The Song of the Merry Poor

Author unknown
Genre Parody, Poem
Keywords 14th century, Old Czech, satire, vagant poetry
Title (in Czech) Píseň veselé chudiny
Title (in English translation) The Song of the Merry Poor
Editor Andrea Svobodová
Translator Walter Schamschula
Edited source Praha, Národní archiv, collection Archiv kolegiátní kapituly vyšehradské, 376 (formerly V Cc 7), ff. 6v-7r
Introduction Walter Schamschula – Andrea Svobodová
TEI P5 XML Encoding Jitka Filipová – Michal Mocňák – Ondřej Tichý
Summary of content An old Czech satirical poem about the life of students reflecting contemporary social conditions.
Show edition

Introduction to the Text

Píseň veselé chudiny (‘The Song of the Merry Poor’) from the end of the 14th century is an example of vagrant scholars poetry. Although the song does not give any details about the social class it refers to, it seems evident that it is the product of the clerics who, by means of this song, attempt to arouse compassion and beg for alms. Poverty again is described explicitly and in terms of black humor. The rhyme pattern of the stanza is very regular in the last three of the nine lines, which seem to form the refrain.

Introduction to the Sources

The song has been preserved in two copies which differ significantly from each other, the first from the 1460s (Praha, Národní archiv, collection Archiv kolegiátní kapituly vyšehradské, 376, ff. 6v-7r; available online), the second from the 1477 (Třeboň, Státní oblastní archiv v Třeboni, department Třeboň, collection Rukopisy Třeboň, A 7, ff. 153v-154r; available online). The Vyšehrad manuscript has a stanzaic order different from the Třeboň manuscript. Also, there are variants in the use of certain expressions.

About this Edition

The edition presents a transcription of the Vyšehrad manuscript. The given transcription was made according to the manuscript, taking into account the edition of Walter Schamschula (cf. Schamschula 1991, see Existing editions below). For the edition of the Třeboň manuscript cf. Vilikovský 1940 (see Existing editions below).

The present translation has been taken, with the permission of Walter Schamschula, from the text of his edition. No textual changes have been made to the text, and only obvious typographical errors have been removed (cf. Schamschula 1991, see Existing editions below). The introductory information, based on Schamschula´s edition, has been supplemented from new contributions on the topic.

Existing Editions

Píseň veselé chudiny, Adolf Patera (ed.), Časopis Musea Království českého 78, 1904, pp. 387-389 [ms. 376; standardized transcription].

Píseň veselé chudiny, in: Staročeská lyrika, Jan Vilikovský (ed.), Praha 1940, pp. 82-85 [ms. A 7; standardized transcription].

Výbor z české literatury od počátků po dobu Husovu, Bohuslav Havránek a kol. (eds.), Praha 1957, pp. 414-416 [ms. 376; standardized transcription].

Píseň veselé chudiny, in: Česká středověká lyrika, Jan Lehár (ed.), Praha 1990, pp. 211-212 [ms. A 7; standardized transcription].

Píseň veselé chudiny/The Song of the Merry Poor, in: An Anthology of Czech Literature. 1st Period: from the Beginnings until 1410, Walter Schamschula (ed.), Frankfurt am Main – Bern – New York – Paris 1991, pp. 82-85 [ms. 376; standardized transcription].

[Píseň veselé chudiny, rukopis T], Alena M. Černá (ed.), Praha 2022 [ms. A 7; standardized transcription]. Available at: https://vokabular.ujc.cas.cz/edice/PisChudT

[Píseň veselé chudiny, rukopis V], Alena M. Černá (ed.), Praha 2022 [ms. 376; standardized transcription]. Available at: https://vokabular.ujc.cas.cz/edice/PisChudV

Existing translations

Píseň veselé chudiny/The Song of the Merry Poor, in: An Anthology of Czech Literature. 1st Period: from the Beginnings until 1410, Walter Schamschula (ed.), Frankfurt am Main – Bern – New York – Paris 1991, pp. 82-85 [ms. 376].

Further Reading

Jan Vilikovský: Staročeská lyrika, Praha 1940, pp. 186-187.

Edition


MECZ [online], The Song of the Merry Poor, ed. unknown, trans. Walter Schamschula. KREAS Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Retrieved 07.12.2022, from https://mecz.kreas.ff.cuni.cz/publication/the-song-of-the-merry-poor/ Bibtex citation

You might be interested in

Death of King John

Author: unknown

The Judas Legend

Author: unknown

The Pilate Legend

Author: unknown