PODCAzT 72: The death of St. Martin; starlings, cuckolds, bell ringing and a skull

We welcome as our guest the 5th century writer Sulpicius Severus who speaks to us about St. Martin of Tours who
died in 397 and also the english poet John Clare who died in 1864. Sulpicius Severus died sometime between 420 and 425.  He was was the earliest biographer of St. Martin, the bishop of Tour in France, who died in 397.

We will also hear "Martinmass" by John Clare written on 11 Nov 1841.

    ‘Tis Martinmass from rig to rig
    Ploughed fields and meadow lands are blea
    In hedge and field each restless twig
    Is dancing on the naked tree
    Flags in the dykes are bleached and brown
    Docks by its sides are dry and dead
    All but the ivy-boughs are brown
    Upon each leaning dotterel’s head

    Crimsoned with awes the awthorns bend
    O’er meadow-dykes and rising floods
    The wild geese seek the reedy fen
    And dark the storm comes o’er the woods
    The crowds of lapwings load the air
    With buzes of a thousand wings
    There flocks of starnels too repair
    When morning o’er the valley springs

I have lots of digressions about St. Martin of Tour, including the time I held his skull in my hands.

Since I mention the storni in Rome, there is YouTube video below.  I didn’t make it.  And I suggest you watch it after you hear the PODCAzT.

[display_podcast] http://www.wdtprs.com/podcazt/08_11_11.mp3

Along the way you might hear these tunes:

Campanero – Orquestra del Sol
Surrexit pastor bonus, motet for 4 voices – Palestrina
Panis Angelicus – César Franck – Westminster Boys Choir
Concerto No. 3 In F, "the Autumn" (l’autunno) – Adagio
Frère Jacques – Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Fra’ Martino – Piccoli Cantori Di Niny Comolli E Lucia Mannucci

The iTunes feed is working.  It stops and starts again… mysteriously.  Beats me!

Some of the last offerings (check out the PODCAzT PAGE):

071 08-11-06 "Faith inscribed across your heart": Benedict on Cyril of Jerusalem & Cyril on faith, your treasure
070 08-11-01 Venerable Bede on All Saints; a collage; don Camillo (Part IV)
069 08-10-30 Augustine on Ps 103; Benedictines can sing!
068 08-08-04 Interview – Fr. Tim Finigan on the Oxford TLM conference; don Camillo (Part III)
067 08-07-29 St. Augustine on Martha, active v. contemplative lives; don Camillo (part II)
066 08-07-25 don Camillo (part I): VM – advice on getting TLMs & “pro multis”


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. I learned about “pollard”. This is a way of pruning a tree before it grows to maturity, such that it stays short and grows denser foliage. I have seen this often in Italy, especially in the north. I think this must be done often also with willows.

  2. Dominic H says:

    Here in the east of England (Essex, where the good John Clare was effectively imprisoned – held against his will, anyway, in a lunatic asylum, at High Beech, in Epping Forest, just a bit north-east of London, before he made his noteworthy and documented “escape” – and oh I must say how good it is to read a piece of him here: he is the poet to birdsong what Messaien is in music, not to limit either of these geniuses to purely aviaphilian matters) sycamores/maples would seem to be among the most commonly pollard types of trees: it doesn’t look pretty, in the short term, but sure fortifies them in the longer term.

    I look forward listening to the podcazt later tonight!

  3. Commentator says:

    One sees why the ancient Romans had augurs!

  4. Nick says:

    I wonder if God was trying to tell Rome something? :)

  5. pelerin says:

    Your excellent podcazt has brought back some memories from the past – thenk you Fr Z! It has prompted me to seek out a booklet on St Martin I bought in 1960 or 61 when I spent a couple of weeks as a student in the city of Tours. I stayed with a family almost opposite the Cathedral and was woken up each morning by the sound of the Cathedral bells nearby.

    Each day I passed the Basilica of St Martin and curiosity drew me in one day where I watched people venerating his tomb. Although at the time I had begun to investigate the truths of the Church, I was still very much an outsider looking in. I learnt that that year they were celebrating the discovery 100 years earlier of St Martin’s tomb after
    centuries of being hidden. A few days later I attended an outdoor Mass in the ruins of the abbaye of Marmoutiers nearby (founded I believe by St Martin). I still have the hymn sheet – 3 in Latin and 2 in French – and I see that it was the feast of Corpus Christi although I was not aware of this at the time. The memories I retain are of the procession crossing the fields and singing the Latin chant on a glorious summer day. It was in fact the first Mass I had ever attended and what was to become the major turning point in my life.

    On my last day in Tours I entered the Cathedral. I had paid a few visits already and watched others genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament but up to that point could not bring myself to do the same.
    On this occasion I was no longer in doubt and genuflected there for the first time knowing that I had finally found the Truth. Shortly afterwards I approached a Priest and took instruction…. St Martin had indeed shown me the way.

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