There is probably no popular song in history that has been translated into more languages around the world than the ancient Latin students’ song “Gaudeamus Igitur” (“Let Us Rejoice”). If you’re planning a homeschool graduation this month, why not introduce it to your students so they can join in fellowship with the millions of other students who have sung it for centuries all around the world.
“Gaudeamus Igitur” is a student song — it’s rather irreverent, and decidedly boisterous (when done right). It originated in the European universities of the Middle Ages and it is often sung today at graduation festivals, alumni events, and on other celebratory occasions, all around the world. It praises youth, our school, our teachers, and the local girls (of course!), and it gives a shout-out to the many generations of students who have gone before, all in keeping with the ancient Roman principle of
YOLO carpe diem: “Let us celebrate today, for who knows, tomorrow we may die.”
Here’s a properly sprightly version from the University of Illinois Varsity Men’s Glee Club:
A hundred different verses have been added over the ages — and you can come up with your own! — but the opening lines have always been:
Iuvenes dum sumus.
Iuvenes dum sumus.
Post iucundam iuventutem,
Post molestam senectutem,
Nos habebit humus —
Nos habebit humus.
You can find a host of sheet-music versions of “Gaudeamus Igitur,” all ready for printing and singing at home, on the ChoralWiki website. The English-language translation that I’ve always particularly liked is this one by J.H. Finley:
Jubilation now abound
For companions near us!
Jubilation now resound
For our youth to cheer us!
After youth, the bold, the airy,
Age advances cautionary.
Quiet then will hold us,
Quiet earth will enfold us.
Few songs are as international as “Gaudeamus Igitur.” If your travels someday take you to Bulgaria, for example, you’ll feel right at home at the tryouts for the New Bulgarian University Choir:
Or perhaps someday you’ll be called upon to attend a graduation ceremony at the Universitas Riau in Indonesia and be asked to sing along (there’s some “age advances cautionary” in this one):
Johannes Brahms famously quoted “Gaudeamus Igitur” in the fortissimo finale to his great Academic Festival Overture of 1880:
And wherever you travel, you’re guaranteed to be a hit if you learn the doo-wop version of “Gaudeamus Igitur”:
Vivat Academia! (Long live our school!) Vivant Professores! (Long live our teachers!) That’s you, mom and dad, and your little homeschool academy during this joyful springtime graduation season.
What other marvelous musical discoveries have you made in your homeschool this Leo Term? 😊
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