The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Sunday, February 22, 2015

From the Fury of the Norsemen...

When I was a boy, I read the works of Ruth McKenney, and was particularly caught by her story of reading Dickens's Child's History of England, which taught young Ruth and her sister Eileen little history, but the immortal line of the Great Litany: "From the Fury of the Norsemen--Goo-ood Lord, Deliver us!" (They used it on unwelcome visitors, inter alia).

Some years later, at St Paul's School for Boys, an Episcopalschool, I first heard the Great Litany, and got the joke. I also thought it was one of the most arresting things I had heard in my young life.

This chap is much better than I was, but I had the honor of being the litanist today for the Great Litany.

It was the biggest part I've ever played in any service, as we circumambulated the sanctuary, with me chanting the versicles and the choir (and congregation, but, oh, that choir!) doing the responses.

Jokingly, I had warned the Deacon, that if I got in over my head, she might hear me bellow for help by intoning "From the Fury of the Norsemen---"

But, in fact, I survived. And so did the Great Litany.

Thank you, St. John's in the Village! Thank you, St Pauls. And, yes--thank you Ruth McKenney.

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