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    , Latin, ,   


    If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.

    –Latin Proverb



     
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    Carmina Burana, , Latin, O Fortuna, , Translation   


    O Fortuna – Lyrics and meaning 

    O Fortuna
    Oh! Fortuna!

    velut luna
    like the moon

    statu variabilis,
    your state varies,

    semper crescis
    always either in ascendancy

    aut decrescis;
    or in descendancy;

    vita detestabilis
    detestable life

    nunc obdurat
    now hard

    et tunc curat
    and then providing

    ludo mentis aciem,
    with sharpness of mind in its game,

    egestatem,
    poverty,

    potestatem
    power

    dissolvit ut glaciem.
    dissolved like melting ice.

     

    Sors immanis
    Fate – monstrous

    et inanis,
    and empty,

    rota tu volubilis,
    you ever turning wheel,

    status malus,
    evil state,

    vana salus
    empty salutation

    semper dissolubilis,
    amounting to nothing,

    obumbrata
    in shadow

    et velata
    and in veil

    michi quoque niteris;
    you likewise advance upon me;

    nunc per ludum
    now with your games

    dorsum nudum
    bare-backed am I

    fero tui sceleris.
    by your wickedness.

     

    Sors salutis
    Fate, in health

    et virtutis
    and in virtue,

    michi nunc contraria,
    is against me,

    est affectus
    driven on

    et defectus
    and weighted down,

    semper in angaria.
    always enslaved.

    Hac in hora
    So at this hour

    sine mora
    without delay

    corde pulsum tangite;
    pluck the vibrating string;

    quod per sortem
    since Fate

    sternit fortem,
    strikes down the strong man,

    mecum omnes plangite!
    everyone weep with me!

     

    From David Parlett’s translation of Carmina Burana

    http://www.davpar.eu/cburana/cb2fort.html

    O how Fortune, inopportune,
    apes the moon’s inconstancy:
    waxing, waning, losing, gaining,
    life treats us detestably:
    first oppressing then caressing
    shifts us like pawns in its play:
    destitution, restitution,
    melting them like ice away.

    Fate, as vicious as capricious,
    you’re a wheel whirling around:
    evil doings, worthless wooings,
    crumble away to the ground:
    darkly stealing, unrevealing,
    working against me you go:
    for your measure of foul pleasure
    bare-backed I bow to your blow.

    Noble actions, fair transactions,
    no longer fall to my lot:
    powers that make me only to break me
    all play their parts in your plot:
    now it’s your time – waste no more time,
    pluck these poor strings and let go:
    since the strongest fall the longest
    may the world share in my woe!



     
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    , Latin, Middle path, , Vice,   


    In medio stat virtus : Virtue stands in the middle 

    In medio stat virtus : Virtue stands in the middle.

    Virtue is in the moderate, not the extreme position. – Horace

    Voltaire said : The better is the enemy of the good.

    Variant translations:
    The perfect is the enemy of the good.
    The best is the enemy of the good.

    In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle defined a virtue as a balance point between a deficiency and an excess of a trait. The point of greatest virtue lies not in the exact middle, but at a golden mean sometimes closer to one extreme than the other.

    For example:

    Generosity lies in between miserliness and extravagance.

    Courage lies in between cowardice and foolhardiness.

    Confidence lies in between self-deprecation and vanity.

    Virtue, by definition, is a characteristic that promotes individual and collective well being. A vice, on the other hand, does not promote well being. What is surprising to me is that a virtue stands between two vices.

    Now, this is something to think about. The present day paradigm is being the best. We all are told that we have to be the best at what we do. And we even strive for it.

    We give up things just to be the best in what we do. We encourage children to be first in class. In fact our lives are so competitive that we call it a rat race. We drive ourselves hard and get burnt out.

    No wonder this puts things out of perspective. We feel miserable when we cant be the best. We don’t forgive our own mistakes.

    Pushing to extreme cant be a balanced way of life, even if the extreme is perfection. Being the best may be good for business, but it may not be good for the spirit.



     
    • Patty Golden 181544 on 20130127 Permalink

      Thank you. Your lovely words arrived at just the right time.

    • Sara 171503 on 20160113 Permalink

      I searched my house for a sentimental paper (a dear friend had written the Latin down for me and I was unsure of the “virtu” vs. “virtus” spelling. thus the paper search). Unable to find it, I used my phone to do a phrase search. Your site was illuminating. Such a deeper feeding from reflecting on your teaching.

      And I ended up realizing that if I had found my original little slip of paper, I never would have encountered your site… And I would have not added any new reflections upon this very familiar (and treasured) phrase.

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