Carmina Burana

See about the poem.


  O Fortuna | Fortune plango vulnerat | Veris leta facies | Omnia sol temperat | Ecce gratum
Floret silva | Chramer, gip die varwe mir | Reie | Chume, chum, geselle min | Swaz hie gat umbe
Were diu werlt alle min | Estuans interius | Cignus ustus cantat | Ego sum abbas | In taberna
Amor volat undique | Dies, nox et omnia | Stetit puella | Circa mea pectora | Si puer cum puellula
Veni, veni, venias | In trutina | Tempus est iucundum | Dulcissime | Ave formosissima

1. O Fortuna   
O Fortuna, 
velut luna 
statu variabilis, 
semper crescis 
aut decrescis; 
vita detestabilis 
nunc obdurat 
et tunc curat 
ludo mentis aciem; 
dissolvit ut glaciem. 

Sors immanis 
et inanis, 
rota tu volubilis, 
status malus, 
vana salus 
semper dissolubilis, 
et velata 
mihi quoque niteris; 
nunc per ludum 
dorsum nudum 
fero tui sceleris. 

Sors salutis 
et virtutis 
mihi nunc contraria, 
est affectus 
et defectus 
semper in angaria. 
Hac in hora 
sine mora 
corde pulsum tangite; 
quod per sortem 
sternit fortem, 
mecum omnes plangite!

O Fortune, 
like the moon 
with its changing phases, 
you are ever growing 
and waning; 
hateful life 
first oppresses 
and then soothes 
as fancy takes it; 
and power 
it melts them like ice. 

Fate - monstrous 
and empty, 
you whirling wheel, 
you are malevolent, 
well-being is vain 
and always fades to nothing. 
and veiled 
you plague me too; 
now through the game 
I bring my bare back 
to your villainy. 

When health 
and virtue 
are against me, 
are only pain 
and exhaustion, 
forever in this vale of tears. 
So at this hour 
without delay 
pluck the vibrating strings; 
since Fate 
strikes down the string man, 
everyone weep with me!

2. Fortune plango vulnerat   
Fortune plango vulnerat 
stillantibus ocellis, 
quod sua michi munera 
subtrahit rebellis. 
Verum est, quod legitur, 
ronte capillata, 
sed plerumque sequitur 
Occasio calvata. 

In Fortune solio 
sederam elatus, 
prosperitatis vario 
flore coronatus; 
quicquid enim florui 
felix et beatus, 
nunc a summo corrui 
gloria privatus. 

Fortune rota volvitur: 
descendo minoratus; 
alter in altum tollitur; 
nimis exaltatus 
rex sedet in vertice 
caveat ruinam! 
nam sub axe legimus 
Hecubam reginam.

I bemoan the wounds of Fortune 
with weeping eyes 
for the gifts she made me 
she perversely takes away. 
It is written in truth, 
that she has a fine head of hair, 
but, when it comes to seizing an opportunity 
she is bald. 

On Fortune's throne 
I used to sit raised up, 
crowned with 
the many-coloured flowers of prosperity; 
though I may have flourished 
happy and blessed, 
now I fall from the peak 
deprived of glory. 

The wheel of Fortune turns 
I go down, demeaned; 
another is raised up; 
far too proud 
sits the king at the summit - 
let him fear ruin! 
for under the axis we read 
about Queen Hecuba.

3. Veris leta facies   
Veris leta facies 
mundo propinatur, 
hiemalis acies 
victa iam fugatur, 
in vestitu vario 
Flora principatur, 
nemorum dulcisono 
que cantu celebratur. 

Flore fusus gremio 
Phebus novo more 
risum dat, hac vario 
iam stipate flore. 
Zephyrus nectareo 
spirans in odore. 
Certatim pro bravio 
curramus in amore. 

Cytharizat cantico 
dulcis Philomena, 
flore rident vario 
prata iam serena, 
salit cetus avium 
silve per amena, 
chorus promit virgin 
iam gaudia millena.

The merry face of spring 
turns to the world, 
sharp winter 
now flees, vanquished; 
bedecked in various colours 
Flora reigns, 
the harmony of the woods 
praises her in song. Ah! 

