of it with Queen Mary Stuart and will make “Mary Queen of the Scots: the Forgotten Reign” your first and best introduction to Scotland’s most tragic and famous queen. Available at your favourite bookstore world-wide in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian. See http//www.laurelarockefeller.com for complete links to all editions.

The Downton Abbey Effect Cottages and Palaces in “His Red Eminence”

“Downton Abbey.” Few period dramas have earned the critical acclaim and popularity as the story of its Crawley family as they navigate the dramatic changes faced in the early 20th century. Featuring lavish estates and stories centred on both the upstairs nobles and downstairs servants, it can be no wonder so many of us are excited about the September 2019 release of a theatrical film that continues the stories of these beloved characters.

Important to Downton Abbey’s appeal stems from its window into how the upper classes live and how they interact with the servants whose labours empower their lifestyle. It’s a time gone by for nearly all of us, a culture few of us experience or understand. A culture that was very much part of life in 17th century France.

In “His Red Eminence, Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu” we are taken through the good cardinal’s entire adult life, starting at the age of twenty when he was a student at his beloved Sorbonne. Along the way, he lived in everything from a spartan dormitory to modest cottages to palaces. Each of these held a very different lifestyle. Each of them enlightened by watching “Downtown Abbey.”  Let’s take a look at his homes.

 

Du Plessis Manor/Château Richelieu – Poitou (1585-1594, intermittent thereafter)

The cardinal’s childhood home was the medieval manor built by his ancestors and resided at for centuries. The 16th century Wars of Religion which ultimately claimed the life of Armand’s father François in 1590 bankrupted the family, forcing Armand’s mother Suzanne de la Porte to cut what few staff they had before. Odds are the frugality Suzanne de la Porte imposed on her household meant Armand grew up with few if any of the luxuries normally enjoyed by the nobility, a simplicity in lifestyle he maintained for the rest of his life.

Upon the death of his father in 1590, eldest brother Henri du Plessis became Seigneur de Richelieu. Through political skill and the kindness of King Henri IV, Henri improved the du Plessis fortunes by convincing the king to appoint Armand as Bishop of Luçon and with it, a yearly income of 15,000 livres for his brother and, by extension, the family.

Chateau_de_Richelieu_engraving_17th_century

(engraving of the Château Richelieu before its demolition in 1805.)

 

As Armand’s career improved over the years, he invested in the family home, transforming it in the Château Richelieu built by architect Jacques Lemercier, and employing a proper household staff to attend him whenever he or other family members stayed there. From footmen to housemaids, valets, and lady’s maids, the château scenes in chapter twelve are modelled closely after those in Downton Abbey and the many adventures of those who lived there, both upstairs and downstairs.

 

Dormitory at the Sorbonne (1606-1607)

Like most students, Armand-Jean lived simply in a bedroom that served as bedroom, library, office, and beyond. He probably shared both a kitchen and lavatory with others living in the same building. It is the style of life most familiar to us today and therefore most relatable.

 

Bishop’s Mansion – Luçon (1608-1614)

More spacious than his dormitory, ordination as a priest and investiture as a bishop was a step up for His Excellency, Bishop du Plessis.  As bishop he lived in a parsonage where he lived, maintained an office complete with a secretary, and entertained. No less than a cook and a housekeeper maintained the residence and probably other servants as well, though likely fewer than ten altogether. Though the sizes of bishop mansions varied with the wealth and important of individual dioceses, the mansion in Luçon probably maintained at least five guest bedrooms in addition to the master bedroom the bishop occupied and those reserved on the top floor for residential staff.

 

Mansions – Blois and Avignon Exiles (1617-1620)

Historically speaking, we know essentially nothing about where exactly Bishop du Plessis lived during his years in exile in Blois and Avignon created by his service to Marie de Medici. As a civil servant, he most likely lived in the same home as the dowager queen while in Blois. Given Marie de Medici was essentially running a quasi-independent, rival French government, it is logical to deduce that she and her staff (du Plessis included) lived in a modest mansion sufficiently sized to accommodate a household of at least thirty and probably closer to sixty. Upon being ordered away from de Medici in the form of being sent to Avignon, Bishop du Plessis and those exiled with him probably experienced a more scaled down version of his life in Blois with a smaller mansion-prison and fewer staff, but still attended somewhat by cooks, housekeepers, and perhaps a footman or two whose real function was to enforce the house arrest while spying on the prisoners.

