imagine more men students happily attending college

A medieval student of Venus, delighting in ardent love with his girlfriend Flora, worried about rivals. He worried that the ultimate alpha man Jupiter, head god in charge of the cosmos, would become Flora’s lover:

Oh, if Jupiter
might see her,
I fear with equal passion
he would warm
and return to his deceits:
either rain as Danaë’s gold
and soothe her with his sweet shower,
or transform into Europa’s bull,
or gleam white again
as Leda’s swan.

{ O, si forte Iupiter
hanc videat,
timeo, ne pariter
et ad fraudes redeat,
si vel Danes pluens aurum
imbre dulci mulceat,
vel Europes intret taurum,
vel Ledaeo candeat
rursus in olore. }[1]

Men compete extensively with other men for women’s love. Losing in love hurts, even when one loses to gods. Imagine a woman saying to a man who loves her, “Leave me to the gods {Mi lassa dis}!”[2]

Even worse than losing in love to another man is losing in love for lack of love. That’s the more common situation. Men who endure amorous rejection after amorous rejection don’t perceive that they are losing to other men. They perceive that they are unloved. That’s cold and harsh.[3]

A man student studying in medieval France intended in despair to leave his studies and go back to his home country. He explained:

I’m sad because for too long
I’ve endured exile.
To hell with this studying!
Yes, I’m getting out of here
if she doesn’t grant me the joy
for which I yearn so much.

Oh, what am I to do?
For what did I know France?
Am I to lose the love
of this noble woman?
Am I to flee, heartbroken,
from this country?

Day, night — everything
is against me.
Young women chatting
brings tears to my eyes.
I often hear them sigh. More
reminding makes me tremble.

{ Doleo quod nimium
patior exilium.
Pereat hoc studium!
Si m’en iré,
si non reddit gaudium,
cui tant abé.

Proh dolor, quid faciam?
Ut quid novi Franciam?
Perdo amicitiam
de la gentil?
Miser corde fugiam
de cest pays?

Dies, nox et omnia
mihi sunt contraria.
Virginum colloquia
me fay planszer.
Oy suvenz suspirer plu
me fay temer. }

Among students enrolled in U.S. colleges today, women outnumber men by 42%.[4] Colleges must do more to encourage men students to remain in school, if only out of concern for women students’ share of available men. One cannot expect college administrators, if they were concerned for men’s welfare, to be as wise as the ancient lawmaker Solon. But college leaders could at least provide classes in medieval Latin literature so that men students could learn that men were once allowed to express what they feel:

My companions, enjoy yourself!
You who know, recite poems,
but spare me in my grieving.
I feel great anguish.
But you — have regard
for your own honor.

Beloved, for love of you
I’m saddened, sigh, and weep.
Throughout my body I feel great
anguish from love.
I leave now, companions,
let me go.

{ O sodales, ludite!
Vos qui scitis, dicite;
michi mesto parcite.
Grand ey dolur!
Attamen consulite
per vostre honur!

Amia, pro vostre amur
doleo, suspir, et plur.
Per tut semplant ey dolur
grande d’amer.
Fugio nunc, socii,
lassé m’aler. }

More assistant deans, outreach programs, and college task forces might not be enough to keep men students in school. This medieval student clearly specified what he needed:

Your beautiful face
with your heart of ice
makes me weep a thousand tears.
To make amends
you would instantly restore me to life
with a kiss.

{ Tua pulchra facies
pectus habet glacies
me fey planser milies.
A remender
statim vivus fierem
per un baser. }

Colleges must foster and encourage women’s love for men. Much work remains to be done.

Systemically making love misery is a social injustice. Another man student planned to leave study in his home country and go into exile because of that social injustice:

Sweet land of my father’s birth,
home filled with joy, pleasant bedroom —
I’ll be leaving you either tomorrow or today,
doomed to perish in love’s madness as an exile.

