Carmina Burana

Poetic translation by David Parlett
Fortuna imperatrix mundi
0 Fortuna, velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis  aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
egestatem, potestatem
dissolvit ut glaciem.Sors immanis et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus, vana salus
semper dissolubilis,
obumbratam et velatam
michi quoque niteris;
nunc per ludum dorsum nudum
fero tui sceleris.Sors salutis et virtutis
michi 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!

Fortune plango vulnera
Fortune plango vulnera
stillantibus ocellis,
quod sua michi munera
subtrahit rebellis.
verum est, quod legitur
fronte 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.
Veris leta facies
Veris leta facies
mundo propitiatur,
hiemalis acies
victa iam fugatur.
in vestitu vario
Flora principatur,
nemorum dulcisono
que cantu celebratur.

Flore fusus gremio
Phebus novo more
risum dat, hoc vario
iam stipate fore.
Zephyrus nectareo
spirans it odore.
certatim pro bravio
curramus.

Cytharizat cantico
dulcis Philomena;
flore rident vario
prata iam serena;
turba salit avium
silve per amena;
chorus promit virginum
iam gaudia millena.
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 sollemni vere
et veris auctoritas
iubet nos gaudere.
vices prebet solitas;
et in tuo vere
fides est et probitas
tuum retinere.

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

Ecce gratum

Ecce gratum
et optatum
ver reducit gaudia:
purpuratum
floret pratum,
sol serenat omnia.
iam iam cedant tristia!
estas redit,
nunc recedit
hiemis sevitia.

Iam liquescit
et decrescit
grando, nix et cetera;
bruma fugit,
et iam sugit
veris tellus ubera.
Illi mens est mlsera,
qui nec vivit
nec lascivit
sub estatis dextera!

Gloriantur
et Ietantur
in melle dulcedinis,
qui conantur,
ut utantur
premio Cupidinis.
simus iussu Cypridis
gloriantes
et letantes
pares esse Paridis!
Tanz: Uf dem anger

Floret silva nobilis

Floret silva nobilis
floribus et foliis.
ubi est antiquus
meus amicus?
hinc equitavit!
eia! quis me amabit?

Gruenet der walt allenthalben.
wa is min geselle also lange?
der ist geriten hinnen.
owi! wer sol mich minnen?

Swaz hie gat umbe

Swaz hie gat umbe
daz sint alle megede;
die wellent an man
allen disen sumer gan!

Chume geselle min

Chume, chume, geselle min
ih enbite harte din!
ih enbite harte din!
Chume, chume, geselle min.

Süzer rosenvarwer munt
chum unde mache mich gesunt!
chum unde mache mich gesunt!
Süzer rosenvarwer munt.
Were diu werlt alle min

Were diu werlt alle min
ven deme mere unze an den Rin,
des wolt ih mich darben,
daz chunichin von Engellant
lege an minem arme!


 

Part 2 In The Tavern

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.

Michi cordis gravitas
res videtur gravis
iocus est amabilis
dulciorque favis
quicquid Venus imperat
labor est suavis
que numquam in cordibus
habitat ignavis.

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

Olim lacus colueram

Olim lacus colueram
olim pulcher extiteram
dum cignus ego fueram.
Miser, miser! – Modo niger,
et ustus fortiter!
Girat, regirat garcifer;
Me rogus urit fortiter
propinat me nunc dapifer.

Miser, miser! – Modo niger,
et ustus fortiter!

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

Miser, miser! – Modo niger,
et ustus fortiter!

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:

Wafna, wafna!

Quid fecisti sors turpissima?
Nostre vite gaudia
abstulisti omnia!
Wafna!

In taberna

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 loquor, 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;
semel bibunt pro captivis,
post hec bibunt ter pro vivis,
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 discordantibus,
duodecies pro penitentibus,
tredecies pro iter agentibus.
Tam pro papa quam pro rege
bibunt omnes sine lege.

Bibit hera, bibit herus,
bit miles, bibit clerus,
bibit ille, bibit illa,
bibit servus cum ancilla,
bibit velox, bibit piger,
bibit albus, bibit niger,
bibit constans, bibit vagus,
bibit rudis, bibit magus.

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!
Io!


Part 3 The Court Of Love

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.

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!

Stetit puella

Stetit puella
rufa tunica;
Si quis eam tetigit,
tunica crepuit.
Eia!

Stetit puella,
tamquam rosula;
facie splenduit,
os eius floruit.
Eia!

Circa mea pectora

Circa mea pectora
multa sunt suspiria
de tua pulchritudine,
que me ledunt misere.
Mandaliet, mandaliet,
min geselle chumet niet.

Tui lucent oculi
sicut solis radii,
sicut splendor fulguris,
qui lucem donat tenebris.
Mandaliet, mandaliet,
min geselle chumet niet.

