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American pronunciation for the Stabat Mater?

March 23, 2012

I was looking for some nifty Belloc poetry or something and came across the following in a collection of his letters:

Mass is said quickly in the churches, all the Latin and the English prayers and the sermons and hymns of the Children are American.  I heard a lot of innocent Children sing the Stabat Mater in American:

“Stairbaist Mairturr Dorlawrawser

Juxter Crutch’m Jackrimmawawzer” etc.

It moved me to tears of tenderness for I felt then the Faith to be truly universal.

But if I had sung it, it would have moved them not to tears but laughter, for they find the European voice exceedingly comic.

(From Letters from Hilaire Belloc, selected and edited by Robert Speaight, pg. 141; letter written to Maurice Baring, March 24th, 1923, U.S.A.)

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