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Theodulf of Orléans

Poetae Latini Aevi Carolini. Ernst Dümmler, ed. Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Munich: Societas Aperiendis Fontibus Rerum Germanicarum Medii Aevi, 1978 (1881).
Call number: DD3.M8 A6 1978.

XIII. CUR MODO CARMINA NON SCRIBAT.

Carmina saepe mihi, fratres, pergrata tulistis,
    Et nunc quae fertis, credite, valde placent.
His delector enim, vestri studiumque laboris
    Conlaudo, et moneo vos potiora sequi.
Crescitis in melius, nobis hinc gaudia crescunt,
    Ut magis atque magis id faciatis, amo.
Qui ex facili pridem poteram depromere versus,
    Aestuo, nec condo, ut volo, dulce melos.
Quaeritis hoc, quando novus hic successit habendus
    Usus, nostram Erato qui reticere facit.
Sunt mihi nunc lacrymis potius deflenda piacla,
    Carmina quam lyrico nempe boanda pede.
Non amor ipse meus Christus mea carmina quaeret,
    Sed mage commissi grandia lucra gregis.
Pro quo proque meis orare erratibus opto,
    Carmina ni pangam, crimina nulla gero.
Ludite vos, pueri, metrica sat lusimus arte:
    Praemia, quae cupitis, iam mihi parta manent.
Discite sic fratres, docti ut possitis haberi,
    Et fieri socii civibus aethereis.
En veneranda piis tanti sollemnia festi,
    Nos modo non multum versificare sinunt.
His ita praemissis, festum hoc celebremus ovantes,
    Aptius edendi carmina tempus erit.
Annua sic etiam veneranter festa colamus,
    Continua ut nobis det sine fine deus.
Nam, Vulfine, tibi debentur praemia laudum,
    Cuius ab amne fluunt metrica docta bene.
Hinc tibi multiplices agimus, carissime, grates,
    Praemia pro meritis rex deus ipse dabit.


Questions

1. The poem follows in the tradition of the classical 'recusatio,' or poetic decline of an invitation to write verses for an important occasion. Here, however, the poet's refusal to compose a poem for a special occasion includes a declaration of a commitment to avoid versifying altogether because of new responsibilities. What words and expressions does he use to convey this refusal in a manner that will preserve his good relations with his addressee?

2. What words and expressions suggest that the poet views his new responsibilities as more important than his addressee's literary occupation?

3. What does the form of the reply, a poem in elegiac couplets, suggest about the writer's attitude toward his addressee and his addressee's request?


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