Monday, June 10, 2013


Deus Venter Est

Carmina Burana, no. 211 Hilka and Schumann, tr. George F. Whicher:
Epicurus loudly cries:
"A well-stuffed belly satisfies."
Belly's my god, and I his slave,
Such a god our palates crave,
With a kitchen for a shrine—
Ah, that incense is divine!

Here's a proper god at last.
No time is his time to fast;
Every morning ere he sups
He is belching in his cups,
And his liquor and his food
Are his true beatitude.

Lust for guzzling he indulges,
Like a leathern flask he bulges;
Lunch prolongs itself to dinner,
Hence his cheeks are never thinner
But are laced with many a vein.
Appetite is still his chain.

Strict religious exercise
Causes Belly's gorge to rise:
Inward qualms make Belly roar,
As when wine with mead makes war;
Life is happy, life is easy,
Just so Belly be not queasy.

Belly says: "I care for nought
Save myself; my only thought
Is to vegetate in quiet
Tending to my proper diet;
Give me but meat and drink, with those
Secure I sleep, serene repose."
The Latin:
Alte clamat Epicurus:
venter satur est securus;
venter deus meus erit,
talem deum gula querit,
cuius templum est coquina,
in qua redolent divina.

Ecce deus opportunus,
nullo tempore ieiunus,
ante cibum matutinum
ebrius eructat vinum,
cuius mensa et cratera
sunt beatitudo vera.

Cutis eius semper plena
velut uter et lagena;
iungit prandium cum cena,
unde pinguis rubet gena,
et si quando surgit vena,
fortior est quam catena.

Sic religionis cultus
in ventre movet tumultus:
rugit venter in agone,
vinum pugnat cum medone;
vita felix, otiosa,
circa ventrem operosa.

Venter inquit: "Nihil curo
preter me; sic me procuro,
ut in pace in id ipsum
molliter gerens me ipsum
super potum, super escam
dormiam et requiescam."
Another translation, by James J. Wilhelm:
Epicurus cries aloud:
"A belly full is surer.
Belly is my own true god—
Throat is his procurer;
Kitchen is his sacred shrine
Where are fragrant goods divine.

"Behold! this god is awfully good;
Fasts he does not cherish;
And before the morning food.
There's a burp of sherry;
To him tables and big bowls
Are the truly heavenly goals.

"Yes, his flesh is always bulging
Like a bloated jug of sack:
Ruby cheeks show his indulging;
Lunch meets dinner back to back;
When his desire stirs the veins
It is stronger than a chain."

This religious cult expresses
Devotion in its its belched excesses;
Belly folds in agony;
Beer is battling burgundy;
Yet life is blessed with much leisure
When its center's belly's pleasure.

Belly speaks now: "Not one damn
Care I for anything but me;
I just quietly want to jam
Plenty of stuff inside of me,
And then above the chow and wine
To sleep, to rest in peace divine."

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