 

Parisian Cottages (1614-1617, 1620-1629)

In September, 1614 Bishop du Plessis arrived in Paris as a delegate from Poitou representing its clergy at the meeting of the Estates-General in Paris. Though we know nothing about how or where the bishop was housed, it was most likely a modest cottage not unlike Crawley House in Downton Abbey. The bishop probably had a cook and a housekeeper to look after him. Upon being appointed to the large stream of government positions showcased in “Eminence” that staff level would have slowed increased, but rarely exceeding more than five or ten total servants plus or minus the red guards who protected his person. These cottages probably looked and felt a great deal like Crawley House, modest but comfortable, but better suited to city life than the rural-centric Crawley House.

 

Apartment at the Louvre (intermittent, 1622-1629)

Living at the Louvre was a special honour granted as a reward to favourite courtiers. It was also given to those ministers the king wanted kept close to him—either because he wanted him closely watched and/or because he needed that minister available to him at all hours of the day and night.

As seen in “Eminence,” Richelieu most likely divided his residency between an apartment in the Louvre and a nearby cottage. While staying at the Louvre, housemaids would have kept his apartment tidy and cooks would have provided him with his meals. Footmen summoned him into the royal presence.

Following his 1628 success at La Rochelle, King Louis XIII gifted him with his own estate mere metres from the Louvre which Richelieu designed with architect Jacques Lemercier, the Palais Cardinal, a grand home that survives to this day as the “Palais Royal.”

 

Palais Cardinal (1629-1642)

In 1629 Jacques Lemercier completed the Palais Cardinal, the ultra-modern palace estate which became Cardinal Richelieu’s principle residence from 1629 until his death on 4 December, 1642. The Palais Cardinal featured Paris’ first theatre at which the many plays Richelieu penned were performed. Though the cardinal maintained the simple lifestyle one expects of a parish priest, he spent generously on a massive household staff at the Palais Cardinal. With an income exceeding two million livres per year at the end of his life, he could afford it. But as with everything else, his spending was far more about the principle than his own needs or interests. In patronizing the visual, dramatic, and musical arts at the Palais, he fostered French culture in ways he believed were essential to the longevity of the State. In offering employment to a far larger household staff than he needed, he invested in his community.

 

In the end, Armand-Jean du Plessis, cardinal and duc de Richelieu was not the mean-spirited and heartless villain of the Dumas novels, but rather the kind, extremely generous, and far-sighted statesman who invested in people, in the arts, in long-term diplomacy, and in a strong, unified France. Instead of using his income from government service for his own creature comforts and agendas, he invested in the French people, in French culture, and in the French State.

The fictional Earl of Grantham considered himself the custodian of Downtown Abbey. The very real Cardinal Richelieu made himself the custodian of France itself.  Few ministers have done more or served better than His Red Eminence, Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu.

Lyrics: Quoth John to Joan (medieval)

Red Eminence webThe eighth and final song appearing in His Red Eminence is the first song I learned to sing in the Society for Creative Anachronism:  Quoth John to Joan.  Though there is a late Tudor version of this song, I prefer the original medieval version I learned all those years ago.

Quoth John to Joan

English

Quoth John to Joan wilt thou have me?

I prithee now wilt and I’se marry with thee.

My cow, my calf, my horse, my rents,

And all my lands and tenements.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

 

I’ve corn and hay in the barn hard by,

And three fat hogs pent up in the sty;

I have a mare and she is coal-black;

I ride on her tail to save her back.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

 

I have a cheese upon the shelf.

And I cannot eat it all myself.

I’ve three good marks that lie in rag,

In the nook of the chimney instead of a bag.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

 

To marry I would have thy consent,

But faith, I never could compliment.

I can say nought but hoy gee ho!

Words that belong to the cart and the plough.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

O say my Joan wilt not that do?

I cannot come ev’ry day to woo.

Lyrics: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott/C’est Un Rempart Que Notre Dieu/A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Martin Luther)

Red Eminence webThe seventh song appearing in His Red Eminence is well-known by Protestants around the world, though perhaps never heard before in FRENCH.  Watch for “C’est Un Rempart Que Notre Dieu” in chapter twelve, “Partings and Testaments” as Anne Rochefeuille receives some bad news.

 

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott/C’est Un Rempart Que Notre Dieu/A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

 

German 

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,

ein gute Wehr und Waffen.

Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,

die uns jetzt hat betroffen.

