A Medieval Latin Song
I’m currently working on an article discussing a rare fragment of medieval Latin. It was only discovered in the 1970s, scribbled in the margins of a 10th century manuscript of Horace at a monastery outside Cologne. What’s striking about it (to me at least) is its sheer modernity - it eschews traditional quantitative meter entirely, and instead maintains poetic coherence by heavy use of anaphora and parallelism, not unlike, say, Walt Whitman. Here are the first two stanzas:
O iuvenis, non necesse est lugere;
O iuvenis, inquam, temet leva de solo.
O iuvenis, inquam, quoniam in novo oppido es
Non necesse est sine laetitia vitam degere.
O iuvenis, est quo ire
O iuvenis, inquam, cum pecunia eges.
Ibi habitare licet, et non dubito quin
Multos modos gaudendi reperturus sis.
If you’d like to hear the poem performed aloud, with period-appropriate musical accompaniment, you can view this video: