O Fortuna
Velut luna
statue 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,
obumbrata
et velata
michi 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!

English translation -

O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
and waning
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it
poverty
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,
shadowed
and veiled
you plague me too
now through the game
I bring my bare back
to your villainy.
Fate is against me
in health
and virtue
driven on
and weighted down
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating strings;
since Fate
strikes down the string man,
everyone weep with me!


Lyrics submitted by Spaced_Boy

O Fortuna song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentoh yeah, and the students and clergy (goliards as they called themselves) who wrote this were defrocked monks and minstrels... a lot of what is written throughout carmina burana is humorous hymns to gluttony and gambling as well as sex and other such subjects... Sorry if my writing is poor, i'm sick and merely putting all this in out of boredom, and a feeling that maybe somebody will stumble across this, find it interesting and then perhaps another soul can find their way into the world of great music. A world outside of the pop bands that litter these pages and will be all but forgotten within ten years (this piece itself is over 100 years old already). Oh well, this is all I'll say about it. If you want to know more, do some research, find the score, it's well worth it to have something like this in your arsenal of knowledge. Arm yourself well, you don't want to bring a knife to a gun fight, so make sure you have a wide array of weaponry. And I invite anybody to expand or ammend any of what I have said.
    Spaced_Boyon November 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentO Fortuna pretty much the opening and closing movement in Carmina Burana (1937) which was based on the Carmina Burana poems compiled by Johann Andreas Schmeller in 1847. The poems themselves were written by students and clergy around 1230. Anyway, that's pretty much where it comes from in a nutshell.
    Spaced_Boyon November 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song it is like powerful
    twilightbeautyon June 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat language is this song cause actually never new there were words until i listened to it
    twilightbeautyon June 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsome of the Latin is a bit off. Like "Michi" is actually written "Mihi." But still a fantastic song
    Metallica319on December 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@Metallica319: "Mihi" is the traditional spelling, yes, but the alternate spelling is in fact "michi."

    Other then that, the only other misspelling I could find was "statue," the correct spelling of which I believe is "statu."

    To prevent any future confusion as to the language that this song is sung in, the song is sung in Latin, specifically Ecclesiastical Latin, or "Church Latin," (the difference between this form and the other forms of Latin is the pronunciation, and this form of Latin was and still is used during Catholic Mass).

    Anyway, as for the meaning of the poem, I personally think it's pretty self-explanitory (provided you read the English lyrics). I would explain it, and I understand what the poem is talking about, but I'm not quite sure how to explain it.

    TheEnigmaon July 28, 2010   Link

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