Songs from the Carmina Burana


Translations © by David Parlett
Lines in grey text are omitted from Orff's cantata



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 ...ore!
Litteratos convocat
   decus virginale;
laicorum execrat
   pectus bestiale.
cunctos amor incitat
   per iubar estivale;
Venus se communicat,
   numen generale.
Citharizat cantico
   dulcis philomena;
flore rident vario
   prata iam serena;
turba salit avium
   silve per amena;
chorus promit virginum
   iam gaudia millena.

Spring unveils herself

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
   colourfully dressed:
Zephyrus eke with sweet breath
   warmly wafts above us,
while we strive, as to the death,
   for the prize of lovers.
Pretty girls with one accord
   flock to men of letters
meriting the lumpen horde
   far below their betters.
Love draws everyone along,
   willingly entwining:
Venus sharing in their throng
   and the summer shining.
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.

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.

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.

Ecce gratum

Ecce gratum
et optatum
ver reducit gaudia:
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!
et Ietantur
in melle dulcedinis,
qui conantur,
ut utantur
premio Cupidinis.
simus iussu Cypridis
et letantes
pares esse Paridis!

Welcome season

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!



Floret silva nobilis

Floret silva nobilis
floribus et foliis.
Ubi est antiquus
meus amicus?
   hinc equitavit!
Eia! Quis me amabit?
Grunet der walt allenthalben.
Wa ist min geselle also lange?
   Der ist geriten hinnen.
Owi! Wer soll mih minnen?

Gone away...

Forest, wood and lofty bower
flourishing with leaf and flower:
where is my once lover?
Has he another?
   He rode away to thwart me -
Alas! Now who will court me?
Now the greenwood's newly started
where's my former love departed?
   He rode away to thwart me -
Alas! Now who will court me?

Chramer gip die varwe

Chramer gip die varwe mier
   diu min wengel roete
da mit ich die jungen man
   an ir danch der minnenliebe noete.

   Seht mich an, iungen man,
   lat mich iu gevallen.
Minnet, tugendliche man,
   minnetkliche vrouwen
minnet tuot eu hoech gemuet
   unde lat euch in hoehen eren schauwen.

   Seht mich an, iungen man,
   lat mich iu gevallen.
Wol dir werlt, daz du bist
   also vreudenreiche.
Ich wil dir sin undertan
   Durch dein liebe immer sicherlichen.

   Seht mich an, iungen man,
   lat mich iu gevallen.

Chapman, let me have...

Chapman, let me have some rouge
   fit for my complexion,
so that I may lead young men
   willy-nilly into my affection.

   Look at me, young man, see -
   let me be your pleasure!
Sir, you are required to love
   ladies who deserve it;
true love elevates the heart;
   people honour gentlemen who serve it.

   Look at me, young man, see -
   let me be your pleasure!
Bless you, World, for your joys:
   how shall I repay you?
Let me plight my troth to you
   in your service honour and obey you.

   Look at me, young man, see -
   let me be your pleasure!

Swaz hie gat umbe

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

Here dancin'...

Here dancin' and a whirlin'
they're everyone a virgin:
they plan to go without a man
all the summer if they can!

Chume, chume, geselle min

Chume, chume, geselle min
ih enbite harte din!
ih enbite harte din
chume, chume, geselle min!
Suzer rosenwarve munt
chum unde mache mich gesunt!
chum unde mache mich gesunt
suzer rosenwarve munt!

Come, oh come my love

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 again
come and cure me of my pain!
come and cure me of my pain
with thy rose-red lips again!

Were div werlt alle min

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

If the whole wide world...

If the whole wide world were mine
from the sea right down the Rhine
   I'd surrender all its charms
for one chance of holding in my arms
   of holding in my arms
Queen Eleanor of England!