Lying in Flora's lap 
Phoebus once more 
smiles, now covered 
in many-coloured flowers, 
Zephyr breathes nectar- 
scented breezes. 
Let us rush to compete 
for love's prize. Ah! 

In harp-like tones sings 
the sweet Philomena, 
with many flowers 
the joyous meadows are laughing, 
a flock of birds rises up 
through the pleasant forests, 
the chorus of maidens 
already promises a thousand joys. Ah!

4. Omnia sol temperat  
Omnia sol temperat 
purus et subtilis, 
novo mundo reserat 
faciem Aprilis, 
ad amorem properat 
animus herilis 
et iocundis imperat 
deus puerilis. 

Rerum tanta novitas 
in solemni vere 
et veris auctoritas 
jubet nos gaudere; 
vias prebet solitas, 
et in tuo vere 
fides est et probitas 
tuum retinere. 

Ama me fideliter, 
fidem meam noto: 
de corde totaliter 
et ex mente tota 
sum presentialiter 
absens in remota, 
quisquis amat taliter, 
volvitur in rota.

The sun warms everything, 
pure and gentle, 
once again it reveals to the world 
April's face, 
the soul of man 
is urged towards love 
and joys are governed 
by the boy-god. 

All this rebirth 
in spring's festivity 
and spring's power 
bids us to rejoice; 
it shows us paths we know well, 
and in your springtime 
it is true and right 
to keep what is yours. 

Love me faithfully! 
See my faithfullness: 
with all my heart 
and with all my soul, 
I am with you 
even when I am far away. 
Whosoever loves this much 
turns on the wheel

5. Ecce gratum   
Ecce gratum 
et optatum 
Ver reducit gaudia, 
floret pratum, 
Sol serenat omnia. 
Iamiam cedant tristia! 
Estas redit, 
nunc recedit 
Hyemis sevitia. 

Iam liquescit 
et decrescit 
grando, nix et cetera; 
bruma fugit, 
et iam sugit 
Ver Estatis ubera; 
illi mens est misera, 
qui nec vivit, 
nec lascivit 
sub Estatis dextera. 

et letantur 
in melle dulcedinis, 
qui conantur, 
ut utantur 
premio Cupidinis: 
simus jussu Cypridis 
et letantes 
pares esse Paridis.

Behold, the pleasant 
and longed-for 
spring brings back joyfulness, 
violet flowers 
fill the meadows, 
the sun brightens everything, 
Sadness is now at an end! 
Summer returns, 
now withdraw 
the rigours of winter. Ah! 

Now melts 
and disappears 
ice, snow and the rest, 
winter flees, 
and now spring sucks 
at summer's breast: 
a wretched soul is he 
who neither lives 
or lusts 
under summer's rule. Ah! 

They rejoice 
and glory 
in honeyed sweetness 
who strive 
to make use of 
Cupid's prize; 
at Venus' command 
let us glory 
and rejoice 
in being Paris' equals. Ah! 

7. Floret silva   
Floret silva nobilis 
floribus et foliis. 

(Small Chorus)
Ubi est antiquus 
meus amicus? 
Hinc equitavit, 
eia, quis me amabit? 

Floret silva undique, 
nah min gesellen ist mir we. 

(Small Chorus)
Gruonet der walt allenthalben, 
wa ist min geselle alse lange? 
Der ist geriten hinnen, 
o wi, wer sol mich minnen?

The noble woods are burgeoning 
with flowers and leaves. 

Where is the lover 
I knew? Ah! 
He has ridden off! 
Oh! Who will love me? Ah! 

The woods are burgeoning all over, 
I am pining for my lover. 

The woods are turning green all over, 
why is my lover away so long? Ah! 
He has ridden off, 
Oh woe, who will love me? Ah!

8. Chramer, gip die varwe mir   
Chramer, gip die varwe mir, 
die min wengel roete, 
damit ich die jungen man 
an ir dank der minnenliebe noete. 
Seht mich an, 
jungen man! 
lat mich iu gevallen! 

Minnet, tugentliche man, 
minnecliche frouwen! 
minne tuot iu hoch gemout 
unde lat iuch in hohen eren schouwen 
Seht mich an 
jungen man! 
lat mich iu gevallen! 

