Sant Pau del Camp is the oldest church in Barcelona, in the sense that it displays the most ancient visible elements to the visitor. It is small, at least by the standards of other Romanesque buildings in Catalunya. With its squat octagonal tower and rough walls, it looks more like a country church than a city one - and that is what it was, for in the twelfth century it stood well out in the fields beyond the city walls. Its compact facade speaks of theological determination: the crude bas-reliefs of the Evangelists - Saint Mark as a lion, for instance - and the hand of God the Father sculpted in a roundel above them, his fingers pointing to indicate the world he has just made and the invisible world beyond the visible one; the weird little masks beneath the corbels, much eroded by time; and on either side of the portal, two columns made up of seventh and eighth-century fragments (capitals, shafts, bases, none of them matching) that were all that survived of an earlier Christian chapel, dug out of its site.
- Robert Hughs
"Al punt C'om Naix, Comença de Morir" - Pere March, Troubadour poet, 1338-1413.
Al punt com naix comença de morir
e, morin, creix e, creixen, mor tot dia.
c'un pauch momen no sesa de far via
ne per menjar ne jaser ne dormir
tro per edat mor e descrex a massa,
tant qu'aysi vay al terme ordenat,
ab dol, ab gaug ab mal, ab sanitat,
mas pus avant del terme nulh hom passa.
"When Man Is Born, He Starts at Once to Die" (Translation)
When man is born he starts at once to die
and dying, grows and growing, dies each day.
Not for an instant does he cease to travel
not for a meal not to lie down or sleep
until the age he dies and leaves his life:
and so he goes to his appointed end,
in pain, in joy in sickness and in health,
but beyond that no living man can go.
A short video I shot on site, accompanied by Jordi Savall's haunting medieval lira strings!