So this song, “Tempus Adest Floridum,” is the origin of the tune for “Old King Wenceslas.” However, as you’ll notice from the title and from the song’s content it has nothing to do with old King Wenceslas.
You can find the full song in its original Latin here.
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First my literal translation:
The time for flowers now is come, for the flowers rise up.
Spring in all things, the likeness/copy of nature.
This which ice had attacked, has recovered warmth.
We all see this weeping, by great work.
And my dolled up translation (with some rhyme):
The time for flowers now is come, for the flowers now arise.
All things now are of the spring, nature’s likeness is in all eyes.
This which winter once had attacked, has regained its fire;
We all see winter’s weeping, since spring has perspired.
The issues that came up for me during this translation were relatively minor, just a few issues with words not being in my Collins Pocket Gem dictionary. The words in question?
“Vernales” (an adjective meaning “of Spring” was the worst); “Cerno” (ere, crevi, cretum; a verb meaning to see, discern, understand, perceive, etc.); and “fleo” (ere, evi, etum; a verb meaning to weep, cry, lament, mourn for) were close seconds since I had to twist things around to make good sense of it all.
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Obviously, I took some liberties with the second use of “hoc” (“this”) to bring in Winter again, but I like the personification of the seasons to which this song gives rise.
It isn’t direct personification, necessarily, but the conceit definitely helps to make the translation more fun. And, since the original image seems to be that of icicles dripping (hence weeping), making winter the weeper seems appropriate.
The conquest of spring also makes it a more joyous song, even if that joy is derived from conquest.
Though I must admit that a pop song about Spring coming in and ruining Winter’s shit might be fun as well, the cycle of nature can be pretty brutal after all.
“Transpire” could also have worked as the final word of the verse, but I think that spring is generally a wet season, and “perspire” is a wetter word. It also implies that much more effort was used, and if a season is going to be made to weep I imagine that even another season is going to need to break a sweat.
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So that’s verse one of “Tempus Adest Floridum.” Expect verse two next week.