Dulce Et Decorum Est

I am off on a school trip to the battlefields of the First World War today, taking in various trenches, cemeteries, memorials and museums around the Somme and Ieper (Ypres, Wipers). I’ve visited parts of the Western Front before, including Tyne Cot, the largest British and Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in the world. It is unforgettable and a trip well worth taking.

I don’t get back until late Monday night so don’t expect any Bagging Area blog action until Tuesday at the earliest. I can’t think of any more songs with Latin titles- four is as far as I can get. This song is played by Wild Billy Childish, from a radio session a few years back. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning is a blues song from the 1920s, usually associated with the Rev Gary Davies and Blind Willie Johnson.

Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning

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Pro Patria Mori

This Latin song title challenge is turning out to be difficult. I suspect if I was into Metal I’d be alright- I have a feeling metal bands give their songs Latin titles quite often.

Ian McCulloch digs me out of a hole today with a track from his 2012 solo album Holy Ghosts, a fine record full of sweeping strings and that voice, with nods to the 80s but here in the present. Julian Cope, as has been well documented, is not a fan. In a recent interview he described McCulloch’s career as the universe having a hiccup. A bit unkind Julian.

Pro Patria Mori

The two disc edition of Holy Ghosts came with some good orchestral versions of solo and Bunnymen songs recorded live at the Union Chapel, worth shelling out on if you’re a fan. The title comes, obviously, from Wilfred Owen’s famous poem Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.