I have a weak spot for mediaeval Latin, actually for the Middle Ages as a whole. The centre of the town I live is dominated by two late mediaeval churches and almost every town or hamlet in my province has a church from at least 1400. The physical nearness of such buildings serves as a kind of bridge overlapping ages. I have read with reading club Das Nibelungenlied, Dante’s Inferno and a mediaeval chronicle written in a monastery nearby. So now and then I read texts in Middle English and Middle Dutch and I am now trying to decipher Beowulf. Maybe I am a reincarnation of some vagans scholasticus: reading, writing, pubs and good company.
The following poem is from the Carmina Burana. A lover declares his unconditional love for a girl and any tongue saying otherwise is lying! Our ardent lover swears by all pagan gods that he will love her and only when a reversal of the natural order shall appear, he will stop loving her. But wait: this poem was written by a Christian author, so calling upon pagan gods with no existence outside literature is misleading! I guess he vowed to these gods with every new love.
This poem hardly needs a vocabulary and commentary, but in case someone likes to use it for teaching purposes, feel free to use it.
Carmina Burana 117
Lingua mendax et dolosa, false ; deceitful (full of dolus `deceit’)
lingua procax, venenosa, bold, insolent ; venomous
lingua digna detruncari to be cut off
et in igne concremari, to be burnt
Que me dicit deceptorem que = quae ; deciever
et non fidum amatorem,
quam amabam, dimisisse to have sent away
et ad alteram transisse! alteram (puellam) : to have gone to
Sciat deus, sciant dei:
non sum reus huius rei! guilty of
sciant dei, sciat deus:
huius rei non sum reus!
Unde iuro Musas novem, therefore ; to vow, swear; nine
quod et maius est, per Iovem, greater
qui pro Dane sumpsit auri, Dane = Danae ; took the form of
in Europa formam tauri; in Europa = pro Europa
Jupiter went after Danae in the form of golden rain and after Europa as a bull.
Danae is a Greek name (Δανάη) and hence has no ablative. Note that the ae in Danae is dissyllabic (Danaë), but this pronunciation was not recognized in Mediaeval Latin.
Iuro Phebum, iuro Martem, Phebum = Apollo
qui amoris sciant artem; Mars had an affair with Venus. Apollo had a lot.
iuro quoque te, Cupido,
arcum cuius reformido; bow; to fear
Arcum iuro cum sagittis, arrows
quas frequenter in me mittis:
sine fraude, sine dolo
fedus hoc servare volo! fedus = foedus
Volo fedus observare!
et ad hec dicemus, quare: hec = haec ; why
inter choros puellarum
nichil vidi tam preclarum. nichil = nihil; such a beautiful thing (neuter!)
The re in quare is long in in Classical Latin, but not Mediaeval Latin.
Inter quas appares ita
ut in auro margarita. pearl
humeri, pectus et venter shoulders (umeri) ; breast ; belly
sunt formata tam decenter;
Frons et gula, labra, mentum forehead ; neck ; lips ; chin
dant amoris alimentum; amoris `to my love’(gen. ob.) ; nourishment
crines eius adamavi, hair
quoniam fuere flavi. because ; fuere = fuerunt ; blond
Ergo dum nox erit dies, until
et dum labor erit quies,
et dum aqua erit ignis,
et dum silva sine lignis, forrest ; wood
Et dum mare sine velis, sails
et dum Parthus sine telis, missiles, arrows
cara michi semper eris: michi = mihi
nisi fallar, non falleris! I will be cheated
The Parthi (Persians) were famous for their bows. Of course this topos is taken from classical literature.