Cancionero de Ripoll- In April time…
In April time, when the wood is decked green
and the field with rosy flowers is dressed,
tender youth is enflamed with love.
Enflamed with love is tender youth,
all the little birds sing out together
and the wild blackbird calls sweetly.
Then Love comes out to battle with his mother Venus
and does not stop flexing his ebony bow
in order to extend his mother’s dominions.
Coming back from the hunt at that time of year,
with the sun going down to set in the west,
I started to call for my wandering dogs.
Looking around I could not find them,
which gave me no small sadness
so I did not stop seeking them.
Whilst I was looking, the son of Venus
leaning on his bow looking like a god,
asked: “Where are you going, my lovely boy?
Once more the quivers of Diana are broken,
from now on Cupid’s bow is the one to use,
so I advise you to stop worrying now.
To stop worrying is my advice to you now.
It is not right to hunt at times like this;
It is much better to be at play.
Perhaps you do not know of Cupid’s games?
It would be a great shame if such a fine youth
were not to play well in the court of Venus.
If you should once play in her game of love,
for nothing else would you ever give it up,
but forever faithfully serve her in your mind.”
Hearing his words, I was shaken to the core,
as though in great fear I fell to the ground:
and so a new flame burst out inside me.
This curious Goliard song from the Cancionero de Ripoll talks about love without talking about the beloved in any way at all! The Goliards were wandering scholars or clerici vagantes famous for their drinking songs and love songs. The Carmina Rivapullensia or Songbook of Ripoll, however, was put together in a monastery. Perhaps the wandering scholar of this song stopped his wandering at Ripoll; or could it be that he is imagining the whole thing?
I have two versions of the song. One is in Locus Amoenus, Carlos Alvar and Jenaro Talens eds (Galaxia Gutenberg: Barcelona, 2009) and the other is in Poesía Goliárdica, tr. Miguel Requena (Acantilado: Barcelona, 2003). I am going to put the Latin version of the first edition here with the variations of Requena in square brackets, because they are not quite the same.
Aprilis tempore, quo nemus frondibus
et pratum roseis ornatur floribus,
iuuentus tenera feruet amoribus.
Feruet amoribus iuuentus tenera,
pie cum concinit omnis auicula,
et cantat dulciter siluestris merula.
Amor tunc militat cum matre Venere,
arcus heburneos non cessat flectere, [arcum eburneum]
ut matris ualeat regnum extendere.
Venatu rediens eodem tempore,
sol cum descenderat uergente cardine, [descenderet]
errantes catulos cepi requirere.
Quos circumspeciens nusquam reperio,
unde non modicum sed satis doleo;
non cessans igitur perditos querito.
Illos dum querito, filius Veneris,
in arce residens ad instar numinis, [in arcu residens]
inquit: “quo properas, dilecte iuuenis?
Diane pharetre fracte sunt denuo,
arcus Cupidinis sumetur amodo;
laborem itaque dimittas moneo.
Dimittas moneo laborem itaque;
non est conueniens hoc tali tempore
venari; potius debemus ludere. [Veneri potius…]
Ignoras forsitan ludos Cupidinis,
sed ualde dedecet, si talis iuuenis
non ludit sepius in aula Veneris.
Si semel luseris in eius curia,
non eam deseres ulla penuria,
illi sed seruies mente continua.”
Ad cuius monitus totus contremui,
uelut exterritus ad terram cecidi;
sic nouis ignibus statim incalui.