Recitative Here I stand, my constitution sound, my frame not ill-favoured, my wit ready, my heart light. I play the industrious apprentice in a copybook? I submit to the drudge's yoke? I slave through a lifetime to enrich others and then be thrown away like a gnawed bone? Not I! Have not grave doctors assured us that good works are of no avail, for heaven predestines all? In my fashion, I may profess myself of their party and herewith entrust myself to Fortune.
Since it is not by merit we rise or we fall, but the favour of Fortune that governs us all, why should I labour for what in the end she will give me for nothing if she be my friend? While if she be not, why, the wealth I might gain for a time by my toil would at last be in vain. Till I die then, of fever, or by lightning am struck, let me live by my wits and trust to my luck. My life lies before me, the world is so wide: come, wishes, be horses this beggar shall ride.