Naughty songs of the Goliards
Medieval Europe is often referred to as the age of faith. However, assuming that the thought and action of these centuries were completely dominated by the Church gives a one-sided view. The secular poetry of the Goliards marks an early protest against the excesses of the Church, much like Bob Dylan and the literature of the Beat generation were protests against the 1950s.
The Goliards were disaffected 12th century university students and clergy who wrote (forbidden) love songs, drinking and gambling songs, satires, and parodies. The best known work is the Carmina Burana, a collection of Latin poetry discovered at the abbey of Benediktbeurn in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, south of Munich. The abbey was founded in 733; the songs and poems were from the
11th century. Here are two of my favorites.
Let’s Away with Study
Let's away with study,
Treasure all the pleasure
Of our youth:
Time enough for age
To think on truth.
So short a day,
And life so quickly hasting,
And in study wasting
Youth that would be gay!
Pastime With Good Company (In Taberna Quando Sumus)
When we are in the tavern,
We don’t worry about mortality,
But we hasten to have a good time,
at which we always work up a sweat...
First they toast the wealth of wine,
and drink of it very freely;
Next, a toast to those in prison,
After that, a toast to those still living,
Fourth, a toast to all good Christians,
Fifth, a toast to friends departed,
Sixth, a toast to false and fickle nuns,
Seventh, a toast to soldiers of the forest,
Eighth, a toast to crooked friars,
Ninth, a toast to monks disbanded,
Tenth, a toast to sailors at sea,
Eleventh, a toast to troublemakers,
Twelfth, a toast to penitents,
Thirteenth, a toast to those on journeys,
And at the last to King and Pope
We all inordinately tope.
The mistress drinks, the master drinks,
The soldier drinks, the cleric drinks,
He drinks, she drinks,
The servant drinks with the serving maid.
Drinks the swift and drinks the slothful,
Fair or dark, they all drink too,
The faithful drinks, the fickle drinks,
The ignorant lout, the man of letters.
The poor man drinks, the rich man too,
The exiled and the unknown do,
The boy-child drinks, so does the dog,
The dancer and the singer drink,
The sister drinks, the brother drinks,
The granny drinks, the mother drinks,
She drinks, he drinks
A hundred drink, a thousand drink.