Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Hymn to Good Health

Marcantonio Flaminio (1498-1550), Hymn to Good Health (Hymnus in Bonam Valetudinem, my translation):
Goddess hostile to dread diseases,
Always welcome to you are
Strength of mind and unyielding might
And pleasant jokes and joy of spirit:

You do we sing, mother of pleasure,      5
Cheerful companion of enticing Venus,
One and only ornament of life, and sweet
Solace from evils;

You do youths and old men worship with holy awe,
You do they desire for themselves and their loved ones,      10
For no sooner do you in your bounty visit
Frail assemblies of men than

Violent Diseases flee at once,
Harsh Fever abates, dread
Pallor retreats, and savage Death returns      15
To exile in deep Hell.

Instead homes teem with children, and vigorous
Old men assume the look of strong youth,
And Venus and Lyaeus visit the earth
Together with excellent Hymen.      20

O our rest in travail, o kindly mother
Of men, worthy of reverence by all:
Without you, what can seem pleasing,
What can seem sweet to anyone?

Come here, have pity on our suffering,      25
Whether now Heaven's court holds you,
Or whether in the Blessed Isles you
Watch pleasing dances.

At long last come here, good goddess, and
Refresh my weak limbs with a healthy breeze,      30
Lest black disease devour my youth
The Latin:
Diva funestis inimica morbis,
Cui vigor mentis, solidumque robur,
Et ioci dulces, animique semper
Gaudia cordi:

Te voluptatis canimus parentem,      5
Candidam blandae Veneris sodalem,
Unicum vitae decus, et malorum
Dulce levamen;

Quam colunt sancte iuvenes, senesque,
Quam sibi cuncti cupiunt, suisque;      10
Nam simul coetus hominum caducos
Alma revisis,

Ilicet Morbi fugiunt protervi,
Occidit Febris truculenta, dirus
Occidit Pallor, fera Mors profundo      15
Exsulat Orco:

At domus florent pueris, senesque
Induunt fortem virides iuventam,
Et Venus terras colit, et Lyaeus,
Et bonus Hymen.      20

O quies rerum, o hominum benigna
Mater, o cunctis veneranda; namque
Quid potest gratum sine te, quid ulli
Dulce videri?

Huc ades nostrum miserans laborem,      25
Sive te caeli tenet aula, sive
Insulis molles choreas beatis
Laeta frequentas.

Huc ades tandem, bona diva, et artus
Languidos aura refove salubri,      30
Ne meam tabes edat immerentis
Atra iuventam.
Related post: Hymn to Health.

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