Farewell, my homeland, farewell, my comrades,
you whose friendship I’ve affectionately cultivated,
Weep for me, deprived of sweet hours of study with you.
I am lost to you because of fire.

Love’s fire newly wounds my
heart, which earlier didn’t know such.
It confesses now that the proverb is true:
“Where love is, there is deep unhappiness.”

{ Dulce solum natalis patriae,
domus ioci, thalamus gratiae,
vos relinquam aut cras aut hodie,
periturus amoris rabie exul.

Vale, tellus, valete, socii,
quos benigno favore colui,
et me dulcis consortem studii
deplangite, qui vobis perii igne.

Igne novo Veneris saucia
mens, quae prius non novit talia,
nunc fatetur vera proverbia:
“Ubi amor, ibi miseria gravis.” }[5]

Love has turned a joyful home and sweet studies into deep unhappiness. That terrible outcome, which prompts the man student to drop out of school, accords with the established wisdom of a proverb. That proverb indicates a systemic problem.

“Where love is, there is deep unhappiness {Ubi amor, ibi miseria gravis}” isn’t eternal, proverbial truth. That proverb parodically revised a liturgical antiphon established by the end of the eleventh century: “Where charity and love is, God is there {Ubi caritas et amor, ibi Deus est}.” That antiphon slightly revised the antiphon in Paulinus of Aquileia’s eighth-century hymn for Holy Thursday: “Where charity is true, God is there {Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est}.” Paulinus’s hymn begins with this stanza about love:

Christ’s love has brought us together as one.
Let us rejoice and be delighted in him.
Let us revere and love the living God,
and with a sincere heart love each other.

{ Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor;
Exsultemus et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero. }[6]

Colleges today teach rape-culture culture. They should instead teach all to love each other with a sincere heart. What does love mean? What does sincerity entail? Those are complicated questions. They demand much study and discussion. Yet why complacently accept the status quo of deep unhappiness?

Imagine all the men students, and women students too, living in hope of love. Imagine all the student couples faithfully seeking to live to a ripe old age together, perhaps enjoying then their children’s children. Even if the world can’t live as one, two persons might hope to be together forever, sharing all the world and living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m just reading medieval literature.[7]

* * * * *

Read more:


[1] Carmina Burana 83, Peter of Blois, “Savagely the wind’s breath bites {Saevit aurae spiritus / Sevit aure spiritus},” stanza 7 (of 7), Latin text and English translation (modified) from Traill (2018).

[2] Carmina Burana 118, “I’m sad because for too long {Doleo quod nimium},” 3.3 (phrase from macaronic Latin-Old French poem), Old French text and English translation (modified) from Traill (2018). The subsequent three quotes are similarly from the Latin / French text of this song. Those quotes are stanzas 1,2, 4 ( I’m sad because for too long…), 5, 6 (My companions, enjoy yourself…), and 7 (of 7) (Your beautiful face …).

The text of “Doleo quod nimium” evidently has been corrupted. Editorial attempts at corrections have produced text varying across editions. Here’s an English translation of “Doleo quod nimium” from a different editing of the text with different stanza ordering. Here’s the Boston Camerata (directed by Joel Cohen) performing this song on its album Carmina Burana (1996).

[3] Institutionalized scholars serving gynocentrism show contempt for men’s lives in considering men’s sexual deprivations. One such scholar, flogging his related scholarly article and forthcoming book, began a promotional magazine article thus:

Of the 50 plus shades of online anger, one fascinates me more than the rest: the anger of the Incel. Beneath the euphemistic portmanteau of “involuntary” and “celibate” lurks a sinister mass of self-loathing men. They know they are unattractive, and in online forums they blame women.