Wol dir, werit, daz du bist 
also freudenriche! 
ich will dir sin undertan 
durch din liebe immer sicherliche. 
Seht mich an, 
jungen man! 
lat mich iu gevallen

Shopkeeper, give me colour 
to make my cheeks red, 
so that I can make the young men 
love me, against their will. 
Look at me, 
young men! 
Let me please you! 

Good men, love 
women worthy of love! 
Love ennobles your spirit 
and gives you honour. 
Look at me, 
young men! 
Let me please you! 

Hail, world, 
so rich in joys! 
I will be obedient to you 
because of the pleasures you afford. 
Look at me, 
young men! 
Let me please you.

9a. Reie   
Swaz hie gat umbe, 
daz sint alles megede, 
die wellent an man 
allen disen sumer gan!

Those who go round and round 
are all maidens, 
they want to do without a man 
all summer long. Ah! Sla!
9b. Chume, chum, geselle min   
(Small Chorus) 
Chume, chum, geselle min, 
ih enbite harte din, 
ih enbite harte din, 
chume, chum, geselle min. 

Suzer rosenvarwer munt, 
chum un mache mich gesunt 
chum un mache mich gesunt, 
suzer rosenvarwer munt,

Come, come, my love, 
I long for you, 
I long for you, 
come, come, my love. 

Sweet rose-red lips, 
come and make me better, 
come and make me better, 
sweet rose-red lips.

9c. Swaz hie gat umbe   
Swaz hie gat umbe, 
daz sint alles megede, 
die wellent an man 
allen disen sumer gan! 

Those who go round and round 
are all maidens, 
they want to do without a man 
all summer long. Ah! Sla!
10. Were diu werlt alle min   
Were diu werlt alle min 
von deme mere unze an den Rin 
des wolt ih mih darben, 
daz diu chunegin von Engellant 
lege an minen armen.

Were all the world mine 
from the sea to the Rhine, 
I would starve myself of it 
so that the queen of England 
might lie in my arms
11. Estuans interius   
Estuans interius 
ira vehementi 
in amaritudine 
loquor mee menti: 
factus de materia, 
cinis elementi 
similis sum folio, 
de quo ludunt venti. 

Cum sit enim proprium 
viro sapienti 
supra petram ponere 
sedem fundamenti, 
stultus ego comparor 
fluvio labenti, 
sub eodem tramite 
nunquam permanenti. 

Feror ego veluti 
sine nauta navis, 
ut per vias aeris 
vaga fertur avis; 
non me tenent vincula, 
non me tenet clavis, 
quero mihi similes 
et adiungor pravis. 

Mihi cordis gravitas 
res videtur gravis; 
iocis est amabilis 
dulciorque favis; 
quicquid Venus imperat, 
labor est suavis, 
que nunquam in cordibus 
habitat ignavis. 

Via lata gradior 
more iuventutis 
inplicor et vitiis 
immemor virtutis, 
voluptatis avidus 
magis quam salutis, 
mortuus in anima 
curam gero cutis.

Burning inside 
with violent anger, 
I speak to my soul: 
created from matter, 
of the ashes of the elements, 
I am like a leaf 
played with by the winds. 

If it is the way 
of the wise man 
to build 
foundations on stone, 
then I, the fool, am like 
a flowing stream, 
which under the riverbed 
never rests. 

I am carried along 
like a ship without a steersman, 
and in the paths of the air 
like a light, hovering bird; 
chains cannot hold me, 
keys cannot imprison me, 
I look for people like me 
and join the wretches. 

The heaviness of my heart 
seems like a burden to me; 
it is pleasant to joke 
and sweeter than honeycomb; 
whatever Venus commands 
is a sweet duty, 
she never dwells 
in a lazy heart. 

I travel the broad path 
as is the way of youth, 
I give myself to vice, 
unmindful of virtue, 
I am eager for the pleasures of the flesh 
more than for salvation, 
my soul is dead, 
so I shall look after the flesh.

12. Cignus ustus cantat   
Olim lacus colueram, 
olim pulcher extiteram, 
dum cignus ego fueram. 

(Male chorus)
Miser, miser! 
modo niger 
et ustus fortiter! 

Girat, regirat garcifer; 
me rogus urit fortiter; 
propinat me nunc dapifer. 