Der alt böse Feind

mit Ernst er’s jetzt meint,

groß Macht und viel List

sein grausam Rüstung ist,

auf Erd ist nicht seins gleichen.

 

Mit unsrer Macht ist nichts getan,

wir sind gar bald verloren;

es streit’ für uns der rechte Mann,

den Gott hat selbst erkoren.

Fragst du, wer der ist?

Er heißt Jesus Christ,

der Herr Zebaoth,

und ist kein andrer Gott,

das Feld muss er behalten.

 

Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär

und wollt uns gar verschlingen,

so fürchten wir uns nicht so sehr,

es soll uns doch gelingen.

Der Fürst dieser Welt,

wie sau’r er sich stellt,

tut er uns doch nicht;

das macht, er ist gericht’:

ein Wörtlein kann ihn fällen.

 

Das Wort sie sollen lassen stahn

und kein’ Dank dazu haben;

er ist bei uns wohl auf dem Plan

mit seinem Geist und Gaben.

Nehmen sie den Leib,[7]

Gut, Ehr, Kind und Weib:

lass fahren dahin,

sie haben’s kein’ Gewinn,

das Reich muss uns doch bleiben.

 

French

C’est un rempart que notre Dieu,
Une invincible armure,
Un défenseur victorieux,
Une aide prompte et sûre.
L’Ennemi, contre nous,
Redouble de courroux:
Vaine colère!
Que pourrait l’Adversaire?
L’Eternel détourne ses coups.

 

Seuls, nous bronchons à chaque pas
Quand l’Ennemi nous presse.
Mais un héros pour nous combat
Et nous soutient sans cesse.
Quel est ce défenseur?
C’est toi, divin Sauveur,
Dieu des armées!
Tes tribus opprimées
Connaissent leur liberateur.

 

Que les démons, forgeant des fers,
Menacent ton Eglise,
Ta Sion brave les enfers,
Sur le rocher assise.
Constant dans son effort,
En vain, avec la mort,
Satan conspire.
Pour briser son empire,
Il suffit d’un mot du Dieu fort.

 

Dis-le, ce mot victorieux
Dans toutes nos détresses,
Et donne-nous, du haut des cieux,
Ta force et ta sagesse.
Qu’on nous ôte nos biens,
Qu’on serre nos liens,
Que nous importe!
Ta grâce est la plus forte,
Et ton royaume est pour les tiens.

 

English

A mighty fortress is our God,

A bulwark never failing:

Our helper He, amid the flood

Of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe

Doth seek to work his woe;

His craft and power are great,

And armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

 

Did we in our own strength confide,

Our striving would be losing;

Were not the right Man on our side,

The Man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be?

Christ Jesus, it is he;

Lord Sabaoth is his name,

From age to age the same,

And He must win the battle.

 

And though this world, with devils filled,

Should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed

His truth to triumph through us.

The Prince of Darkness grim,

We tremble not for him;

His rage we can endure,

For lo! His doom is sure,

One little word shall fell him.

 

That word above all earthly powers—

No thanks to them—abideth;

The Spirit and the gifts are ours

Through him who with us sideth.

Let goods and kindred go,

This mortal life also:

The body they may kill:

God’s truth abideth still,

His kingdom is for ever.

Lyrics: Adeste Fideles (Cistercian Hymn)/Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Red Eminence webThe sixth song appearing in His Red Eminence is another very old Christmas carol that was only recently translated to English.  Adeste Fideles was written by Cistercian monks on medieval France sometime between the 6th and 12th centuries, but only recently, in 1841 came to the English language.

Adeste Fideles (Cistercian Hymn)/Oh Come All Ye Faithful (translated to English by Frederick Oakeley, 1841)

 

Latin

Adeste fideles læti triumphantes,

Venite, venite in Bethlehem.

Natum videte

Regem angelorum:

Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus

Dominum.

 

Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine

Gestant puellæ viscera

Deum verum, genitum non factum.

Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus

Dominum.

 

Cantet nunc io, chorus angelorum;

Cantet nunc aula cælestium,

Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo,

Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus

Dominum.

 

Ergo qui natus die hodierna.

Jesu, tibi sit gloria,

Patris æterni Verbum caro factum.

Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus, Venite adoremus

Dominum.

 

English

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;

Come and behold him

Born the King of Angels:

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

 

God of God, light of light,

Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;

True God, begotten, not created:

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

 

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,

Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above!

Glory to God, glory in the highest:

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

 

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;

Jesus, to thee be glory given!

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.