The Prince on the Book of Common Prayer
This year is the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer.
The book had earlier incarnations, but this version was used for centuries wherever the British lived.
The ancient and hallowed language was modernized in the 20th century, a change welcomed by some and keenly mourned by others.
Prince Charles - no one will be in suspense at his feelings - wrote about the Book of Common Prayer's poetry:
Over recent years, we have witnessed a concerted effort to devalue the currency of these resonant words.
But who was it who decided that for people who aren’t very good at reading, the best things to read are those written by people who aren’t very good at writing?
Poetry is surely for everybody, even if it’s only a few phrases. But banality is for nobody. It might be accessible for all, but so is a desert.
From the 65th Psalm in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:
. . .The river of God is full of water: Thou preparest their corn, for so Thou providest for the earth.
Thou waterest her furrows, Thou sendest rain into the little valleys thereof: Thou makest it soft with the drops of rain, and blessest the increase of it.
Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness: And Thy clouds drop fatness.
They shall drop upon the dwellings of the wilderness: And the little hills shall rejoice on every side.
The folds shall be full of sheep: The valleys also shall stand so thick with corn, that they shall laugh and sing.