Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Florebat Olim Studium

A medieval praiser of time past complained about the younger generation in an anonymous poem (Carmina Burana 6, tr. George F. Whicher) that opens as follows:
Learning that flowered in days of yore
In these our times is thought a bore.
Once knowledge was a well to drink of;
Now having fun is all men think of.
Today mere striplings grow astute
Before their beards begin to shoot --
Striplings whose truant dispositions
Are deaf to wisdom's admonitions.
Yet it was true in ages past
No scholar paused from toil at last
Nor shrunk from studies the most weighty
Till his years numbered more than eighty.

Florebat olim studium,
nunc vertitur in tedium;
iam scire diu viguit,
sed ludere prevaluit.
iam pueris astutia
contingit ante tempora,
qui per malivolentiam
excludunt sapientiam.
sed retro actis seculis
vix licuit discipulis
tandem nonagenarium
quiescere post studium.
In any generation, those devoted to scholarship are few.

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