O ESCA VIATORUM

12 March 2004

I have an exceptionally dysfunctional extended family that I keep hidden and at arm’s length. Who doesn’t? LOL.

Most of them I have not seen for years.  This is just the way things work out naturally in most cases.  However, there is also always going on some Big Split or other where each has their turn to be excommunicated. Hey, years ago, for example, I didn’t see a brother for 12 years. Seriously. And even though he only lived a few streets away. And he raised a family of his own away from us because he was outlawed, so I grew up never knowing them! He was bullied out of the family, and it was only solved when he capitulated [to understand how this works see my post called “Decisions” — EDIT 2006-03-13] and left his wife and kids to return to his “real” family.

This is far from unique; to this day, I have not seen a sister for 20 years!

I don’t know if she’s dead or alive, maybe she has kids I don’t know about! I’ll probably never know anything about her; to be truthful, I don’t even remember what she looked like.

However, the one thing I do remember is that she sang a song called “O Esca Viatorum“.  She must have sung it a lot when I was little for I could always hum the tune, and I could recall the first few words —

O Esca Viatorum, O Panis Angelorum

I always liked the tune; it clearly made an impression on my young mind.  I would estimate that the last time I heard it sung (and I have only ever heard her sing it), would have been in the early 1970s.

So I went to the Internet and typed in a search for “O Esca Viatorum”, hoping the spelling was right — and up came:

“O esca viatórum,
O panis angelórum, O manna coélitum,
Esuriéntes ciba,  Dulcédine non priva
Corda quæréntium, Corda quæréntium.

“O lympha, fons amóris,
Qui puro Salvatóris, E corde prófluis
Te sitiéntes pota, Hæc sola nostra vota,
His una súfficis, His una súfficis.

“O Jesu, Tuum vultum,
Quem cólimus occúltum, Sub panis spécie,
Fac, ut remóto velo, Post líbera in cælo
Cernámus fácie, Cernámus fácie. “

I found a link to the tune in sheet music, and I was amazed to find that I was pretty close! What a memory!

It is a lovely piece of music, and I found a translation by W.H. Shewring that, while somewhat inaccurate,  manages to rhyme!

“O  Food of travellers, angels’ Bread,
Manna wherewith the blest are fed,
Come nigh, and with Thy sweetness fill
The hungry hearts that seek Thee still.

“O fount of love, O well unpriced,
Outpouring from the heart of Christ,
Give us to drink of very Thee,
And all we pray shall answered be.

“And bring us to that time and place
When this Thy dear and veiled face
Blissful and glorious shall be seen –
Ah Jesus, with no veil between. “

Music is a marvel, isn’t it? This song is the only link I have to my much older and long-lost sister.

[START EDIT — 2008-09-05]

Using YouTube and others I found that the tune is Franz Joseph Haydn’s, and that there are other tunes for this — especially when it comes to typical, traditional Italian weddings!

[END EDIT — 2008-09-05]

The Internet is fantastic, isn’t it? This vague memory was realised within a few minutes using a search engine and a blog. Brilliant — enjoy!

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11 Responses to “O ESCA VIATORUM”

  1. tina Says:

    Dear Dave,
    Families are strange, sorry to hear about your brother and sister, but it is a lovely memory and a beautiful piece of music
    Love
    Tina

  2. Brains Says:

    sorry but thats pretty fucked up

  3. davedevine Says:

    Well, it’s not MY fault! You cannot pick your family. LOL!

  4. Brains Says:

    I am not calling you a liar, but your site here does not suggest your from white trash yet you suggest not seeing your brother and sister and there familys for years because of feuding. perhaps you exaggerite somewhat!!!

  5. davedevine Says:

    Strange as it may seem, I feel quite normal in having a dysfunctional family!

    To give you an idea of my extended family as a whole, you have to think:
    Fat, smoking, drunk single mums on sunbeds.
    Think:
    Divorce.
    Adultery.
    Teenage pregnancy.
    Homosexuality.
    Sexual abuse.
    Unemployed and on the sick – Layabouts on handouts.
    Fraud. Dodgy-dealings.
    Drug overdose. Drug dealing.
    Drunkard.
    Wife-beater.
    Violence.
    Bullying.
    Alcoholic.
    Gambling addiction.
    Bulimia.
    Anorexia.
    Bi-polar disorder.
    Paranoid schizophrenia.
    Attempted suicide.
    Special needs.
    Football.
    Religious bigotry. Sectarianism, Racism.
    Insular. Unambitious. Demotivated.
    Selfish. Crude. Foul-mouthed,
    Bad diet. Bad hair. Bad fashion.
    Tasteless. Low class, and plain ugly.

    Mind you, all this is typical of poorly-educated, talentless, rough, common, people living close together in a very small geographical area. i.e. “Normal”. innit. Meh, what can y’do (apart from avoid them of course)?

  6. Paul Says:

    White trash!! haha. Nice one. Dont listen to him brains, I have known dave 10+ yrs and he has never mentioned any family. Consider your leg well and truly pulled!

  7. Den Says:

    Hey Dave! I nearly pooped my pants with laughing! You trying to be street!?

  8. Mark Says:

    Love your blog Mr White Trash! (Wish i could understand more of it).

  9. Franco Says:

    Funny! Dave, may be you do have a lost sister but it would be her loss. I adore your website as it never fails to surprise so keep up the good work my friend

  10. Wendy Says:

    I agree: it is a lovely hymn, and while I like the story of the childhood memory, something does not ring quite true; a lost sister who sang this sort of thing is incongruous with a “white trash” background, and I would doubt very much whether Dave could come from such a family simply from looking through this site. I will admit that I enjoy personal contexts, and so I appreciate what Dave is trying to do, but I don’t think it matters too much if the tales are 100% true.

  11. mobilkonews Says:

    Добрый погода! Хотел желание обменяться ссылками со своим сайтом http://mobilkonews.ru/
    Вероятно ли?
    С уважением…
    Сергей


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