Friday, June 29, 2007

Goliardic Poetry

I've been reading this old history textbook that Wally gave me. It's Western Civilization, by Jackson J. Speilvogel. As far as authors go, you've got to love a guy named Speilvogel.
Anyway, I'm up to the High Middle Ages: Crusades and Culture, and I read about Goliardic Poetry. It was the graffiti and dirty limericks of it's time.
The one poem that the book provided was this:

My intention is to die
In the tavern drinking;
Wine must be at hand, for I
Want it when I'm sinking.
Angels when they come shall cry,
At my frailties winking:
"Spare this drunkard, God, he's high,
Absolutely stinking!"*
Mr. Speilvogel explains that Goliardic poetry was highly irreverent and focused on wine, women, and song, written by vagabond students and teachers. It was the kind of thing you might find written in a stall somewhere, like "George Washington Crapped Here". Or the ever popular, "Here I sit, all broken hearted, I had to shit, but only farted".
Or the most common of all, "For a good time, call this phone number". It has been my experience that these numbers, most often, don't really turn out to be a good time.
*I would have replaced beer for wine, but that's just me. Ed.

1 comment:

  1. hmmm... can this term STILL be applied to various witticisms found scribbled on restroom walls, or is it specific to one place, time and culture? the mens room at the Barking Spider Tavern in University Heights has a VERY grand selection of "goliardic" poetry that goes waaay beyond "here I sit..."


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