O Fortuna English Translation / Lyrics

Carl Orff – O Fortuna

O Fortuna – Latin and English lyrics (Carmina Burana – composed by Carl Orff)
Written in the 1930s, this is an incredibly powerful piece of music.
Latin and English translation.

O Fortuna

velut luna

statu variabilis,

semper crescis

aut decrescis;

vita detestabilis

nunc obdurate

et tunc curat

ludo mentis aciem,



dissolvit 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

michi 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!

O Fortune,

like the moon

you are changeable,

ever waxing

and waning;

hateful life

first oppresses

and then soothes

as fancy takes it;


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,


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 strong man,

everyone weep with me!

Listen to the opera “O Fortuna”, with English subtitles, using the player below:

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  1. #1 by June E Coughlin on December 14, 2009 - 10:34 am

    This piece of music brings out my goose bumps

  2. #2 by jake on July 30, 2010 - 9:05 am

    i want to die with this song playing in the background.

    • #3 by Zoe on June 21, 2012 - 6:13 pm


  3. #4 by bela on October 26, 2010 - 6:29 am

    oh my god i’m in love with this music

    • #5 by Howard Yeend on October 27, 2010 - 2:28 am

      I’m seeing it performed live this weekend at the Royal Albert Hall! I can’t wait :) :)

  4. #6 by Ashley on March 3, 2011 - 11:56 am

    I absolutely love this song. I need to download it to my ipod and memorize the words in both languages!

  5. #7 by Sam on March 24, 2011 - 11:59 am

    5 things this song makes look epic:

    Dumping your boyfriend.
    Getting on a bus.
    Entering an office building wearing outrageous clothing….
    and Dieing.

    • #8 by John on January 9, 2012 - 2:57 am

      She’s clearly talking about dieing clothes, not death

      • #9 by Joran on July 8, 2012 - 2:03 am

        Then it would be dyeing. See this is why spelling is important people! Your life could depend on it! :p

  6. #10 by Nabil on August 1, 2011 - 9:53 pm

    You should totally get this stuff translated into Swedish :)

  7. #11 by Devin on November 3, 2011 - 6:53 am

    This is my favorite song. It scares the hell out of me. It would make any fight to the death epic in all ways. Flower Duet, Ride of the Valkries, and Rain Drops Prelude are good too.

  8. #12 by Zoe on June 21, 2012 - 6:12 pm

    It is a masterpiece. Carl Orff is a genius among men.

  9. #13 by Cool on August 9, 2012 - 12:38 pm

    I learned this song in 11th grade. Right before 9/11 happened. I had no idea what the words meant until now but Ive always liked the song and I remembered hearing it in a few horror films. Now that I got it translated to English I now understand why that song fits well with 9/11 and all the other stuff going on in our world right now.

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