Friday, February 04, 2005

What Do They Be Thinking Of?

Music in church these days is usually a trial. I'm fairly good at ignoring most of it, although some is inappropriate enough to be seriously disturbing. At this morning's Mass we made a lateral transfer from the childish and annoying to the bizarre. Some bright spark at OCP has whipped up some "religous" lyrics to the tune of The Butcher Boy. And the music maven chose that for a Communion hymn at this morning's Mass.

It takes the breath away. Never did I think I would be listening to The Butcher Boy for Holy Communion. It's a pretty folk tune, well suited to its lugubrious and tragic lyrics. And the religous doggerel OCP came up with to replace "He went upstairs and the door he broke, he found her hanging from a rope" aren't striking enough to make one forget the original.

For the uninitiated, here is a common version of the original lyrics:

In London city where I did dwell, a butcher boy I loved right well
He courted me my life away, but now with me he will not stay

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain, I wish I was a maid again
A maid again I ne'er will be 'til cherries grow on an ivy tree

I wish my baby it was born and smiling on it's daddy's knee
And me, poor girl, to be dead and gone, with the long green grass growing over me

She went upstairs to go to bed, and calling to her mother, said:
"Give me a chair till I sit down and a pen and ink till I write down"

At every word she dropped a tear, at every line cried: "Willie dear
Oh, what a foolish girl was I, to be led astray by a butcher boy"

He went upstairs and the door he broke, he found her hanging from a rope
He took his knife and he cut her down, and in her pocket these words he found:

"Oh, make my grave large, wide and deep, put a marble stone at my head and feet
And at my breast, a turtledove, that the world may know that I died for love.

Yes, indeed. That's just what I want running through my mind at Communion time.