A very paltry gift, of no account, My father, for a scholar like to thee

The dedication by Walafrid Strabo of his poem Hortulus to a former teacher (or brother of a former teacher, depending) Grimald of Weissenburg. The full text of Hortulus can be found here (Latin only). The translation is from Helen Waddell’s Medieval Latin Lyrics.

The garden pictured is that of St. Gall where Grimald was abbot. I’d have gone there – largely for the library – last fall had corona not struck….

A very paltry gift, of no account,
My father, for a scholar like to thee,
But Strabo sends it to thee with his heart.
So might you sit in the small garden close
In the green darkness of the apple trees
Just where the peach tree casts its broken shade,
And they would gather you the shining fruit
With the soft down upon it; all your boys,
Your little laughing boys, your happy school,
And bring huge apples clasped in their two hands.
Something the book may have of use to thee.
Read it, my father, prune it of its faults,
And strengthen with they praise what pleases thee.
And may god give thee in thy hands the green
Unwithering palm of everlasting life.

Haec tibi servitii munuscula vilia parvi
Strabo tuus, Grimalde pater doctissime, servus
Pectore devoto, nullius ponderis offert.
Ut cum conseptu viridis consederis horti
Super opacatas frondenti germine malos,
Persicus imparibus crines ubi dividit umbris,
Dum tibi cana legunt tenera lanugine poma
Ludentes pueri, schola laetabunda tuorum,
Atque volis ingentia mala capacibus indunt;
Grandia conantes includere corpora palmis:
Quo moneare habeas nostri pater alme laboris
Dum relegis quae dedo volens, interque legendum
Ut vitiosa seces deposco, placentia firmes.
Te Deus aeterna faciat virtute virentem,
Immarcescibilis palmam contingere vitae;
Hoc Pater, hoc Natus, hoc Spiritus annuat almus.

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