Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?

Related threads:
(origins) Origin: Sad Lisa (Cat Stevens) (41)
You can't overdose on Cat Stevens. (34)
Any Cat Stevens Fans? (38)
Lyr Req: The Wind (Cat Stevens) (7)
Lyr/Chords Req: Father and Son (Cat Stevens) (10)
Review: An Other Cup - Yusuf (10)
Chord Req: God Is the Light (Cat Stevens/Y Islam) (4)
BS: Terrorist Cat Stevens Booted... (129)
Cat Stevens. (60)
Lyr Req: How Can I Tell You (Cat Stevens) (10)
Cat Stevens/Yusaf Islam on TV tonight (4)
Cat Stevens aka Islam (56)


Genie 11 May 09 - 01:58 AM
Joe Offer 11 May 09 - 02:18 AM
Genie 11 May 09 - 02:57 AM
Joe Offer 11 May 09 - 03:35 AM
Genie 11 May 09 - 11:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 May 09 - 02:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 05:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 05:13 PM
Joe Offer 11 May 09 - 05:15 PM
peregrina 11 May 09 - 05:22 PM
peregrina 11 May 09 - 05:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 May 09 - 05:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 05:46 PM
MartinRyan 11 May 09 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 11 May 09 - 06:13 PM
peregrina 11 May 09 - 06:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 07:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 07:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 08:04 PM
Joe Offer 11 May 09 - 09:14 PM
MartinRyan 12 May 09 - 03:51 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Genie
Date: 11 May 09 - 01:58 AM

Cat Stevens (back when he was) had a song called "O Caritas!" - I think it was on the Tea For The Tillerman album. I really liked the song but could not quite figure out what language it was in. It didn't sound quite like either Italian or Spanish but was similar to both in places.

Does anyone have the lyrics and/or know what language it was in?   Latin? Esperanto? ??

Genie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADDPOP: O Caritas! Cat Stevens
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 09 - 02:18 AM

Well, it sounds Spanish, but it's medieval Latin. I think Cat Stevens did a number of songs in Latin, back in the day - but I may be wrong, since this is the only one I could find. There's a YouTube video here (click).


I won't vouch for the accuracy of this lyrics transcription, but here are the lyrics, with corrections as I hear them (which makes it a pretty good transcription, if I do say so myself):

O CARITAS
(as recorded by Cat Stevens)

Hunc ornatum mundi
Nolo perdere.
Video flagrare
Omnia res.
Audio clamare
Homines.
Nunc extinguitur
Mundi_et astrorum lumen.
Nunc concipitur
Mali hominis crimen.
Tristitia_et lacrimis
Gravis est dolor.
De terraque maribus
Magnus est clamor.
O caritas, o caritas,
Nobis semper sit amor.
Nos perituri mortem salutamus,
Sola resurgit vita.

Ah, this world is burning fast,
Oh, the world will never last.
I don't want to lose it here in my time;
Give me time forever here in my time.

Translation of Latin:
(I dont want to lose the harmony of the universe
I see all things... burning, I hear people... shouting.
Now is the light of the world and the stars going out
Now does the blame for the disaster fall upon men.
Grief is heavy with sadness and tears
Great is the noise from the earth and the seas
O love, o love be with us always.
We who will perish salute death. life alone goes on.)



from the Cat Stevens Catch Bull at Four album, 1972

source: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/cat+stevens/o+caritas_20028093.html
I don't know the source of the song. It would be interesting to know if Cat Stevens wrote this, or if it came from an early source.
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what langua
From: Genie
Date: 11 May 09 - 02:57 AM

Yeah, it's obviously Latin - now that I see the lryics printed - but I didn't know it was Medieval Latin.   
I've obviously been "mondegreening" several of the lyric lines. LOL

I think this is one of Cat Stevens' best songs. Too bad it's not as well known as a few of his others.

Thanks, Joe.

PS,
Dammit! I really wish people who put lyrics online would use PUNCTUATION!    Aarrgghh!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 09 - 03:35 AM

Yes, dear. I added punctuation, and corrected a few more things.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what langua
From: Genie
Date: 11 May 09 - 11:30 AM

Thanks, Joe.

That "Arrgghh!" wasn't directed at you, though. I figured you had gotten the lyrics from some lyrics website and posted them as is.   I later found the lyrics online too (but I wanted to add them here), and they were also not punctuated, but I would probably have left the punctuation out too, because I wasn't sure exactly where it went. (My high school Latin was decades ago.)
It seems to be routine these days for song lyrics to be printed devoid of punctuation.   Not just online, but in overhead slides used for hymns in churches, and even in CD liner notes. That trend is what I was decrying.

