Musae Iovis

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General information

Elegy for Josquin des Prez, probably written by Gerard Avidius.

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Text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

1. Musæ Iovis ter maximi
Proles canora, plangite,
Comas cypressus comprimat
Iosquinus ille ille occidit,
Templorum decus,
Et vestrum decus.

2. Severa mors et improba
Quæ templa dulcibus sonis
Privas, et aulas principum,
Malum tibi quod imprecer
Tollenti bonos,
Parcenti malis?

3. Apollo sed necem tibi
Minatur, heus mors pessima,
Instructus arcu et spiculis
Musasque ut addant commonet,
Et laurum comis,
Et aurum comis.

4. Iosquinus (inquit) optimo
Et maximo gratus Iovi,
Triumphat inter cœlites
Et dulce carmen concinit
Templorum decus,
Musarum decus.

English.png English translation

1. Ye Muses, melodious offspring
of thrice-greatest Jupiter, make lamentation.
The cypress draws in its leaves.
The famous Josquin, he is dead:
the glory of temples,
and your own glory.

2. Grim and merciless Death,
who deprive the temples
and princely courts of sweet sounds,
what curse could I invoke upon you
who take away the good,
who spare the undeserving?

3. But Apollo, equipped with bow and arrow,
threatens you with destruction,
O you most vile Death,
and calls upon the Muses
to add both laurel
and gold to their hair.

4. "Josquin," he says, "pleasing
 to the best and greatest Jupiter,
exults among the heavenly beings
and sings a sweet song:
the glory of temples,
the glory of the Muses".

In the setting by Gombert, T3 quotes the introit for Septuagesima: 'Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, doloris inferni circumdederunt me' (= The cries of death and the pains of hell surround me).

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