Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Translations from Carmina Burana

"Fortune plango vulnera"
no. 16

Fortune wounds me fatally;
My eyes are red and swollen,
For the gifts she gave to me
She has perversely stolen.
She’s a lovely sight indeed:
Her hair adorns her shoulders;
But when I reach the hour of need,
She’s balder than a boulder.

I used to sit on Fortune’s throne,
With fame, success, and power;
I was crowned with precious stones
And many-colored flowers.
All the earth was in my sights,
The happiest contender,
But now I tumble from the heights,
Deprived of all my splendor.

The Wheel of Fortune turns and turns,
And I go down, degraded;
Another to the top returns,
Too high to see unaided.
At the top, the King should fear
Ruin’s cold arena!
For written on the axis here


"Cur homo torquetur?"
no. 32

Why is there affliction?
To teach respect for jurisdiction.
Why is there affliction?
For social order and crime’s restriction.
Why is there affliction?
To honor the Crucifixion.
Why is there affliction?
To grant our guilt benediction.
Why is there affliction?
So we feel doubly our conviction.

Only God’s inclination
To His chosen grants elevation.

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