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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Mediæval Latin Student Songs

Gaudeamus Igitur

  • Translation of John Addington Symonds
  • [“Having alluded to ‘Gaudeamus Igitur,’ I shall close my translations with a version of it into English. The dependence of this lyric upon the rhythm and substance of the poem ‘On Contempt for the World’ … is perhaps the reason why it is sung by German students after the funeral of a comrade. The Office for the Dead sounding in their ears, occasions the startling igitur [“therefore”—“let us then”] with which it opens; and their mind reverts to solemn phrases in the midst of masculine determination to enjoy the present while it is yet theirs.”]

  • LET us live, then, and be glad

    While young life’s before us!

    After youthful pastime had,

    After old age hard and sad,

    Earth will slumber o’er us.

    Where are they who in this world,

    Ere we kept, were keeping?

    Go ye to the gods above;

    Go to hell; inquire thereof:

    They are not: they’re sleeping.

    Brief is life, and brevity

    Briefly shall be ended:

    Death comes like a whirlwind strong,

    Bears us with his blast along;

    None shall be defended.

    Live this university,

    Men that learning nourish;

    Live each member of the same,

    Long live all that bear its name;

    Let them ever flourish!

    Live the commonwealth also,

    And the men that guide it!

    Live our town in strength and health,

    Founders, patrons, by whose wealth

    We are here provided!

    Live all girls! A health to you,

    Melting maids and beauteous!

    Live the wives and women too,

    Gentle, loving, tender, true,

    Good, industrious, duteous!

    Perish cares that pule and pine!

    Perish envious blamers!

    Die the Devil, thine and mine!

    Die the starch-neck Philistine!

    Scoffers and defamers!