(Male Chorus)
Miser, miser! 
modo niger 
et ustus fortiter! 

Nunc in scutella iaceo, 
et volitare nequeo 
dentes frendentes video: 

(Male Chorus)
Miser, miser! 
modo niger 
et ustus fortiter!

Once I lived on lakes, 
once I looked beautiful, 
when I was a swan. 

Misery me! 
Now black 
and roasting fiercely! 

The servant is turning me on the spit; 
I am burning fiercely on the pyre: 
the steward now serves me up. 

Misery me! 
Now black 
and roasting fiercely! 

Now I lie on a plate, 
and cannot fly anymore, 
I see bared teeth: 

Misery me! 
Now black 
and roasting fiercely!

13. Ego sum abbas   
Ego sum abbas Cucaniensis
et consilium meum est cum bibulis, 
et in secta Decii voluntas mea est, 
et qui mane me quesierit in taberna, 
post vesperam nudus egredietur, 
et sic denudatus veste clamabit: 

(Baritone and Male Chorus)
Wafna, wafna! 
quid fecisti sors turpassi 
Nostre vite gaudia 
abstulisti omnia!

I am the abbot of Cockaigne 
and my assembly is one of drinkers, 
and I wish to be in the order of Decius, 
and whoever searches me out at the tavern in the morning, 
after Vespers he will leave naked, 
and thus stripped of his clothes he will call out: 

Woe! Woe! 
what have you done, vilest Fate? 
the joys of my life 
you have taken all away!

14. In taberna quando sumus   
In taberna quando sumus 
non curamus quid sit humus, 
sed ad ludum properamus, 
cui semper insudamus. 
Quid agatur in taberna 
ubi nummus est pincerna, 
hoc est opus ut queratur, 
si quid loquar, audiatur. 

Quidam ludunt, quidam bibunt, 
quidam indiscrete vivunt. 
Sed in ludo qui morantur, 
ex his quidam denudantur 
quidam ibi vestiuntur, 
quidam saccis induuntur. 
Ibi nullus timet mortem 
sed pro Baccho mittunt sortem: 

Primo pro nummata vini, 
ex hac bibunt libertini; 
post hec bibunt ter pro vivis, 
semel bibunt pro captivis, 
quater pro Christianis cunctis 
quinquies pro fidelibus defunctis, 
sexies pro sororibus vanis, 
septies pro militibus silvanis. 

Octies pro fratribus perversis, 
nonies pro monachis dispersis, 
decies pro navigantibus 
undecies pro discordaniibus, 
duodecies pro penitentibus, 
tredecies pro iter agentibus. 
Tam pro papa quam pro rege 
bibunt omnes sine lege. 

Bibit hera, bibit herus, 
bibit miles, bibit clerus, 
bibit ille, bibit illa, 
bibit servis cum ancilla, 
bibit velox, bibit piger, 
bibit albus, bibit niger, 
bibit constans, bibit vagus, 
bibit rudis, bibit magnus. 

Bibit pauper et egrotus, 
bibit exul et ignotus, 
bibit puer, bibit canus, 
bibit presul et decanus, 
bibit soror, bibit frater, 
bibit anus, bibit mater, 
bibit ista, bibit ille, 
bibunt centum, bibunt mille. 

Parum sexcente nummate 
durant, cum immoderate 
bibunt omnes sine meta. 
Quamvis bibant mente leta, 
sic nos rodunt omnes gentes 
et sic erimus egentes. 
Qui nos rodunt confundantur 
et cum iustis non scribantur.

When we are in the tavern, 
we do not think how we will go to dust, 
but we hurry to gamble, 
which always makes us sweat. 
What happens in the tavern, 
where money is host, 
you may well ask, 
and hear what I say. 

Some gamble, some drink, 
some behave loosely. 
But of those who gamble, 
some are stripped bare, 
some win their clothes here, 
some are dressed in sacks. 
Here no-one fears death, 
but they throw the dice in the name of Bacchus. 

