Monday 26 December 2022

a midwinter song for Saturnalia

Happy St Stephen's Day! Just as a change from Christmas, Yule, or indeed Solstice ('bright blessings' etc), here's a song for Saturnalia, the old feast of misrule held at this time of the year, when things were turned upside down and masters waited on slaves. It also references Mithras, who was born from a rock about now. Io Saturnalia, by the way, was the greeting or invocation they used,like we'd say Merry Christmas.

A midwinter song (to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen)

Gaudete omnes per Iovem
Nil desperandumque
Memete Mithras salvator
Natus est hodie
De profundis hiberniae
Aestati ducere
Cantate io Saturnalia,
Cantate io Saturnalia

In tempi tenebrissimi
Furibus regimur
Contentio sollicitant
Mendaci loquatur
Hi porcos nunc deicere
Debemus igitur
Cantate io Saturnalia...

Quamvis panem et circenses
Habemus hodie
Sed modo faenerantur sunt
Quiescens emere
Imperia delenda sunt
Pro orbis restite
Cantate io Saturnalia...

(Translation, singable)

Jove keep you merry, everyone,
Let nothing you dismay
Cos Mithras the unconquered sun
Came down to us today
From depths of winter to the spring
To show us all the way
Singing Io Saturnalia...

Although the times are at their darkest
And we're ruled by thieves
Who'd have us at each other's throats
If we their lies believed
Remember they're just greedy swine
And give the sods the heave!
Singing Io Saturnalia...

We like the bread and circuses
They throw us now and then
But they're just crusts they throw to us
To keep us in our pen
Destroy all empires, and create
A Golden Age again!
Singing Io Saturnalia...

(Translation, literal)

Everyone rejoice, by Jupiter,
And don’t despair
Remember that Mithras, the saviour,
Was born today
From the deepest bit of winter
To lead us to summer
Sing io Saturnalia...

In the darkest of times
We’re ruled by thieves
Who seek to create disunity
With the lies they speak
Now therefore we should
Overthrow these swine
Sing io Saturnalia...

Though bread and circuses
Are what we’ve got today
They’re only loaned to us
To keep us peaceful
Destroy the empires
And restore the world
Sing io Saturnalia...