I am in Syria and I ask my christian guide if he has heard “Ave Maria”, he looks at me perplexed, “No” he says shaking his head. I know now why this devout catholic young man did not know what I thought was a Catholic prayer. Listen and then read the rest.
It is the Christmas Season in the south and what I had always thought to be a catholic prayer turn out to be a haunting rendition of a Maiden’s prayer…………………..
Strange as it seems when ever I listen to it, it reminds me of the desert outside Mecca………
Ave Maria, or Ellens dritter Gesang, was composed by Franz Schubert in 1825. The song, contrary to popular belief, was not originally composed for the melody of the Roman Catholic prayer.
Instead, it was composed and used as a setting of a song from the poem Lady of the Lake written by Walter Scott.
According to Wikipedia:
Franz Schubert’s Ellens dritter Gesang (D839, Op 52 no 6, 1825) is often misidentified as “Schubert’s Ave Maria” because it opens with the greeting “Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary”), even though it is not a setting of the traditional Ave Maria prayer.
The original text of Schubert’s song is from Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake and was translated into German by Adam Storck. Adding to the confusion, the traditional Ave Maria prayer is often sung to Schubert’s melody of Ellens dritter Gesang; and in Walt Disney’s Fantasia, the tune is used with yet another text beginning with the phrase.
(Who knew that the Ave Maria translation could be so confusing?)
Below you will find the Latin version of the song, as well as the English translation of the German.
Ave Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui Jesus
Ave Maria Mater dei
Ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Ora, ora pro nobis
Ora ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis
In hora mortis, mortis nostrae
In hora mortis nostrae
Ave Maria! Ave Maria! maiden mild!
Listen to a maiden’s prayer!
Thou canst hear though from the wild,
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Though banish’d, outcast and reviled –
Maiden! hear a maiden’s prayer;
Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! undefiled!
The flinty couch we now must share
Shall seem this down of eider piled,
If thy protection hover there.
The murky cavern’s heavy air
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled;
Then, Maiden! hear a maiden’s prayer;
Mother, list a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! stainless styled!
Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care,
Beneath thy guidance reconciled;
Hear for a maid a maiden’s prayer,
And for a father hear a child!