Category Archives: A word from Leo

Carmina Burana 211: My belly is my god!


Whenever the Carmina Burana is mentioned, the music by Carl Orff will come to mind. It is less known that Orff only orchestrated 24 of the 228 songs and that many of these songs have their own musical notation in the manuscript of the Carmina Burana. This song was not selected by Orff.
Song nr 211 is a parody on excessive eating and drinking, but I think that for many people in the Middle Ages this would have been a dream come true, as there were often food shortages. It is therefore not surprising that the idea of  the land of Cockaigne, in which one only had te open the mouth and fried chickens were flying in, was much cherised at that time. Try to imagine that all of a sudden a person  from the Middle Ages would be here: where would he run to? Indeed: the Mcdonnalds!
Here is a live performance of this song by a Serbian early music group:

Unfortunately, I was unable to find an english translation on the internet. Is anyone able or willing to make a poetic translation in english?

1.
Alte clamat Epicurus:
«venter satur est securus.
venter deus meus erit.
talem deum gula querit,
cuius templum est coquina,
in qua redolent divina.»
2.
Ecce deus opportunus,
nullo tempore ieiunus,
ante cibum matutinum
ebrius eructat vinum,
cuius mensa et cratera
sunt beatitudo vera.
3.
Cutis eius semper plena
velut uter et lagena;
iungit prandium cum cena,
unde pinguis rubet gena,
et, si quando surgit vena,
fortior est quam catena.
4.
Sic religionis cultus
in ventre movet tumultus,
rugit venter in agone,
vinum pugnat cum medone;
vita felix otiosa,
circa ventrem operosa.
5.
Venter inquit: «nichil curo
preter me. sic me procuro,
ut in pace in id ipsum
molliter gerens me ipsum
super potum, super escam
dormiam et requiescam.»
alte                 from afar
Epicurus: Greek philosopher (341 – 270), unfairly accused of hedonism by his opponents, – under whom Cicero –  but as his writings are largely lost, it was believed to be true.
venter, ventris                       stomach, belly
satur ura urum                       full
securus           untroubled, cheerful (se = sine, curus from cura)
talis                 such
gula                 throat
quero = quaero          to ask, strive (supply esse)
deum, cuius
coquina           kitchen
redoleo           to smell (from red-oleo, not re-doleo!)
opportunus     convenient, usefull, agreeable (somehow there must be a more fitting                           translation for this word within this context, tell me if you have a brilliant               idea!)
ieiunus            fasting
cibum matutinum       an early meal
ebrius             drunk
eructo (1)        to vomit
mensa             table
cratera            wine-bowl
beatitudo vera            the true beatitude was of course the devotion to a religious life and the reward in heaven.
cutis, cutis      skin
uter, utris       a bag or bottle made of an animal’s hide, a skin for wine, oil, water, etc
lagena             a large earthen vessel with a neck and handles, a flask, flagon, bottle:
iungit prandium cum cena the American way of life?
iungo iunxi iuctum         to connect ( from the same root as english `yoke’)
prandium        breakfast
cena                dinner
unde                in classical Latin `from which (place)’, but here `till’
pinguis            fat
rubeo              to become red
gena                cheek(s) (in classical Latin the plural is more common)
si quando        when
surgo              to arise, swell
vena                here: penis (vena originally means `tube, `pipe’)
fortior             stronger
catena             chain
rugio               to roar
agon –onis      battle
medo, -onis     non classical Latin, but a loan word from Germanic `mead       ‘, an alcoholic              honey   beverage (there is a Latin root MAD as  in madeoand madesco `to                  become  wet’, `to become drunk’, but this is not connected with the Proto Indo                         – European root . *medh-u- `honey’. This root has survived in Germanic, Greek              Sanskrit and some other languages, but not in Latin. From personal experience                       I can tell that the Indo-European ancestors of the Romans were right in                               prefering wine and forgetting all about mead.
vita felix otiosa, circa ventrem operosa `What a happy life, doing nothing (otiosa), is                                  busy (operosa) around belly’ operosa goes grammatically with vita, but of                         course the belly is busy.
inquit              is saying
nichil curo preter me = nihil curo praeter me `I care for nothing, except for my self’
sic me procuro,
ut in pace in id ipsum
molliter gerens me ipsum
super potum, super escam
dormiam et requiescam
The Latin is not difficult, but unclassical. Literally: so I take care (procuro), that in peace handling myself gently after drink and food, I will sleep and rest.
Line 3 and 6 are taken from Psalm 4:9:
The in id  ipsum is a bit problematic. It is a literal translation of a hebrew word meaning `together’, `at once’, a particle implying that  both actions take place at the same time, but in Latin it gives little sence.
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under A word from Leo, Leo, Uncategorized