Brooks (2022). This scholar’s apparently misplaced allusion to 50 Shades of Grey perhaps reflects his frustration with his gender self-abasement. His essentializing claim about the others’ knowledge, “they know they are unattractive,” ignores modern social sciences’ obsession with social construction. Social-construction theory should encompass the social construction of unattractiveness. The article’s conclusion shows a gynocentric apparatchik with no consciousness of his own ridiculousness:

Incels, and people concerned about them, would do well to recognise the value of gender equality and the deep societal burden that misogyny and violence impose, and then to find better outlets for their frustration.

Instead of tediously supporting dominant gynocentric ideology, striver academics, and people supporting them, would do well to recognize the value of gender equality and the deep societal burden that misandry and violence against men impose, and then learn to use their minds to do critical intellectual work. The related scholarly work, Brooks, Russo-Batterham & Blake (2022), reports the astonishing result that in sexual markets in which men are more disadvantaged, more men are sexually deprived.

[4] U.S National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2020, findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) spring 2021 data collection (publication # NCES 2021100REV). Figures calculated from Table 1. Number and percentage distribution of students enrolled at Title IV institutions, by control of institution, student level, level of institution, enrollment status, and other selected characteristics: United States, fall 2020. The number of women and men enrolled were 11,351,113 and 8,004,698, respectively.

[5] Carmina Burana 119, “Sweet land of my father’s birth {Dulce solum natalis patriae / Dulce solum natalis patrie},” stanzas 1-3(of 5), Latin text and English translation (modified) from Traill (2018).

This song is found in four manuscripts in addition to the Carmina Burana. The two-syllable words that end each stanza are found only in the Carmina Burana and Chartres manuscripts. Those words are written at the margin. Carol Anne Perry Lageman’s English translations of “Dulce solum natalis patrie” emphasize that textual feature. See also the Texas Early Music Project’s 2014 performance, The Original Carmina Burana: Unplugged & Organic, program notes, which mistakenly describe the student as studying in Paris away from home.

[6] Paulinus of Aquileia is thought to have written this hymn for a synod in 796. Here’s a online review of its history, and the full Latin text. The Latin text in Raby (1959), pp. 102-3 (poem 76), has the updated antiphon. On the evolution of Paulinus’s antiphon / hymn, Ropa (2011), Barezzsani (2011) and Moeller (1999).

[7] I’m also remembering John Lennon’s song “Imagine” from his 1971 album, Imagine.

[image] Carmina Burana 119, “Dulce solum natalis patrie,” performed by the Clemencic Consort on its 1974. album, Carmina Burana: Version Originale & Integrale. Volume 1, Carmina Amoris Infelicis {Songs of Unhappy Love}. Via YouTube. Here’s a recording by Ensemble für frühe Musik Augsburg from its 2020 album, Songs & Dances of the Middle Ages.


Barezzani, Maria Teresa Rosa. 2011. ‘“Ubi caritas”: postille e note sulla liturgia bresciana.Brixia Sacra: Memorie Storiche della Diocesi di Brescia. 16 (1-2): 39-60.

Brooks, Robert C. 2022. “Involuntarily Celibate: Explanations and Practical Solutions to a Dangerous Phenomenon.” Quillette. Online 20 January 2022.

Brooks, Robert C., Daniel Russo-Batterham, and Khandis R. Blake. 2022. “Incel Activity on Social Media Linked to Local Mating Ecology.” Psychological Science. January 2022, online, selling for $35 {sic}.

Moeller, Eugène. 1999. “Paulin II d’Aquilée (756-802) et l’hymne ‘Ubi caritas’ du mandatum du Jeudi-saint.” Questions Liturgiques / Studies in Liturgy. 80 (3-4): 295-301.

Raby, Frederic James Edward, ed. 1959. The Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Ropa, Giampaolo. 2011. ‘L’inno “Ubi caritas” di Paolino d’Aquileia. Esegesi e storia di un messaggio.’ Brixia Sacra: Memorie Storiche della Diocesi di Brescia. 16 (1-2): 7-37.

Traill, David A. 2018, ed. and trans. Carmina Burana. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 48-49. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

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