Sunday, October 2, 2011

Every shower, dew and memorization difficulty, bless the Lord!

I don't think dew praises God more thorouoghly than it does when sitting on a spider web.

But "dew" in the Canticle of Daniel that we pray every other Sunday morning gets me confused. I've tried to years to learn this canticle by heart, and I've got most of it, because there is a logical progression to the various things, creatures, and humans that are called on to praise and exult God above all forever.

But "dew" is used twice. Every shower and dew bless the Lord is the first of the "weather" verses. Then, fours lines later, there's Dew and rain, bless the Lord. So every time I try to recite the canticle from memory, I guess wrong on which line starts with the word "dew".  So I'm wondering why the word "dew" had to be in there twice. Maybe in Hebrew there are two different words for dew, just as in Inuit there are many different words for snow.

The point of trying for so many years to memorize this canticle, is I'd like to learn all of Sunday morning week I to use as a kind of default morning prayer, so that whenever I have to leave home in the morning without having prayed, I can recite this one while driving. The other psalms were a cinch to learn.  But this dew thing keeps me stumbling on the canticle.

Does anyone else have this problem?


  1. Guessing from context that the first one is your ordinary morning dew and the second one is what we'd call "drizzle."

  2. That's a possible explanation. I looked up the Latin and noticed two different forms of the word, "ros" in the first line, and "rores" in the second. But I don't know much Latin, so don't know what the distinction is.

  3. "ros" would be singular "rores" plural. So "dew" and "dews". Not that I'm sure exactly what difference that makes. I can ask my sister if she can look up the Hebrew and see if it sheds any light on the question.

    I haven't tried to memorize this one but I think I'd be tripped up by the two occurrences of "chill" as well: "cold and chill" and then "frost and chill". Though on the one hand I can totally understand why three guys in a furnace would mention cold so many times, I've often wondered at what the different Hebrew words were and what all the distinctions are in the Hebraic mind among all those variations of cold.