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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Non Nobis and Te Duem
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1000  Thursday, 15 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 09:23:39 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions

[2]     From:   George F. Burnell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 98 15:40:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions

[3]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 15:08:42 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions

[4]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 16:55:01 -0400
        Subj:   Non nobis

[5]     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Oct 1998 07:05:24 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 09:23:39 -0700
Subject: 9.0997  Two Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions

> Does anyone know more about the song Non Nobis and Te Duem from Henry
> V?  I know Non Nobis is from Psalm 115.  But when were the song
> written?  I read somewhere that they were done during Henry V's reign,
> but am not too sure about that.  Can anyone enlighten me here?

Hi, Lee.

I think it depends what you mean by the song being written.  There were
certainly Gregorian chant versions of the psalms long before the reign
of Henry V.

Cheers,
Sean.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           George F. Burnell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 98 15:40:06 -0400
Subject: 9.0997  Two Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions

Lee Zhao asks about the psalm Non Nobis and the hymn Te Deum. These
Latin texts were widely known even among ordinary people.  The Te Deum,
sung on occasions of public rejoicing, is usually attributed to St.
Ambrose (340-397), bishop of Milan (374-397), although some recent
scholars question his authorship.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 15:08:42 -0400
Subject: 9.0997  Two Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions

In response to Lee Zhao's query about Non nobis and Te deum.
Shakespeare follows Holinshed here:  ". . . the King when he saw no
appearance of his enemies, caused the retreat to be blown; and gathering
his army together, gave thanks to the almighty God for so happy a
victory, causing his prelates and chaplains to sing this psalm: "In
exitu de Aegypto," and commanded every man to kneel down on the ground
at this verse: "Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.:
(A worthy example of a godly prince.)  Which done, he caused "Te deum,"
with certain anthems to be sung, giving laud and praise to God, without
boasting of his own force or any human power" (Signet, ed. John Russell
Brown, 198). The psalm that begins In exitu de Aegypto is usually
numbered 114; Non nobis is the first verse of 115.  Te deum is an
ancient hymn regularly used in both pre- and post-Reformation worship;
it is one of the Canticles for Morning Prayer in the Edwardian Prayer
Book.  Many different plain chant and Anglican chant settings of each
would have been available, and the Te deum was one of the most popular
texts among early modern European composers, both Continental and
English.

David Evett

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 16:55:01 -0400
Subject:        Non nobis

Follow up on Non nobis and Te deum.  In the Vulgate, In exitu Israel (or
Cum egrederetur Israhel as it appears in some texts) is numbered 113,
and verses 9 ff. of this psalm are the text independently numbered 115
in the Protestant Bible.  Holinshed's source presumably knew the Bible
in this form; hence Henry's command to the army to kneel down at the
verse beginning "Non nobis" makes sense.  Shakespeare's treatment of the
passage as an independent text thus seems to represent some experience
of the book in its Protestant form, overlaying and superseding
Holinshed's version.  I do not suspect any doctrinal issue, however;
note that getting directly into Non nobis, following the King's
three-times reiterated insistence that the amazing bodycount at
Agincourt identifies it clearly as God's victory, not his (with the
threat of death to anybody who says otherwise), makes more theatrical
sense than starting with the exodus and passing through references to
Jacob, to water from the rock, to the crossing of Jordan, before coming
to the passage that explicitly gives praise to God not men.

Biblically,
Dave Evett

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Oct 1998 07:05:24 EDT
Subject: 9.0997  Two Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0997  Two Questions

The text of the Te Deum was composed at the beginning of the 5th
century, in Latin.  The legend was that it was spontaneously composed
and sung alternately by St. Ambrose and St. Augustine on the night of
the latter's baptism (AD 387).

The Te Deum has traditionally been used as a hymn of thanks for a great
victory or good fortune, often being set by official composers in
response to specific events, e.g., coronations, winnings of wars, etc.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company
 

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