Saturday, 22 March 2014


Many Mediaeval Latin secular songs contain parodies of ecclesiastical hymns. This drinking song begins with the first line of a sixth century hymn for the morning office and stanza 5 is a parody of the last line of the Athanasian Creed. The song is simple, which must be, as it admonishes to drink all day, though I am not sure how it would be performed at the end of hours of drinking, simple as it is…

Iam lucis orto sidere,
statim oportet bibere:
bibamus nunc egregie
et rebibabus hodie.

Quicumque vult esse frater,
bibat semel, bis, ter, quater:
bibat semel et secundo,
donec nihil sit in fundo.

Bibat ille, bibat illa,
bibat servus et ancilla,
bibat hera, bibat herus,
ad bibendum nemo serus.

potatoribus pro cunctis,
pro captivis et defunctis,
pro imperatore et papa,
bibo vinum sine aqua.

Haec est fides potatica,
sociorum spes unica,
qui bene non potaverit,
salvus esse non poterit.

Longisima potatio
sit nobis salutatio:
et duret ista ratio
per infinita secula.


Iam lucis orto sidere: abl. abs.: now the star of light has arisen.
egregie: exceedingly
fundus: bottom (Ad fundum is still used when someone – mostly a student – drinks his or her glass in one draught.)
herus/hera: master, lord/ mistress, lady (In classical Latin without h. The word herus is not related to German Herr.)
serus: late (nemo serus sit.)
potator –oris (m.): drinker
pro defunctis: alludes to the missa pro defunctis, the requiem mass.
sine aqua: normally wine was mixed with water.
Haec…poterit:  cf. the end of the Athanasian creed: Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit. `This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.’
fides potatica: the drinking faith
poto potavi potum: to drink
salutatio –onis (f.): not `greeting’ here, but `salvation’.
duro (durare): to continue
per infinita secula: for ever

No comments:

Post a comment