Vellet deus, vellent dii,
quod mente proposui:
ut eius virginea
reserassem vincula.
Manda liet, manda liet,
min geselle chumet niet.

Si puer cum puellula

Si puer cum puellula
moraretur in cellula,
felix coniunctio!

Amore suscrescente,
Amore suscrescente,
pariter e medio
propulso procul tedio,
propulso procul tedio,
fit ludus ineffabilis
membris, lacertis, labiis.

Si puer cum puellula
moraretur in cellula,
felix coniunctio!
Veni, veni, venias

Veni, veni, venias,
ne me mori facias,
hyrca, hyrce, nazaza,
trillirivos, trillirivos.

Pulchra tibi facies,
oculorum acies,
capillorum series,
o quam clara species!
Rosa rubicundior,
lilio candidior,
omnibus formosior,
semper in te glorior!
Nazaza!

In trutina

In trutina mentis dubia
fluctuant contraria
lascivus amor
et pudicitia.

Sed eligo quod video,
collum iugo prebeo;
ad iugum tamen
suave, suave transeo.

Tempus ist 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
promissio,
mea me deportat
negatio.

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

Tempore brumali
vir patiens,
animo vernali
lasciviens.

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

Mea mecum ludit virginitas,
mea me detrudit simplicitas.

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

Dulcissime

Dulcissime –
totam tibi subdo me…

Blanziflor et Helena

Ave formosissima,
gemma pretiosa,
ave decus virginum,
Virgo gloriosa,
ave mundi luminar,
ave mundi rosa,
Blanziflor et Helena,
Venus generosa!


Epilogue: Wheel of Fate
Fortuna imperatrix mundi

 When in the Lady Luck, Empress of the World
O how Fortune, inopportune,
apes the moon’s inconstancy:
waxing, waning, losing, gaining,
life treats us detestably:
first oppressing then caressing
shifts us like pawns in its play:
destitution, restitution,
melting them like ice away.Fate, as vicious as capricious,
you’re a wheel whirling around:
evil doings, worthless wooings,
crumble away to the ground:
darkly stealing, unrevealing,
working against me you go:
for your measure of foul pleasure
bare-backed I bow to your blow.Noble actions, fair transactions,
no longer fall to my lot:
powers that make me, just to break me
all play their parts in your plot:
now it’s your time – waste no more time,
pluck these poor strings and let go: since the strongest fall the longest
may the world share in my woe!

The cruel cuts of Fate
I cry the cruel cuts of Fate
with eyes worn red from weeping,
whose fickle favors travel straight
back into her keeping:
as ye read, so shall ye find –
luck comes curly-headed
from the front, but round behind
not a hair is threaded!

Dame Fortune once invited me
to enjoy her blessing:
to riches’ throne exalted me,
caring and caressing:
but from maximum renown,
garlanded and feted,
Fate stepped up and threw me down –
glory dissipated!

Fortune’s wheel goes round and round,
down go all my talents;
others rising from the ground
fly too high to balance:
so beware Fate’s old routine,
kings and lords and ladies –
for beneath her throne lies Queen
Hecuba in Hades.
Spring unveiled
Spring unveils herself again,
smiling on creation:
Winter’s rule of wind and rain
falls in ruination:
gaily garlanded and crowned,
Flora bids adherence:
birds rejoice and woods resound
at her reappearance.

Phoebus with his sunny smile
cleaves to Flora’s breast –
both anew in flowery style
colorfully dressed:
Zephyrus eke with sweet breath
warmly wafts above us,
while we strive, as to the death,
for the prize of lovers.

Charmingly the nightingale
whiles away the hours:
meadows merrily regale
all the world with flowers:
from the woods the bird-flock whirls,
myriads of flights –
while a dancing ring of girls
hints of greater heights.

Sunshine rules
Sunshine overrules the world
peaceably and purely:
April with her veil unfurled
bares herself demurely;
now to thoughts of love anew
everyone confesses,
gladsomely surrend’ring to
Eros’s caresses.

Spring, inspiring once a year
Nature’s new condition,
bids us follow with good cheer
in the old tradition:
may the springtime of your youth
lead you to discover
need to rest in trust and truth
faithful to your lover.

Therefore love me faithfully,
mark my own devotion:
may it be whole-heartedly
and with resolution.
I am with you everywhere
far away though wending:
all who love as I, must bear
agonies unending.
Welcome, Spring

Welcome, season,
with good reason:
spring restores our old delight:
violets grow
by the hedgerow,
sunshine renders all things bright:
so may care give way to fun –
summer’s coming,
winter’s running –
nasty winter’s on the run!

