Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ego Sum Pauper

To listen to Ego Sum Pauper, click here

The Latin comes from the Middle Ages, and belonged to the Franciscan monks, though actually the Latin is variable. There is a setting (click here) which rephrases it as Ego sum pauper nihil habeo et nihil dabo; I leave you to make your own critical judgement on the quality of the setting and the singing. There is a folksong version, which can be used as a round (click here). There is a choral setting from the early 17th century (click here) which claims incorrectly that the text is from Psalm 68, verses 30 and 31, and offers a fuller version: Ego sum pauper et dolens, salus tua, Deus, suscepit me. Laudabo nomen Dei cum cantico et magnificabo eum in laude. You can find the sheet music for this setting by clicking here. But as to its source being the Psalms; there are references to "poor men" in Psalms 34:6, 40:17, 86:1 and others, though none give this precise phrasing. 70:5 is probably the nearest to the Franciscan: "But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying", but even this does not get the point of the Franciscan, which is an act of giving by the monks, and not an act of asking for something from God. The translation of the Latin is in the opening three lines of my lyric.

Ego sum pauper, nihil habeo, cor meum dabo
Ego sum pauper, nihil habeo, cor meum dabo

I am a poor man, a man who has nothing
And so I have nothing to give
I who have nothing, I give you my heart
And with it invite you to live

I give you my heart as a hand that is open
As a zero that yearns to be one
As a bowl that is empty, a vase that is broken
As a flower that wilts in the sun

I give you my heart in its fullness of growing
In its stillness, its turmoil, its pain
I give you my heart with all its wounds showing
And the blood coursing slow in its veins

I give you my heart with its pulse deeply beating
I give it both hopeful and drained
I give you it now and if it needs repeating
I will give you it gladly again

I give you my heart in its deep desolation
In its moments of transient joy
I give at no interest, with no expectation
It is yours, you are free to enjoy


If you would like to include "Ego Sum Pauper" in your repertoire, either for paid public performance or to record for commercial purposes, or if you would like to re-use the recording attached to this blog-page for commercial purposes, contact 
Use of this song, and/or this recording, for non-commercial purposes, is not simply permitted but invited.

Words and music by David Prashker

Copyright © 2014 David Prashker

All rights reserved

The Argaman Press

No comments:

Post a Comment