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ubi sunt


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Derived from the opening words of a type of medieval Latin poem (‘Where are they?’), taken up in Old English poems such as Beowulf and particularly The Wanderer (ll. 92–3) and in many Middle English lyrics (especially the one beginning ‘Where beth they, beforen us weren’, c.1300). Many later medieval French poems use the theme, most famously Villon's ‘Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis’ with its refrain, ‘Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?’—‘Where are the snows of yesteryear?’

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval).


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