The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

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,



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,

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

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!