A to Z Poetry: Ubi Sunt Poems

Alright, we’re down to ‘U’ now, getting down to some of the toughest letters of the alphabet. Some of these I’m not going to write a poem for, but I’m going to provide you with some enduring cultural references on the poetry form. Ubi Sunt happens to be the first of those forms. I had a hard time finding an actual poetic form that began with the letter ‘U,’ but stumbled upon this gem late in the game.

Ubi Sunt is a poetic theme asking “where are” they, where have they gone. The theme began in Medieval Latin, with the formula ubi sunt used to introduce a roll-call of the dead or missing and to suggest how transitory life is.


The theme continued through France and England and was even used by Shakespeare in a variation.The best known Ubi Sunt is Gaudeamus igitur, known as a beer-drinking song in many ancient universities and is the official song of many schools, colleges, universities, institutions, and student societies. It has survived the test of time and appeared wholly or partly in several motion pictures.

In Latin and English:

Gaudeamus igitur,
Juvenes dum sumus;
Post icundum iuventutem,
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.
Let us therefore rejoice,
While we are young;
After our youth,
After a troublesome old age
The ground will hold us.
Vita nostra brevis est,
Brevi finietur;
Venit mors velociter,
Rapit nos atrociter;
Nemini parcetur.
Our life is brief,
It will shortly end;
Death comes quickly,
Cruelly snatches us;
No-one is spared.
Ubi sint qui ante nos
In mundo fuere?
Vadite ad superos,
Transite in inferos
Hos si vis videre.
Where are those who before us
Existed in the world?
You may go up to the gods,
You may cross into the underworld
If you wish to see them.
Vivat academia,
Vivant professores,
Vivat membrum quodlibet,
Vivat membra quaelibet;
Semper sint in flore!
Long live the university,
Long live the teachers,
Long live each male student,
Long live each female student;
May they always flourish!
Vivat et republica
Et qui illam regit.
Vivat nostra civitas,
Maecenatum caritas
Quae nos hic protegit.
Long live the state
And those who rule it.
Long live our city,
And the charity of benefactors
Which protects us here.
Vivant omnes virgines,
Faciles, formosae!
Vivant et mulieres,
Tenerae, amabiles,
Bonae, laboriosae.
Long live all young women,
Easy and beautiful!
Long live wives as well,
Tender, loveable,
Honest, hardworking.
Pereat tristitia,
Pereant osores.
Pereat diabolus,
Quivis antiburschius
Atque irrisores!
Perish sadness,
Perish haters.
Perish the devil,
Whoever is against the student fraternity,
As well those who mock us!
Quis confluxus hodie
Academicorum?
E longinquo convenerunt,
Protinusque successerunt
In commune forum.
Who has gathered now
Of the university?
They gather from long distances,
Immediately joining
Our common forum.
Vivat nostra societas,
Vivant studiosi!
Crescat una veritas,
Floreat fraternitas,
Patriae prosperitas.
Long live our fellowship,
Long live the studious!
May truth and honesty thrive,
Flourish with our fraternity,
And our homeland be prosperous.
Alma Mater floreat,
Quae nos educavit;
Caros et commilitones,
Dissitas in regiones
Sparsos, congregavit.
May our Alma Mater thrive,
That which educated us;
Dear ones and comrades,
Who we let scatter afar,
Let us assemble.



Performed as the musical theme of the classic 1951 Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s film People Will Talk, delightfully “conducted” by Cary Grant .
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Today’s Haiku

Haiku Heights April A to Z: Uproot

time to uroot
pack up, clean the closets
moving again

Carpe Diem: Pigeon

pigeons wait
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dive bomb

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