Within a few weeks students at universities will have their well-deserved holiday and can put their books aside for eight weeks. The end of an academic year is not only a relief for modern students, but also for their consocii in the Middle Ages. No wonder that a number of mediaeval student songs address this theme: time for Venus and Bacchus! The following song is an example of this, but unfortunately the melody is not or just poorly notated. Between the lines it gives us also a glimpse of the poor conditions of students. They had to pay cash for every lecture, so little money was left for food and drink. Only during the period the universities were closed they could afford wine: Bacchus instead of Neptune (= water) and away with tristis ieiunus! Till the university opens again…
Carmina Burana 162
quid vobis videtur?
leta Venus ad nos iam ingredietur,
illam chorus Dryadum sequetur.
O vos socii,
tempus est iocundum,
redeunt in mundum;
ergo congaudete, cetum letabundum
tempus salutantes <ob> iocundum.
quem dea pre cunctis amplexatur unum,
quia tristem spernit et ieiunum.
ius est omnibus,
qui volunt beari;
que dant eccellenti populo scolari,
ut amet et faciat amari.
cetus hic imbutus
exturbetur autem laicus ut brutus!
nam ad artem surdus est et mutus.
As a bonus this song in Middle-high German
Svoziv vrowe min,
la mih des geniezen:
du bist min ovgenschin.
Venus wil mih schiezen!
nu la mih, chuniginne, diner minne niezen!
ia nemag mih nimmer din uerdriezen.
My sweet lady,
let my enjoy this;
you are the shine of my eyes.
Venus wants to shoot me!
Now let me, queen, have your love!
Yes, I can never have enough of you!
(may be lines 2 and 4 must be exchanged.)
quid vobis videtur: what are your plans (some scholars read nobis for vobis)
negotium: affair, business
adopto: to choose
ingredior ingressus: to approach
leta = laeta
chorus Dryadum: choire of Nymphs, i.e. a band of maids
cetus = coetus: a coming together, (sexual) union, company (so in 5.2)
letabundus: full of joy
ob must be inserted, both for metrical reasons and for making sense of tempus iocundum, so salutantes cetum letabundum ob tempus iocundum
Neptunum: as the god of the sea, he is stand for water
applico: to join
prae cunctis: above all others
amplexo: to embrace
sperno sprevi spretum (-ere): to despise
ieiunus: fasting (to be taken with tristem)
numen numinis (n.): god
famulor: to serve
beor: to be happy
que = quae
eccellenti = excellenti: thanks to their learning students and scholars felt superior to the uneducated masses, as is lo clear in stanza 5
imbutus: steeped in
exturbo (-are): to expel, thrust out
ut brutus: as being stupid
artem: i.e. the art of love