O fortuna potens (Cipriano de Rore)

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  • (Posted 2020-10-22)  CPDL #60977:       
Editor: John Hetland (submitted 2020-10-22).   Score information: Letter, 9 pages, 1.19 MB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Source: Cipriano Rore: Collected Works, ed. Bernhard Meier, CMM 14 VI, 1975. Notation here is a major third higher than original with time values halved. Translation by Quintus and JH, editorial accidentals by John Hetland and the Renaissance Street Singers. 17 Oct 2020

General Information

Title: O fortuna potens
Composer: Cipriano de Rore

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SecularArt song

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

    Manuscript 1559 in 26 Motets, no. 19

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

O fortúna pótens, tántum júris átrox
Quae tíbi véndicas evertísque bónos,
Eligis impróbos, nec serváre pótes
Munéribus fídem.
Fortúna imméritos áuget honóribus;
Fortúna innócuos cládibus áfficit;
Jústos ílla víros paupérie grávat;
Indígnos éadem divítiis béat.

Haéc áufert júvenes et rétinet sénes,
Injústo arbítrio témpora dividens;
Quod dígnis ádimit, trádit ad ímpios,
Nec discrímen hábet rectaque júdicat.
Incónstans frágilis, pérfida lúbrica,
Nec quos claríficat, perpétuo fóvet,
Nec quos deséruit, perpétuo prémit.

English.png English translation

O mighty Fortune, such power, appalling one,
you claim for yourself and overthrow the good.
You select the wicked, and cannot keep faith,
in spite of men's good services.
Fortune extols the undeserving with honours.
Fortune inflicts calamities on the innocent.
She weighs down righteous men with poverty,
and yet blesses the unworthy with riches.

She takes away the young and keeps the old alive,
allotting their life-spans with unfair judgment.
What she takes from the worthy she hands to the wicked.
She has no true judgment and condemns righteous actions.
Inconstant, fragile, treacherous, slippery,
but she does not cherish forever those she glorifies,
nor does she forever crush those she has abandoned.