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Archpoet

The Archpoet is a name given to the bibulous and boastful anonymous author of many of the poems contained in the Carmina Burana collection of mediæval Latin verse.

His existence has been surmised from consistencies in usage and style among certain of the otherwise anonymous poems in that collection. He was decidedly a follower of the Goliardic tradition, writing student drinking songs and satires on the life of itinerant clergy in the Middle Ages. Very little else can be said with certainty about his life. He does refer to Reinald of Dassel[?] as Archbishop of Cologne, which shows that he must have been alive and active between 1159, when Reinald became archbishop, and 1167, when he died. He refers to himself as ortus a militibus, of knightly birth. In another of the poems attributed to him, he refers to Salerno, suggesting that he travelled between Germany and Italy. Little more can be said about his life.

His best known poem is a long confessional piece on his love of drink. It contains the lines:

Meum est propositum in taberna mori,
Ut sint vina proxima morientis ori.
Tunc cantabunt letius angelorum chori:
"Sit deus propitius huic potatori."

(I mean to die in a tavern, so that wine will be close by my dying mouth. Then the choirs of angels will sing more happily, "May God have mercy on this drinker.")

Another section of this long poem supplies the text to the aria Estuans interius ira vehementi (Burning with inner rage) that was set to music by Carl Orff in his Carmina Burana cantata.



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