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Life of Our Most Holy Father St. Benedict
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CHAPTER XVIII.

In what order the psalms are to be said.

In the day Hours, let the verse “O God incline unto mine aid, O Lord make haste to help me,” always be said first, and after it a “Gloria.” Then the hymn proper to each Hour. On Sundays, at Prime, there must be said four divisions of the hundred-and-eighteenth Psalm. At the rest of the Hours, to wit, at Tierce, Sext and None, let there be said three divisions of the same hundred-and-eighteenth Psalm. But on Monday at Prime, let three psalms be said, that is, the first, second, and sixth. In the same way at Prime, let three psalms be said in order every day, till Sunday, as far as the nineteenth Psalm: yet in such a way that the ninth and seventeenth Psalms be divided into two “Glorias.” Thus it will fall out that on Sunday at Matins we shall always begin from the twentieth Psalm.

At Tierce, Sext, and None, on Mondays, let the remaining nine divisions of the hundred-and-eighteenth Psalm be said, three at a time, during these same Hours. On two days therefore, to wit, Sunday and Monday, the hundred-and-eighteenth Psalm being gone through, let the psalms at Tierce, Sext, and None, on Tuesdays be sung in order, three at a time, from the hundred-and nineteenth to the hundred-and-twentyseventh, that is nine psalms. These psalms are always to be repeated at the same Hours for the rest of the week till Sunday; a uniform order also of the hymns, lessons, and versicles, being sung every day observed, so that every Sunday they may being with the hundred-and-eighteenth Psalm.

Even song is to be sung every day with four psalms, which are to begin from the hundred-and-ninth, and go on to the hundred-and-forty-seventh, such only being excepted as are set apart for other Hours, that is, from the hundred-and-seventeenth, to the hundred-and-twenty-seventh, and from the hundred-and-thirty-third to the hundred-and-forty-second; all the rest are to be said in Even-song. And because there fall three psalms short, those of the aforesaid number that are longer, must be divided, that is, the hundred-and-thirty-eighth, the hundred-and-forty third, and the hundred-and-forty-fourth. But let the hundred-and-sixteenth, because it is short, be joined with the hundred-and-fifteenth.

The order, therefore, of the psalms for Evensong being set down, let other matters such as lessons, responsories, hymns, versicles, and canticles, be arranged as before. At Complin let the same psalms be repeated every day: the is, the fourth, ninetieth, and the hundred-and-thirty-third. The order of the day office being thus disposed of, let all the psalms which remain be equally portioned out into seven Night-Watches, or Matins, and such of them as are too long, divided into two. Let twelve psalms be appointed for every night. If this arrangement and distribution of the psalms displease anyone, let him, if he think good, order them otherwise, provided however he take care, that every week the whole psalter of one hundred-and-fifty psalms be sung; and that on Sunday at Matins, they begin it again; for Monks show themselves to be over negligent and indevout, who do not in the course of a week sing over the psalter with the usual canticles, since we read that our holy Fathers courageously performed in one day, what, God grant, that we who are negligent and tepid, may perform in a whole week.

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