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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Prayers for the Dead
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0674  Monday, 11 April 2005

From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Saturday, 9 Apr 2005 08:42:12 -0400
Subject: Prayers for the Dead
Comment:        SHK 16.0624 Prayers for the Dead

Peter Bridgman compares a chopped-up version of the old antiphon "In
paradisum deducant te angeli ... Chorus angelorum te suscipat ...
aeternam habeas requiem" (which he translates as "may angels guide you
to paradise ... choirs of angels sustain you ... and grant you eternal
rest") with the Horatio's epitaph in 5.2 ("And flights of angels sing
thee to thy rest") and asks "how is it that WS quotes from the old
antiphon?"

You've made the well-recognized resemblance between the lines greater by
leaving out the parts about martyrs and Lazarus and by giving the angels
a more active role by having them "grant" eternal rest (a better
translation of the last part of the antiphon is, "May the chorus of
angels receive you//and with Lazarus once poor//may you have eternal
rest").  That's not to say we should buy Malone's contention that
Horatio's line echoes Essex's last words ("And when my soul and body
shall part, send thy blessed angels to be near unto me which may convey
it to the joys of heaven"); I tend to agree with Jenkins, who notes the
similarity to the antiphon, but cautions: "No specific source can be
alleged or should be sought for so traditional a conception."

Tom Krause

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