Now withdrawing,
melting, thawing,
snow and ice and all the rest:
mists are vanished,
earth, half famished,
draws new life from summer’s breast:
dull and dreary all who shun
living, lusting,
trysting, trusting
in the cheery summer Sun!

Loudly voicing
and rejoicing
we’re all after Cupid’s prize:
we who win it
see within it
sights reserved for lovers’ eyes;
Venus orders – let’s obey:
loudly voicing
and rejoicing,
we shall have her every day!

Dance: out in the fields

Forest, wood and bower

Forest, wood and lofty bower,
flourishing with leaf and flower,
where’s my former lover?
gone to another?
He’s ridden off and left me…
Alas! Now who will love me?

The forest greens up everywhere,
but why is my lover never here?
He’s ridden away,
Oh! Who will love me?

Here dancing

Here, dancin’ and a-whirlin’,
they’re every one a young one:
they plan to go without a man
all the summer if they can!
Come my love to me

Come, oh come my love to me,
All too long I long for thee:
all too long I long for thee,
come oh come, my love, to me.

With thy rose-red lips
come and cure me of my pain:
come and cure me of my pain
with thy rose-red lips again.

Were the world mine

Were the whole wide world all mine
from the sea right up to the Rhine,
I’d surrender all its charms
for the chance of holding in my arms, Queen Eleanor of England!


 

Boiling over

Boiling over in the mind,
anger and aggression,
bitterly compel me to
make you my confession:
made of earthly elements,
dusty and decaying,
I’m a leaf that’s blown about
when the winds are playing.

Given that the proper thing
for a man of wisdom
is to build upon a rock
following a system
I must be a fool – for I’m
like a winding river:
never holding to a course,
deviating ever.

Like a boat that’s lost its crew
I’m for ever drifting,
like a bird that’s blown about
when the wind is lifting;
chains have never shackled me,
never key confined me –
let me join depravity,
to my kind I bind me.

Seems to me, a serious mien
means a serious weakness:
fun’s a finer thing by far,
vies with honey’s sweetness:
Venus orders me about
in a job I like much:
one she never offers to
sobersides and such.

Broad the path I travel down,
in a youthful fashion:
virtue leaves me cold – it’s vice
that enflames my passion:
self-indulgence I desire
more so than salvation:
dead my soul, my flesh demands
sole consideration.
A roast swan-song

Once I had lakes to live upon,
once gloriously I swam along,
once – when I used to be a swan.

Poor thing, poor thing-
not a raw thing
but done like anything!

Cook on the spit is curving me,
flames sear through every nerve in me – now here’s a waiter serving me!

Poor thing, poor thing-
not a raw thing
but done like anything!

Now in a serving dish I lie
and I have lost the power to fly,
and grinding molars greet the eye.

Poor thing, poor thing-
not a raw thing
but done like anything!
I am the Abbot

I am the abbot of Cockaigne,

and I take counsel with my drinking
companions,
and my persuasion is that of the gambling
fraternity.
If anyone consults me in the tavern at
matins,
come vespers, he’ll have lost the shirt off
his back,
and being thus fleeced of his raiment will
cry
Wafna! Wafna!

What have you done, god-forsaken dice? Now you’ve made me sacrifice
all I knew of paradise.
Wafna!
In the tavern

In the tavern when we’re drinking,
though the ground be cold and stinking, down we go and join the action
with the dice and gaming faction.
What goes on inside the salon
where it’s strictly cash per gallon
if you’d like to know, sir, well you
shut your mouth and I shall tell you.

Some are drinking, some are playing,
some their vulgar side displaying:
most of those who like to gamble
wind up naked in the scramble;
some emerge attired in new things,
some in bits and bobs and shoestrings:
no one thinks he’ll kick the bucket
dicing for a beery ducat.

First to those who pay for wallowing,
then we layabouts toast the following:
now we drink to all held captive,
thirdly drink to those still active,
fourthly drink to the Christian-hearted,
fifthly drink to the dear departed,
sixthly to our free-and-easy sisters,
seventhly to all out-of-work enlisters.

Eighthly drink to friars deconverted,
ninthly, monks from monast’ries diverted,
tenthly, sailors of the oceans,
eleventhly, louts who cause commotions
twelfthly, those who wear the penitential,
thirteenth, and whose journey is essential;
to this fat pope, to that thin king,
who the hell cares why they’re drinking:

Drinking tinker, drinking tailor,
drinking soldier, drinking sailor,
drinking rich man, drinking poor man,
drinking beggarman, thief and lawman,
drinking servant, drinking master,
drinking mistress, drinking pastor,
drinking doctor, drinking layman,
drinking drunkard, drinking drayman:

Drinking rude man, drinking proper, drinking tiddler, drinking whopper, drinking scholar, drinking gypsy,
drinking drunk or maudlin tipsy,
drinking father, drinking mother,
drinking sister, drinking brother,
drinking husbands, wives and lovers
and a hundred thousand others –

Half a million pounds would never
pay for all we drink together:
for we drink beyond all measure,
purely for the sake of pleasure:
thus you see us, poor and shoddy,
criticized by everybody –
God grant that they be confounded
when at last the trump is sounded!
Io!


