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Let Us Rejoice While We Are Young

William Hogarth, Scholars at a Lecture, engraving, 1736/37
William Hogarth, Scholars at a Lecture, engraving, 1736/37

The end of August is here, and that means that it is time to take my neckties out of storage, put my patented dirty looks back on my face, and get ready to go back into the classroom. It is my privilege to teach music and art history at an excellent school run by a Benedictine monastery here in Washington. Certain anonymous commenters here may not think it is possible, but I receive daily lessons in humility by working at the side of monks, men whose simple eloquence comes from their unquestioning devotion to silence and the treasury of learning. Yesterday morning, one of the senior monks grabbed my arm to let me know, as he often does, what musical phrase was running through his head on the first full day that our students were back in school. He hummed the Gaudeamus igitur theme from the coda of Brahms's Academic Festival Overture, and I have been hearing the same piece in my inner ear ever since. So, with students everywhere, let us sing:
Gaudeamus igitur
Juvenes dum sumus!
Post jucundum juventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.

Vivat academia
Vivant professores
Vivat membrum quodlibet
Vivat membra quaelibet
Semper sint in flore.

Vivant et republica
et qui illam regit.
Vivat nostra civitas,
Maecenatum caritas
Quae nos hic protegit.
Let us therefore be happy
While we are young!
After a jolly youth
After a troublesome old age
The earth will have us.

Long live the academy!
Long live the teachers!
Long live each and every
Student, male and female!
May they always flourish!

Long live both the republic
And the one who rules it!
Long live our city
And the charity of benefactors
That keeps us safe here!
We probably have enough Ionarts readers who can sightread to sing this in four parts: here's a .PDF file of the harmonization by Christian Wilhelm Kindleben.


Mark Barry said...

Have a great year teacher.

Charles T. Downey said...

Thanks, Mark!

ACB said...

I'm in for a sing-along! I prefer to sing alto in this kind of thing, harkening back to my HS choir days - I was the 2nd Alto Section Leader! =]

Have a good year!

Charles T. Downey said...

You as a 2nd alto!? At that point, you may as well sing tenor. ;-) Thanks for being willing to sing. That would be fun.

Anonymous said...

Ah well, if you've got ACB you don't really need an out-of-tune contralto/tenor...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, Dr. Downey! C'est parfait pour la rentrée!

Charles T. Downey said...

Gros merci, Mlle F, d'avoir lu mon blog! Tu sais, sans doute, le nom du moine dans l'article, Fr. Edmund.