Friday, November 01, 2019


Florebat Olim Studium

Carmina Burana 6, lines 1-20 (tr. David Parlett):
Once learning flourished. Now it's come
to be condemned as tedium:
the days of thirsting after truth
are now the idle days of youth.

For students hardly in their prime
find themselves wise before their time:
they know it all — impertinence
replaces plain intelligence.

In days gone by we were required
to stick with study: none retired,
or wished himself to be released,
till ninety years of age at least.

Now lads of barely a decade
can graduate — get themselves made
professors too! And who's to mind
how blind the blind who lead the blind?

So fledgelings soar upon the wing,
so donkeys play the lute and sing:
bulls dance about at court like sprites
and ploughboys sally forth as knights.

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.

at nunc decennes pueri
decusso iugo liberi
se nunc magistros iactitant,
ceci cecos precipitant,

implumes aves volitant,
brunelli chordas incitant,
boves in aula salitant,
stive precones militant.
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich), Clm 4660, fol. 44v:

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