First of all it is to the wine-merchant 
the the libertines drink, 
one for the prisoners, 
three for the living, 
four for all Christians, 
five for the faithful dead, 
six for the loose sisters, 
seven for the footpads in the wood, 

Eight for the errant brethren, 
nine for the dispersed monks, 
ten for the seamen, 
eleven for the squabblers, 
twelve for the penitent, 
thirteen for the wayfarers. 
To the Pope as to the king 
they all drink without restraint. 

The mistress drinks, the master drinks, 
the soldier drinks, the priest drinks, 
the man drinks, the woman drinks, 
the servant drinks with the maid, 
the swift man drinks, the lazy man drinks, 
the white man drinks, the black man drinks, 
the settled man drinks, the wanderer drinks, 
the stupid man drinks, the wise man drinks. 

The poor man drinks, the sick man drinks, 
the exile drinks, and the stranger, 
the boy drinks, the old man drinks, 
the bishop drinks, and the deacon, 
the sister drinks, the brother drinks, 
the old lady drinks, the mother drinks, 
this man drinks, that man drinks, 
a hundred drink, a thousand drink. 

Six hundred pennies would hardly 
suffice, if everyone 
drinks immoderately and immeasurably. 
However much they cheerfully drink 
we are the ones whom everyone scolds, 
and thus we are destitute. 
May those who slander us be cursed 
and may their names not be written in the book of the righteous.

15. Amor volat undique   
Amor volat undique, 
captus est libidine. 
Iuvenes, iuvencule 
coniunguntur merito. 

Siqua sine socio, 
caret omni gaudio; 
tenet noctis infima sub intimo 
cordis in custodia: 

fit res amarissima. 

Cupid flies everywhere 
seized by desire. 
Young men and women 
are rightly coupled. 

The girl without a lover 
misses out on all pleasures, 
she keeps the dark night 
hidden in the depth of her heart; 

it is a most bitter fate.

16. Dies, nox et omnia   
Dies, nox et omnia 
michi sunt contraria; 
virginum colloquia 
me fay planszer, 
oy suvenz suspirer, 
plu me fay temer. 

O sodales, ludite, 
vos qui scitis dicite 
michi mesto parcite, 
grand ey dolur, 
attamen consulite 
per voster honur. 

Tua pulchra facies 
me fay planszer milies, 
pectus habet glacies. 
A remender 
statim vivus fierem 
per un baser. 

Day, night and everything 
is against me, 
the chattering of maidens 
makes me weep, 
and often sigh, 
and, most of all, scares me. 

O friends, play, 
you who know, 
spare me, sorrowful, 
great is my grief, 
advise me at least, 
by your honour. 

Your beautiful face, 
makes me weep a thousand times, 
your heart is of ice. 
As a cure, 
I would be revived 
by a kiss.

17. Stetit puella   
Stetit puella 
rufa tunica; 
si quis eam tetigit, 
tunica crepuit. 

Stetit puella 
tamquam rosula; 
facie splenduit, 
os eius fioruit. 

A girl stood 
in a red tunic; 
if anyone touched it, 
the tunic rustled. 

A girl stood 
like a little rose: 
her face was radiant 
and her mouth in bloom. 

18. Circa mea pectora   
(Baritone and Chorus) 
Circa mea pectora 
multa sunt suspiria 
de tua pulchritudine, 
que me ledunt misere. 

Manda liet, 
Manda liet 
min geselle 
chumet niet. 

Tui lucent oculi 
sicut solis radii, 
sicut splendor fulguris 
lucem donat tenebris. 

Manda liet 
Manda liet, 
min geselle 
chumet niet. 

Vellet deus, vallent dii 
quod mente proposui: 
ut eius virginea 
reserassem vincula. 

Manda liet, 
Manda liet 
min geselle 
chumet niet.

In my heart 
there are many sighs 
for your beauty, 
which wound me sorely. Ah! 

Song of joy, 
song of joy, 
my lover 
does not grieve. 

Your eyes shine 
like the rays of the sun, 
like the flashing of lightening 
which brightens the darkness. Ah! 

Song of joy, 
song of joy, 
my lover 
does not grieve. 

May God grant, may the gods grant 
what I have in mind: 
that I may loose 
the chains of her virginity. Ah! 

Song of joy, 
song of joy, 
my lover 
does not grieve.

