Monday, 17 November 2014

A miracle by saint Nicolas.



Saint Nicolas has arrived in the Netherlands, bringing presents to children and adults, especially at the evening of the 5th of December. At that night he will miraculously disappear, not to be seen again till around the same time next year.  Of course there is nothing surprising about this, as this holy man is a Θαυματουργός, a performer of miracles.  This 11th century mystery-play leaves us in no doubt about the capacities of Saint Nicolas. Three clerics are abroad for study (causa discendi litteras), night is falling and they seek a place to sleep. They come at the house of an old man who lives there with a younger wife (she is both called mulier and vetula). The old man initially refuses shelter for the clerics, but at the request of his wife he does. When all three are asleep the couple notices the well-filled purses and they see their chance for overcoming their poverty: killing the clergymen and keeping the money – and so they do. But then Saint Nicolas knocks at their door. He is let in and asks for something to eat: fresh meat (carnem recentem). The old man denies having fresh meat, but the saint knows better and tells what has happened.  Saint Nicolas restores the corpses back to life and forgives the couple.

MIRACULUM SANCTI NICHOLAI.

Primus clericus.
Nos quos causa discendi litteras
Apud gentes transmisit exteras,                                 exter: foreign    
Dum sol adhuc extendit radium
Perquiramus nobis hospitium.                                                  

Secundus clericus.
Iam sol equos tenet in littore,                                    soon the sun will have at shore the horses,
Quos ad praesens merget sub aequore.    which at the moment he submerges under water.
Nec est nota nobis haec patria ;                                (present for near future) The image is a bit clumsy.
quaeri debent hospitia.  
                             
Tertius clericus.
Senem quemdam maturum moribus                         of a proper age for good manners
Hic habemus coram luminibus ;                                  in front of our eyes
Forsan, nostris compulsus precibus,                          forsan: may be; prex precis (f.): prayer
Erit hospes nobis hospitibus.                                       hospis, hospitis (m.): 1) host, 2) traveller

Insimul clerici ad senem dicant                                   insimul: at the same moment
Hospes care, quaerendo studia
Huc relicta venimus patria ;
Nobis ergo praestes hospitium,                                 praesto: to take upon one self, grant
Dum durabit hoc noctis spatium.

Senex.
Hospitetur vos Factor omnium !                 May the Maker of all receive you as guests!
Nam non dabo vobis hospitium ;
Nam nec mea in hoc utilitas.
Nec est ad hoc nunc opportunitas.

Clerici, ad vetulam .                                                      vetula: woman somewhat advanced in age
Per te, cara, sit impetrabile
Quod rogamus, etsi non utile.
Forsan, propter hoc beneficium,
Vobis Deus donabit puerum.

Mulier ad senem .-
Nos his dare, coniux, hospitium.
Qui sic vagant quaerendo studium.
Sola saltem compellat caritas ;
Nec est damnum, nec est utilitas.                               there is neither loss nor gain

Senex ad Uxorem
Acquiescam tuo consilio                                              I will comply
Et dignabor istos hospitio.                                           I will honour
(Ad clericos -.)
Accedatis, scolares, igitur.                                          accedo : to enter
Quod rogastis vobis conceditur.

Senes ad uxorem, clericis dormientibus .
Nonne vides quanta marsupia ?                                 marsupium: purs
Est in illis argenti copia.
Haec a nobis absque infamia
Possideri posset pecunia.

Vetula.
Paupertatis onus sustulimus,                                      onus oneris (n.) : burden
Mi marite, quamdiu viximus ;
Hos si morti donare volumus,
Paupertatem vitare possumus.
Evagines ergo iam gladium ;                                       evagino (are): to draw from the sheath
Namque potes, morte iacentium,                              by the death of those lying down
Esse dives quandiu vixeris ;
Atque sciet nemo quod feceris.

Nicholaus.
Peregrinus, fessus itinere,                                           fessus: tired
Ultra modo non possum tendere ;                             I can no way travel further
Huius ergo per noctis spatium
Michi praestes, precor, hospitium.

Senex ad mulierem :
An dignabor istum hospitio,
Cara coniunx, tuo consilio ?

Vetula.
Hunc persona commendat nimium,                          his appearance (persona) recommends him very
Et est dignus ut des hospitium.                                   much

Senex.
Peregrine, accede propius :                                         propius: closer
Vir videris nimis egregius ;                                           egregius: excellent
Si vis, dabo tibi comedere ;                                         comedo: to eat
Quidquam voles tentabo quaerere.                           I will try to look for

Nicholaus, ad mensam.
Nichil ex his possum comedere ;                
Carnem vellem recentem edere.



Senex.
Dabo tibi carnem quam habeo,
Namque carne recente careo.                                    careo (+abl.): to lack

Nicholaus.
Nunc dixisti plane mendacium ;                                  plane: clearly; mendacium: lie
Carnem habes recentem nimium,
Et hanc habes magna nequitia,                                  by a great wicked deed
Quam mactari fecit pecunia.                                      which to be butchered for money caused

Senex  et mulier, simul.
Miserere nostri, te petimus,
Nam te sanctum Dei cognovimus.
Nostrum scelus est abominabile,
Non est tamen incondonabile.                                   impardonnable

Nicholaus.
Mortuorum afferte corpora.
Et contrita sint vestra pectora ;                                  and your hearts must be penitent
Hi resurgent per Dei gratiam ;
Et vos flendo quaeratis veniam.                                

Oratio Sancti Nicholai.
Pie Deus, cuius sunt omnia,
Coelum, tellus, aer, et maria,
Ut resurgant isti praecipias,                                        and order that
Et hos ad te clamantes audias.

Et post OMNIS CHORUS dicat :
Te Deum laudamus, etc.

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