A Goliard Cadging Song: Carmina Burana

—Richard O’Connell

A poor scholar on the road,

Born to the double blast

Of poetry and poverty—

Not funny—by half.

 

Books? I gobble them,

They eat up every cent;

Living from crumb to crumb

In an eternal Lent.

 

This threadbare ghost of a coat—

Thin?—not even cloth.

I lay up treasures high above,

Leave nothing here for the moth.

 

My chattering teeth at Mass

Interrupt the sermon;

Communion for a starving man

Can’t keep him in vermin.

 

Honored Lord Hyperbole,

Patron of Erudition,

Shower gold into my lap,

Prove your high position.

 

Remember as Saint Martin did

To grease the vagrant

Pilgrim knocking at your door

And keep your good name fragrant.

 

Give: and may God reward you

With eternal glory

For saving from this present pit

Your memento mori.

 

from the Medieval Latin

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