19. Si puer cum puellula   
(Small chorus) 
Si puer cum puellula 
moraretur in cellula, 
felix coniunctio. 
Amore suscrescente 
pariter e medio 
avulso procul tedio, 
fit ludus ineffabilis 
membris, lacertis, labii.

If a boy with a girl 
tarries in a little room, 
happy is their coupling. 
Love rises up, 
and between them 
prudery is driven away, 
an ineffable game begins 
in their limbs, arms and lips.¨
20. Veni, veni, venias   
Veni, veni, venias, 
ne me mori facias, 
hyrca, hyrce, nazaza, 

Pulchra tibi facies 
oculorum acies, 
capillorum series, 
o quam clara species! 

Rosa rubicundior, 
lilio candidior 
omnibus formosior, 
semper in te glorior! 

Come, come, O come, 
do not let me die, 
hycra, hycre, nazaza, 

Beautiful is your face, 
the gleam of your eye, 
your braided hair, 
what a glorious creature! 

redder than the rose, 
whiter than the lily, 
lovelier than all others, 
I shall always glory in you!

21. In trutina   
In trutina mentis dubia 
fluctuant contraria 
lascivus amor et pudicitia. 
Sed eligo quod video, 
collum iugo prebeo: 
ad iugum tamen suave transeo.

In the wavering balance of my feelings 
set against each other 
lascivious love and modesty. 
But I choose what I see, 
and submit my neck to the yoke; 
I yield to the sweet yoke.
22. Tempus est iocundum   
Tempus est iocundum, 
o virgines, 
modo congaudete 
vos iuvenes. 

Oh, oh, oh, 
totus floreo, 
iam amore virginali 
totus ardeo, 
novus, novus amor 
est, quo pereo. 

Mea me confortat 
mea me deportat 

(Soprano and boys)
Oh, oh, oh 
totus floreo 
iam amore virginali 
totus ardeo, 
novus, novus amor 
est, quo pereo 

Tempore brumali 
vir patiens, 
animo vernali 

Oh, oh, oh, 
totus floreo, 
iam amore virginali 
totus ardeo, 
novus, novus amor 
est, quo pereo. 

Mea mecum ludit 
mea me detrudit 

(Soprano and Boys)
Oh, oh, oh, 
totus floreo, 
iam amore virginali 
totus ardeo, 
novus, novus amor 
est, quo pereo. 

Veni, domicella, 
cum gaudio, 
veni, veni, pulchra, 
iam pereo. 

(Baritone, Boys and Chorus)
Oh, oh, oh, 
totus floreo, 
iam amore virginali 
totus ardeo, 
novus, novus amor est 
quo pereo. 

It is time to rejoice, 
O maidens, 
rejoice with them, 
young men! 

Oh! Oh! Oh! 
I am bursting out all over! 
I am burning all over 
with first love! 
New, new love is 
what I am dying of! 

I am heartened 
by my promise, 
I am downcast 
by my refusal 

Oh! Oh! Oh! 
I am bursting out all over! 
I am burning all over 
with first love! 
New, new love is 
what I am dying of! 

In the winter 
man is patient, 
the breath of spring 
makes him lust. 

Oh! Oh! Oh! 
I am bursting out all over! 
I am burning all over 
with first love! 
New, new love is 
what I am dying of! 

My virginity 
makes me frisky, 
my simplicity 
holds me back. 

Oh! Oh! Oh! 
I am bursting out all over! 
I am burning all over 
with first love! 
New, new love is 
what I am dying of! 

Come, my mistress, 
with joy, 
come, come, my pretty, 
I am dying! 

Oh! Oh! Oh! 
I am bursting out all over! 
I am burning all over 
with first love! 
New, new love is 
what I am dying of!

23. Dulcissime   
totam tibi subdo me! 

Sweetest one! Ah! 
I give myself to you totally!
24. Ave formosissima   
Ave formosissima, 
gemma pretiosa, 
ave decus virginum, 
virgo gloriosa, 
ave mundi luminar, 
ave mundi rosa, 
Blanziflor et Helena, 
Venus generosa!
Hail, most beautiful one, 
precious jewel, 
Hail, pride among virgins, 
glorious virgin, 
Hail. light of the world, 
Hail, rose of the world, 
Blanchefleur and Helen, 
noble Venus!

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