in Warden

Chapter 03 – The Bishop of Barchester

St. Cecilia

Warden Harding suggests that because of his musical skills and the bedesmen’s attitude towards them, his precinct might be especially appropriate for the worship of St. Cecilia, a patron saint of ecclesiastical music. Cecilia was a Roman Christian woman who had made a vow of chastity in her youth, but was forced to marry a nobleman when she came of age.  She managed to convert both her husband and his brother to Christianity and thereby preserve her virginity, but the trio of Christians were later martyred for their faith, sometime in the second century.  Because, at her marriage, she “sang in her heart to God” she was popularly represented in art singing or with an organ, and thus came to be related to church music over time.  [JM 2005]

Source:  Lives of the Saints. Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy.  Totowa, NJ:  Catholic Book Publishing Co, 1998.



The word “halcyon” comes from an ancient myth in which a woman named Alcyone, at the death of her husband (Ceyx) at sea, throws herself into the ocean out of grief.  The gods, taking pity on them both, change them into sea birds.  The sea bird which takes her name, the halcyon, nests on the shores, and Aeolus, the king of the winds, compassionately calms the winds during the birds’ nesting periods, giving rise to the phrase “halcyon days.”  The word “halcyon” itself has come to mean “calm” or “restful.”  [JM 2005]

Trollope usually employs “halcyon” in contexts of courtship or marriage, retaining some connotation of the mythological story with which it is connected.  Here, however, the word is used to describe the careful intimacy of Bunce and Mr. Harding.  [RR 2013]

Sources:  OED.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.410-748.



Trollope chooses to use the word “patron” here, perhaps implying that Bunce and the warden have something similar to the patron/client relationship of antiquity.   Certainly, Harding considers himself Bunce’s advocate and protector, and Bunce is clearly grateful to be so beneficently overseen.  [JM 2005]



Trollope agains seems to be setting up a patron/client situation, this time between Harding and the archdeacon Grantly.  In this scenario, Grantly is the benefactor and Harding the beneficiary; Harding is in a very real sense under the protection of the archdeacon.  [JM 2005]