O Fortuna,
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis,
vita detestabilis.
nunc obdurans
et tunc curans
ludo mentis aciem,
dissolvis ut glaciem.

sors immanis
et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus,
vana salus
semper dissolubilis.
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.

(Carmina Burana 17)

Oh, Fortune,
like the moon
that is constantly changing,
you are always waxing
or waning,
despicable for your changeful nature.
for your amusement you now harden,
now soften
the keen edge of your intentions,
melting poverty
or power
like ice.

Fortune, you are monstrous
and vacuous,
you are a revolving wheel,
an unsure foothold,
a treacherous refuge,
always ready to melt away.
and veiled,
you exercise your power on me too;
my back is now bare
from gambling
thanks to your villainy.

My fortunate position
of safety and strength
has now been turned upside down.
or failure
are now always dependent on my service to another.
without delay,
strum the lutes!
Join with me, all of you, in lamenting
that Fortune has arbitrarily brought
a strong man down.

(tr. David A. Traill)

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