Thursday, 23 May 2013

Come asap my love!

The library of humanities of the University of Groningen, the place where I live, has to remove almost all its books to a central depot, so that hundreds of pc’s can be installed for students. The managers of the university library have decided that books are old-fashioned and that everything can be found on internet. This argument is too stupid to argue with. The only advantage is that doublets are sold for 1 euro, also recent books which have cost 100 euro or more! Thus far I have acquired a couple of editions of Middle High German, Old Norse, Gothic and Old Saxon texts and secondary studies. I did a minor in old Germanic languages and culture once, but don’t ask me to read and translate fluently Gothic or Old Norse now. But of course I can’t wait till classical and Sanskrit texts will be sold! I also bought a copy of the Carmina Cantabrigiensia.  This is a collection of songs found in a single manuscript. At some places the parchment is damaged and so the text is illegible. The manuscript was found at Cambridge, but the songs itself are from Germany, Italy and France. Probably a wandering scholar took these songs with him. The collection was written down around 1066. All poems were meant to be sung and I found an mp3 download, for which see below!
From the following song other copies exists with some different verses. In the Cambridge manuscript verse 7 is too damaged to read, but there are two alternatives in other manuscripts.

Carmen XXVII
Invitatio amicae.

Iam dulcis amica venito,
quam sicut cor meum diligo;
[intra in cubiculum m]eum
ornamen[tis cunctis] ornatum.

venito: 2nd and 3rd imp. fut.
cubiculum: bedroom

Ibi sunt sedilia strata
atque velis domus parata,
floresque in [domo] sparguntur
herbeque flagrantes miscentur.

sedile: bench, chair
sterno stravi stratum: spread out, arranged, prepared (As the irregular forms indicate, the word is very old and goes back to Indo-European. It is related to English to strew. All verbs of the 3rd conjugation go back to an I.E. root and have cognates in other I.E. languages, but the relation is not always clear to the non-specialist due to shifts in sounds)
velum: curtain, veil
domus: female gender!
spargo sparsi sparsum: to strew, throw here and there

Est ibi mensa apposita
universis cibis honusta,
ibi clarum vinum habundat
et quidquid [te], cara, delectat.

cibus: food
honustus = onustus: loaded with
habundo = abundo: to abound

Ibi sonant dulces simphonie
inflantur et altius tibie,
ibi puer et docta puella
canunt <tibi> cantica pulchra.

simphonia = symphonia: melody
inflo: to blow
altius: higher
tibia: flute
docta puella: note that the girl is learned. Indeed girls are more prone to learning than boys, but I wonder if the poet was aware of that or that docta is just inserted metri causa

H[ic cum] plectro cith[aram tan]git,
illa melos cum lira pangit,
portantque ministri pateras
pigmentatis p[oc]ulis plenas.

hic: the boy
Illa: the girl
melos (n): tune (it is a Greek loan-word)
pango panxi panctum: to compose, play
patera: dish
pigmentatus: painted

«Ego fui sola in silva
et dilexi loca secreta
fugique frequentius turbam
atque . . . . . plebis catervam.

Sung by the girl
caterva: mob, crowd

U . s . p . l . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . que silenti . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . [t]umul[tum]
. . . . . . . populum [mul]tum.

7 Ms. P
[Iam nix glaciesque liquescit,
folium et herba virescit,
philomela iam cantat in alto,
ardet amor cordis in antro.]

verses  7 – 10 are sung by the boy
nix nivis (f): snow (these words are cognate too.)
liquesco: to become liquid, melt
viresco: to become green
philomela: nightingale
cordis in antro: in the depth of my heart

7 Ms. V
Karissima, noli tardare;
studeamus nos nunc amare,
sine te non potero vivere:
iam decet amorem perficere.

tardo: to be slow, delay

Non [me iuvat tantum con]vivium
qu[antum predulce c]olloquium,
[nec rerum tantarum uber]tas
[ut] clara fam[iliaritas.]»

convivium: company
ubertas –tatis (f): richness
colloquium (tibi)
clara familiaritas: your delightful nearness

Quid [iuvat differre, e]lecta,
que sunt [tamen post facienda!]
Fa[c cita,] quod eris [factura,]
[in me non est aliqua] mora.

Quid iuvat differre, electa, que sunt tamen post facienda!: It pleases to delay that, you chosen one, which can also be done later. (A maxim many students still adhere to today.)
quod eris factura: what you have to do. (the clause is unclassical Latin)
mora: delay

[Iam nunc veni, soror electa]
ac om<nibus> . . . . . . . d[ilecta,]
lux mee clara pupille
[parsque maior anime mee.]

Here is a translation by Peter Dronke, but from a somewhat different text:


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