Loreena McKennitt - Dante's prayer

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire


Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares


Please remember me
Please remember me, ...

Loreena writes in the CD-booklet about this song (compare the introduction to the CD):

December 17, 1995, Trans-Siberian Railway:
It is now Day 5 on this train journey across wintry Siberia. Travelling alone, it is strange not to be able to have a conversation with anyone, but one learns how much can be conveyed through actions, body language, a look in the eye... I saw some men on the platform today and one resembled my father. He had reddish hair and a long, very Celtic-looking face I would have expected to see in Ireland, not Russia... I am reminded again of the Celtic exhibition in Venice and the suggestion that the Celts may have originated in the Russian steppes. Perhaps the love of horses which began there is the very same that can be seen in County Kildare today.

December 18, 1995, Trans-Siberian Railway:
Dante's The Devine Comedy keeps running through my mind as I gaze out at the landscape passing before me, thinking of the people who inhabit it and how they share this human condition... Are we helping or hurting each other?... How has the West come to this place of transition? Honourably? What are we bringing them? What are their expectations? Are our lives really what they imagine? We always want to believe there is a place better than our own...

The last page of the CD-booklet writes this about the chanting part at the beginning of the song:
"Dante's Prayer" includes an excerpt of "Alleluia, Behold The Bridegroom" from the album Russian Easter performed by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir and conducted by Nikolai Korniev, courtesy of Philips Classics Production.
The album Russian Easter is from 1996; the same song appears also on the various artists album Sacred Treasures III (2000) [cf. this page]. Videos with photos and sound can be found here and here on YouTube. The Dutch "Byzantine Mens Choir Friesland" also performed it; see here.  

music and lyrics: Loreena McKennitt
From: The book of secrets (1997).

A live version appears on Live in Paris and Toronto (1999)
and on Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2019).

The song can also be found on The journey so far - The Best of Loreena McKennitt (2014).

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last modified: 11 January 2020