1. Meum est propositum in taberna mori|
ubi vina proxima morientis ori.
Tunc cantabunt laetius angelorum chori:
Deus sit propitius isti potatori, isti potatori.
2. Poculis accenditur animi lucerna,
cor inbutum nectare volat ad superna.
Mihi sapit dulcius vinum de taberna,
quam quod aqua miscuit praesulis pincerna.
3. Jejunant et abstinent poetarum chori,
vitant rixas publicas et tumultus fori,
et, ut opus faciant, quod non possit mori,
moriuntur studio subditi labori.
4. Unicuique proprium dat natura donum,
ego versus faciens bibo vinum bonum
et quod habent purius dolia cauponum;
tale vinum generat copiam sermonum.
5. Mihi nunquam spiritus poetriae datur,
nisi prius fuerit venter bene satur.
Cum in arce cerebri Bacchus dominatur,
in me Phoebus irruit et miranda fatur.
6. Tales versus facio, quale vinum bibo,
nihil possum facere, nisi sumpto cibo.
Nihil valent penitus, quae jejunus scribo,
Nasonem*) post calicem carmine praeibo.
Literal translation by J. Mark Sugars, 1997
My proposal is to die in the tavern
Where the wine will be near my dying mouth;
Then choirs of angels will quite happily sing,
"May God be propitious to this drunkard!"
The lamp of my soul is lit by goblets;
My heart when imbued with nectar flies to the upper regions.
Wine from the tavern tastes sweeter to me
Than that which my patron's butler mixes with water.
The choirs of poets fast and abstain,
They avoid public quarrels and outdoor brawls
And in order to create a work which cannot die
They die of devotion, bowed down by hard work.
Nature gives each person his personal gift;
I drink good wine and fashion verses,
And because the landlord's jugs have the purer stuff,
Such wine generates an abundance of poems.
Poetic inspiration is never given to me
Unless my belly has first been well filled;
When Bacchus is lord in the citadel of my brain,
Phoebus rushes upon me and says marvelous things.
The verses I make are as good as the wine I drink;
I can do nothing unless I have had a meal.
What I write when hungry has no real value;
After a glass, I excel Naso in song.
Free metrical translation by Helen Waddell
"Mediaeval Latin Lyrics", London: Constable, 1929
For in this my heart is set:
When the hour is nigh me,
Let me in the tavern die,
With a tankard by me,
While the angels looking down
Joyously sing o'er me,
Deus sit propitius
'Tis the fire that's in the cup
Kindles the soul's torches,
'Tis the heart that's drenched in wine
Flies to Heaven's porches.
Sweeter tastes the wine to me
In a tavern tankard
Than the watered stuff my Lord
Bishop hath decanted.
Let them fast and water drink,
All the poets' chorus,
Fly the market and the crowd
Sit in quiet spots and think;
Shun the tavern's portal,
Write, and never having lived,
Die to be immortal.
Unto every man his gift,
Mine was not for fasting,
Never could I find a rhyme
With my stomach wasting.
As the wine is, so the verse:
'Tis a better chorus
When the landlord hath a good
Vintage set before us.