G


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 May 09 - 02:16 PM

I'd imagine it's from the same source as the songs Carl Orff used in Carmina Burana.

See Helen Waddell's Mediaeval Latin Lyrics, great book - and here's a link with the full text.   Reading a book on a computer is a drag, but if you can't find a copy of the real book, it's worth it having a go this time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:06 PM

Have not yet found the poem elsewhere. Not in Waddell, and not used by Orff (it could be in Carmina burana MS, which contains other material).

(Many errors in the text of the Waddell book).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:13 PM

Allmusic says "O caritas" was composed by Cat Stevens, Taylor and Toumazis.
It is from his album "Catch Bull at Four," where the three are credited with the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:15 PM

I'm still intrigued by this one. I've never thought that Cat Stevens wrote the Latin lyrics, but maybe he did. Cicero would not be pleased by the quality of this Latin, but it seems similar in style to many medieval Latin texts I've read.
So, is this text Cat Stevens, or is it old?

-Joe, victim of 6 years of Latin classes-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: peregrina
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:22 PM

It looks like 12th or 13th century latin, maybe taken from something liturgical, a hymn; I didn't find it in the one index of first lines that I checked, but there are larger ones to look in. Highly unlikely that the latin was written by Cat Stevens: it is too medieval and has too many images that are part of the medieval theological common stock about the last day. What were the popular sources of medieval latin he might have seen? A latin hymn book? Helen Waddell's books were around a lot, but I don't recognize it from there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: peregrina
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:26 PM

and wikipedia says that he went to a Catholic school--there in the late 50s and early 60s he would certainly have had a chance to encounter some medieval liturgical latin.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:46 PM

Actually I suspect that mediaeval Latin is actually much closer to what Romans actually spoke than Ciceronian Latin. And Cicero never wrote any songs that I've heard of.

I wasn't suggesting the words are in Carl Orff's song cycle or Helen Waddell's books about this (The Wandering Scholars is the other one), but I'd say it's pretty sure they come from a related source.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:46 PM

Who are the two co-composers?
They, not Stevens, cound be responsible for the medieval Latin.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:56 PM

Q

They appear to have been accompanying musicians on the track. The Greek name of the bazouki player seems to have convinced some people that the song was in Greek.

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:13 PM

Just googled <"O Caritas" origins"> and the third one down or so says Jeremy Taylor wrote it for Cat/Yusuf. That's Jeremy Taylor the singer songwriter not the 17th century theologian.

Did he write "Gaudete" as well? I think we should be told. Ag PLEEZ Jeremy!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: peregrina
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:23 PM

wikipedia says Taylor helped with the translation.

If Taylor wrote it,--which seems unlikely to me-- he is a peerless pastiche artist in medieval latin. I think it likely that anyone who spent a few years in a Catholic school when Stevens did would have been exposed to a bit of latin and some liturgical latin as well, and that a bit more searching will turn up a source.

Wikipedia also recounts that Stevens spent some time hospitalized for tuberculosis in 1968 and took up meditation, yoga, read about religions and explored various other directions during that time. This song postdates that era of exploration.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:41 PM

Could be-
Jeremy Taylor, 1613-1667, English bishop and devotional writer; wrote some hymns that have been set, at least one by Vaughan Williams. A graduate of Cambridge. Friend of Christopher Davenport, a learned Franciscan aka Francis a Sancta Clara.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:56 PM

No, the 17th c. bishop did not write it.

It was written by 'this' Jeremy Taylor:

The following a quote from an article on Jeremy Taylor, "the South African singer-songwriter, ... wrote a Latin lyric, "O Caritas," for Cat Stevens," made frequent concert appearances, ... one-man show at Soho's Boulevard theatre..."
Appeared with Donald Swann, acted in "Under Milkwood," many solo.

A graduate of Trinity College, Oxford, in Modern Languages.

Jeremy Taylor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 08:04 PM

Also see Jeremy Taylor website:
Jeremy Taylor Music


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 09 - 09:14 PM

Well, Q, I think you solved the puzzle. I certainly wouldn't think the lyrics were religious in origin - they seem distinctly secular. The style fits well into that of late-medieval poetry, and the Spanish style of the tune fits well, too. Still, it's not complex Latin. I'm rusty now, but I'm sure I could have written Latin of that quality forty years ago.
Jeremy Taylor is best known for "Ag Pleez Deddy," which I would classify as a mere novelty song, but his lyrics cover a wide spectrum - and many are excellent. I wouldn't doubt that he's capable of writing "O Caritas."

-Joe, son of a Latin teacher-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: O Caritas! Cat Stevens - what language?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:51 AM

Well chased down, Q! I gave up after sussing the bozouki..

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 15 August 8:47 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.