Songs from the Carmina Burana


Songs of love and desire translated © by David Parlett
Lines in grey text are omitted from Orff's cantata

Amore 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.

Love flits 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!

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!

Night and 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.

Stetit puella

Stetit puella
rufa tunica;
Si quis eam tetigit,
tunica crepuit.
Stetit puella,
tamquam rosula;
facie splenduit,
os eius floruit.
Stetit puella
bi einem boume
scripsit amorem
an eime loube.
Da chom Uenus also fram
caritatem magnam,
hohe minne
bot si ir manne.

Girl in a red dress

There stood a girl who had
a tunic of bright red:
if anyone touched her
they'd set that dress astir!
She stood upon her toes
just like a little rose:
her face shone bright and fair,
and red lips blossomed there.
The girl just stood there - she
was right beside a tree -
and amorously wrote
her love a little note.

Then Venus chanced to pass
and wished her "Caritas! -
May the one you cleave to
love you and never leave you".

Circa mea pectora

Circa mea pectora
multa sunt suspiria
de tua pulchritudine,
que me ledunt misere.
   Manda liet, manda liet,
   min geselle chumet niet.
Tui lucent oculi
sicut solis radii,
sicut splendor fulguris,
qui lucem donat tenebris.
   Manda liet, manda liet,
   min geselle chumet niet.
Vellet deus, vellent dii,
quod mente proposui:
ut eius virginea
reserassem vincula.
   Manda liet, manda liet,
   min geselle chumet niet.

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 she 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 she 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 she never come my way?

Si per 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!

If ever boy and girl

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!

Veni, veni, venias

Veni, veni, venias,
ne me mori facias,
hyria, hyrie, nazaza,
trillirivos, trillirivos.
Pulchra tibi facies,
oculorum acies,
capillorum series,
o quam clara species!
Rosa rubicundior,
lilio candidior,
omnibus formosior,
semper in te glorior!

Come, oh come to me

Come oh come oh come to me
or I die of misery!
hyria, hyrie, 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!

In trutina mentis dubia

In trutina mentis dubia
fluctuant contraria
lascivus amor
   et pudicitia.
Sed eligo quod video,
collum iugo prebeo;
ad iugum tamen
   suave, suave transeo.

In two minds

In two minds, I find my mind to be
turning over helplessly
whether to favour
   Venus - or virginity.
But I choose as best I see,
bow the head, and willingly
into that sweetest
   yoke of all surrender me.

Tempus est 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
mea me deportat
Tempore brumali
   vir patiens,
animo vernali
Mea mecum ludit
mea me detrudit
Veni, domicella,
   cum gaudio,
veni, veni, pulchra,
   iam pereo.

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!
In the winter season
   we're serious:
when the sap has risen,
How can I have fun if
   I'm innocent?
How I am undone if
   I'm ignorant!
Come - with joy complying
   renew my love:
come along - I'm dying
   for you, my love!


total tibi subdo me...

My darling love

My darling love
now I'll give you all I have...

Blanziflor et Helena

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

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.