O tu qui servas armis ista moenia,
noli dormire, moneo, sed vigila!
dum Hector vigil extitit in Troia,
non eam cepit fraudulenta Graecia.
Prima quiete dormiente Troia
laxavit Sinon fallax claustra perfida.
per funem lapsa occultata agmina
invadunt urbem et incendunt Pergama.
vigili voce avis anser candida
fugavit Gallos ex arce Romulea;
pro qua virtute facta est argentea
et a Romanis adorata ut dea.
nos adoremus celsa Christi numina:
illi canora demus nostra iubila!
illius magna fisi sub custodia,
haec vigilantes iubilemus carmina!
divina mundi, rex Christe, custodia,
sub tua serva haec castra vigilia.
[tu murus tuis sis inexpugnabilis,
sis inimicis hostis tu terribilis!]
te vigilante nulla nocet fortia,
qui cuncta fugas procul arma bellica.
tu cinge nostra haec, Christe, munimina,
defendens ea tua forti lancea.
[sancta Maria, mater Christi splendida,
haec cum Iohanne theoticos impetra,
quorum hic sancta venerantur pignora
et quibus ista sunt sacrata limina.]
quo duce, victrix est in bello dextera
et sine ipso nihil valent iacula.
fortis iuventus, virtus audax bellica,
vestra per muros audiantur carmina,
et sit in armis alterna vigilia,
ne fraus hostilis haec invadat moenia.
resultet echo: ‘comes eia, vigila!’
per muros, ‘eia!’, dicat echo: ‘vigila!’
(Canto delle scolte modenesi)
O you who guard those walls with arms,
do not sleep, I warn you, keep watch!
While Hector kept watch in Troy
the Greeks did not take it by treachery.
While Troy lay sleeping in the peace of early morning
Synon the traitor unlocked the bolts that betrayed it.
The forces hidden within were lowered down by rope,
they stormed the city, and burned Pergamon.
A white bird—a goose—with watchful cry
put the Gauls to flight from the heights of Rome.
For this virtuous deed its image was made in silver
and was adored as a goddess by the Romans.
Let us worship the lofty power of Christ;
to Him let us offer our sweet-sounding hymns of joy.
Reliant on His great protection, let us sing
these songs of praise to Him as we keep watch!
Christ, king of the world, hold
these watchful camps in Your divine protection!
Be an impregnable wall for Your followers,
be a terrible enemy to Your foes,
through Your vigilance no force can harm us,
for You put all weapons of war to flight.
Surround these our defences, Christ,
protecting them with Your powerful lance.
Holy Mary, splendid mother of Christ,
with John intercede for these things, mother of God,
for Your holy relics are venerated here
and to them his church is dedicated.
Under His leadership our hands are victorious in war
and without Him our spears have no force.
Young men who are strong, daring and brave in battle,
let your songs be heard throughout the walls!
And may the watches change with arms at the ready
lest the treacherous enemy storm these defences.
May the echo resound: ‘Comrades, hail, keep watch!’
Throughout the walls: ‘Hail’, may it echo: ‘Keep watch!’
(tr. Peter Godman)