Philomela

pg-8-nightingale-rex

Vox, philomela, tua cantus edicere cogit,
inde tui laudem rustica lingua canit.
vox, philomela, tua citheras in carmine vincit
et superas miris musica flabra modis.
vox, philomela, tua curarum semina pellit,
recreat et blandis anxia corda sonis.
florea rura colis, herboso caespite gaudes,
frondibus arboreis pignera parva foves.
cantibus ecce tuis recrepant arbusta canoris,
consonat ipsa suis frondea silva comis.
iudice me cygnus et garrula cedat hirundo,
cedat et illustri psittacus ore tibi.
nulla tuos umquam cantus imitabitur ales,
murmure namque tuo dulcia mella fluunt.
dic ergo tremulos lingua vibrante susurros
et suavi liquidum gutture pange melos.
porrige dulcisonas attentis auribus escas;
nolo tacere velis, nolo tacere velis.
gloria summa tibi, laus et benedictio, Christe,
qui praestas famulis haec bona grata tuis.
(Eugenius of Toledo, Philomela)

Your voice, my nightingale, makes everyone a singer:
so people in the country sing your praise.
Your voice is an instrument finer than a zither;
more hauntingly than wind-music it plays.

Your voice, my nightingale, uproots the seeds of sorrow;
its silken tones can soothe a troubled mood.
Your home is among flowers, you love a grassy meadow;
in leafy trees you tend your infant brood.

Hear how your melodies re-echo in the thicket:
even the rustling branches harmonize.
The swan, the twittering swallow, the gaudy-headed parrot
can never hope to match you in my eyes.

No bird can imitate the sweetness of your singing;
there’s honey in your fluent rippling note.
Speak with your vibrant tongue, then, in soft shivery warbling,
pouring the liquid sounds from your smooth throat.

Feed our expectant ears with your song’s delicious flavour;
never be silent, never silent, please!
Glory and blessing and praise to Christ our Saviour
who grants his servants pleasures such as these!

(tr. Fleur Adcock)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s