Love is flitting all around

Love is flitting all around
with desire conjointly bound,
young men and young women go
fast entwined, and rightly so!

But a girl without a mate
suffers an unhappy fate,
for her heart is locked up tight
deep down inside
freezing in unending night.

Oh, but that’s a bitter sight!
Be it night or be it day

Be it night or be it day
in my timeless disarray,
hearing maidens bavarder
me fait complaindre –
and the more I sigh away
plus me sens craindre.

O my friends, a jeu d’esprit,
calls on your philosophy
to dispel my misery:
grande douleur
bids you bend an ear to me
pour votre honneur.

Of your face the loveliness
causes me to weep sans cesse –
that you have a heart of ice:
pour remedier,
you could bring me back to life
par un baiser.
There was a girl

There was a girl who had
a tunic of bright red:
if anyone touched her
they’d set that dress astir!
Aha!

She stood upon her toes
just like a little rose:
her face shone bright and fair,
and red lips blossomed there.
Aha!
Down inside the soul of me

Down inside the soul of me
sighs consume the whole of me
oh, for all your loveliness,
cause of all my heart’s distress:
Lackaday, tackaday,
will he never come my way?

How the sparkling of your eyes
dims the sun that scours the skies!
like a lightning streak it flings
brightness down on shadowed things.
Lackaday, tackaday,
will he never come my way?

May the gods of love be kind
to the plan I have in mind –
shatter to nihility
her chains of virginity.
Lackaday, tackaday,
will he never come my way?

If ever boy and girl presume

If ever boy and girl presume
to linger in a little room –
happy their communion!

As yearning grows to burning
as yearning grows to burning
equally between the two
they’ll let their inhibitions go,
they lose their inhibitions – oh!
Into a thrilling game they fall
of lips and legs and limbs and all…

If ever boy and girl presume
to linger in a little room –
happy their communion!

Come oh, come oh, come to me

Come oh, come oh, come to me
or I die of misery!
hyrca, hyrce, nazaza,
trillirivos, trillirivos.

Never saw a face so fair,
bright the eyes that sparkle there,
flowing waves of golden hair –
you’re a picture past compare!
Redder than the rose’s hue,
whiter than the lily’s, too,
lovelier than all in view –
I will always worship you!
Nazaza!
In two minds

In two minds, I find my mind to be
turning over helplessly
whether to favor
Venus – or virginity.

But I choose as best I see,
bow the head, and willingly
into that sweetest
yoke of all surrender me.
Come along, it’s playtime

Out you come – it’s playtime
you girls, again!
Join them in the May-time,
young gentlemen!

Oh, oh, oh,
merrily we go!
now I have a darling who
has set my heart aglow:
novel, novel, novel is the love
that slays me oh!..

Promises you make me
are ecstasy,
but when you forsake me
they’re agony!

Oh, oh, oh,
merrily we go!
now I have a darling who
has set my heart aglow:
novel, novel, novel is the love
that slays me oh!..

In the winter season
we’re serious:
when the sap has risen,
lascivious!

Oh, oh, oh,
merrily we go!
now I have a darling who
has set my heart aglow:
novel, novel, novel is the love
that slays me oh!..

How can I have fun if
I’m innocent?
How I am undone if
I’m ignorant!

Oh, oh, oh,
merrily we go!
now I have a darling who
has set my heart aglow:
novel, novel, novel is the love
that slays me oh!..

Come – with joy complying
renew my love:
come along – I’m dying
for you, my love!

Oh, oh, oh,
merrily we go!
now I have a darling who
has set my heart aglow:
novel, novel, novel is the love
that slays me oh!..
I surrender

My darling love –
now I give you all I have…
Blanchefleur and Helen

Hail to thee, thou priceless gem,
perfect and resplendent:
hail, thou pride of maidenhood,
virgin most transcendent:
hail, thou Rose of all the World,
Light all lights abasing:
Blanchefleur and Helen, thou –
Venus all-embracing.setting sun waters glow like red roses,
Feel a warm ripple flowing out across the fields.
Calm of evening a land of happiness discloses,
And rises to the troubled heart.
Let us taste all the utmost joy of life and being,
In this time of our youth while evening is in bloom.
For we shall all depart,
like yonder water flowing;
It to the sea, we to the tomb.


Lady Luck, empress of the world