Illuminated sign outside a national gambling or lottery store (www.ifortuna.sk) at the Sturovo end of the Maria Valeria Bridge.

I was just wondering about the mixture of striving, hope and chance that carried me here for the next six months, as I walked home with Carl Orff ringing in my head.

‘O Fortune, 
like the moon
 you are changeable,
 always waxing 
or waning;
 hateful life 
first oppresses 
and then soothes 
as fancy takes it; 
poverty
 and power 
it melts them like ice. 

Fate – monstrous
 and empty, 
you whirling wheel,
 stand malevolent,
 well-being is vain 
and always fades to nothing, 
shadowed
 and veiled
 you plague me too;
 now through trickery, 
I bring my bare back 
to your villainy.

 Fate, in health
 and in virtue, 
is against me,
 driven on
 and weighted down,
 always enslaved.
 So at this hour
 without delay 
pluck the vibrating string; 
since Fate 
strikes down the strong man,
 everyone weep with me!’

Early 13th Century Latin Goliardic Poem (set to music by Carl Orff in his cantata Carmina Burana 1936).

 

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