Having taught at Bristol Grammar School for many years now, I am often asked by the students (and sometimes Old Bristolians) about the meaning and pronunciation of the school song, Carmen Bristoliense.

So here goes… Below is my own translation of the song, with the Latin for all four verses in an interlinear fashion. Each word is linked to the word’s page on the Perseus website, in case you would like to know more about the meaning. I have even recorded myself singing the song, for what it’s worth, aiming to pronounce the Latin as correctly as I can (apologies for the singing). I have not attempted what the students always do, which is to sing the word QUOTQUOT in the chorus VERY loudly (and on the beat rather than off the beat as it is written!)

In case anyone objects to the pronunciation, and would like me to sing it in ecclesiastical Latin, I reckon that this is a largely secular song, so I have gone for the ancient Roman pronunciation, so far as is possible!

Carmen Bristoliense

(The Bristolian Song)

First verse

nuncuniversogaudio, ludopensisquefuncti,
(Now with universal joy, having busied ourselves with play and duties)

(let us eagerly celebrate all together our beloved school!)

(already for more than four hundred years it has deserved our praise)

merendoetdurabimus, dumnostraurbsservetur.
(by deserving we too shall endure, for as long as our city is preserved)


sitclarior, sitdignior, quotquot labunturmenses.
(May it be more famous, may it be more worthy, however many months pass by)

(May this noble claim be foremost for us)

(We are Bristolians!)

Second verse

(Let us praise now most gratefully those who were before us)

(splendid at home and away, they were ornaments to the school)

(through them it is praiseworthy, it is a seat of learning dear to the Muses)

(and we stand here now as the heirs of the name of those men)

(repeat Chorus)

Third Verse

(if there should be a sporting contest amongst the boys)

nesuperemurproelio, summanitamurarte!
(let us strive with the highest skill so that we shall not be overcome in battle!)

et, sivocamuradlibros, intentihocagamus;
(and, if we are called to our books, let us do this attentively)

(in sport and books, surely we should now carry off the palm of victory?)

(repeat Chorus)

Fourth Verse

(Thus it has become pleasing to us do accomplish nothing falsely, nothing dishonestly)

namscholam, urbem, patriamhicdiscimusamare.
(for here we learn to love our school, city, country)

inaltioratendimus, scholamque veneremur:
(We aim towards higher things, and we honour our school)

dumadsumus, augebimus, necpostobliviscemur!
(while we are here, we shall grow, and afterwards, we shall not forget!)

(repeat Chorus)



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