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Francois Villon

L'envoy

Princess, by whom my hope is fed,
My heart thee prays in lowlihead
To prune the ill boughs overgrown,
Nor slay Love's tree, nor plant instead
Another tree, save this alone.

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Le Testament: Rondeau

Death, I cry out at your harshness,
That stole my girl away from me,
Yet you're not satisfied I see
Until I languish in distress.

Since then I've lost all liveliness:
What harm alive, to you, was she?
Death, I cry out at your harshness,
That stole my girl away from me.

Two we were, with one heart blessed:
If heart's dead, yes, then I foresee,
I'll die, or I must lifeless be,
Like those statues made of lead.

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Rondel

Goodbye! the tears are in my eyes;
Farewell, farewell, my prettiest;
Farewell, of women born the best;
Good-bye! the saddest of good-byes.
Farewell! with many vows and sighs
My sad heart leaves you to your rest;
Farewell! the tears are in my eyes;
Farewell! from you my miseries
Are more than now may be confessed,
And most by thee have I been blessed,
Yea, and for thee have wasted sighs;
Goodbye! the last of my goodbyes.

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Le Testament: Epitaph et Rondeau

Epitaph

Here there lies, and sleeps in the grave,
One whom Love killed with his scorn,
A poor little scholar in every way,
He was named François Villon.
He never reaped a morsel of corn:
Willed all away, as all men know:
Bed, table, and basket all are gone.
Gallants, now sing his song below:

Rondeau

Oh, grant him now eternal peace,
Lord, and everlasting light,
He wasn't worth a candle bright,
Nor even a sprig of parsley.
Of eyebrows, hair, and beard he's free,
A turnip scraped with a spade, all right:
Oh, grant him now eternal peace.

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Ballade

I know flies in milk
I know the man by his clothes
I know fair weather from foul
I know the apple by the tree
I know the tree when I see the sap
I know when all is one
I know who labors and who loafs
I know everything but myself.

I know the coat by the collar
I know the monk by the cowl
I know the master by the servant
I know the nun by the veil
I know when a hustler rattles on
I know fools raised on whipped cream
I know the wine by the barrel
I know everything but myself.

I know the horse and the mule
I know their loads and their limits

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Ballad Of The Ladies Of Yore

Tell me where, in what country,
Is Flora the beautiful Roman,
Archipiada or Thais
Who was first cousin to her once,
Echo who speaks when there's a sound
On a pond or a river
Whose beauty was more than human?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?
Where is the leamed Heloise
For whom they castrated Pierre Abelard
And made him a monk at Saint-Denis,
For his love he took this pain,
Likewise where is the queen
Who commanded that Buridan
Be thrown in a sack into the Seine?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?

The queen white as a lily
Who sang with a siren's voice,
Big-footed Bertha, Beatrice, Alice,

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The Ballad of Dead Ladies (Ballade des dames du temps jadis)

Tell me now in what hidden way is
Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
Neither of them the fairer woman?
Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
Only heard on river and mere--
She whose beauty was more than human?--
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Where's Heloise, the learned nun,
For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
Lost manhood and put priesthood on?
(From Love he won such dule and teen!)
And where, I pray you, is the Queen
Who willed that Buridan should steer
Sewed in a sack's mouth down the Seine?--
But where are the snows of yester-year?

White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,
With a voice like any mermaiden--

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poem by from The Testament (1461), translated by Dante Gabriel RossettiReport problemRelated quotes
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Le Testament: Ballade: A S'amye

F alse beauty that costs me so dear,
R ough indeed, a hypocrite sweetness,
A mor, like iron on the teeth and harder,
N amed only to achieve my sure distress,
C harm that's murderous, poor heart's death,
O covert pride that sends men to ruin,
I mplacable eyes, won't true redress
S uccour a poor man, without crushing?

M uch better elsewhere to search for
A id: it would have been more to my honour:
R etreat I must, and fly with dishonour,
T hough none else then would have cast a lure.
H elp me, help me, you greater and lesser!
E nd then? With not even one blow landing?
Or will Pity, in line with all I ask here,
Succour a poor man, without crushing?

That time will come that will surely wither
Your bright flower, it will wilt and yellow,

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Le Testament: Ballade: Pour Robert d'Estouteville

A t dawn of day, when falcon shakes his wing,
M ainly from pleasure, and from noble usage,
B lackbirds too shake theirs then as they sing,
R eceiving their mates, mingling their plumage,
O, as the desires it lights in me now rage,
I 'd offer you, joyously, what befits the lover.
S ee how Love has written this very page:
E ven for this end are we come together.

D oubtless, as my heart's lady you'll have being,
E ntirely now, till death consumes my age.
L aurel, so sweet, for my cause now fighting,
O live, so noble, removing all bitter foliage,
R eason does not wish me unused to owing,
E ven as I'm to agree with this wish, forever,
Duty to you, but rather grow used to serving:
Even for this end are we come together.

And, what's more, when sorrow's beating
Down on me, through Fate's incessant rage,

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Arbor Amoris

I have a tree, a graft of Love,
That in my heart has taken root;
Sad are the buds and blooms thereof,
And bitter sorrow is its fruit;
Yet, since it was a tender shoot,
So greatly hath its shadow spread,
That underneath all joy is dead,
And all my pleasant days are flown,
Nor can I slay it, nor instead
Plant any tree, save this alone.

Ah, yet, for long and long enough
My tears were rain about its root,
And though the fruit be harsh thereof,
I scarcely looked for better fruit
Than this, that carefully I put
In garner, for the bitter bread
Whereon my weary life is fed:
Ah, better were the soil unsown
That bears such growths; but Love instead

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