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Francois Villon

Ballade To Our Lady

WRITTEN FOR HIS MOTHER

Dame du ciel, regents terrienne,
Emperiere des infemaux palus....

Lady of Heaven and earth, and therewithal
Crowned Empress of the nether clefts of Hell,—

I, thy poor Christian, on thy name do call,
Commending me to thee, with thee to dwell,
Albeit in nought I be commendable.

But all mine undeserving may not mar
Such mercies as thy sovereign mercies are;
Without the which (as true words testify)
No soul can reach thy Heaven so fair and far.
Even in this faith I choose to live and die.
Unto thy Son say thou that I am His,
And to me graceless make Him gracious.
Said Mary of Egypt lacked not of that bliss,

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The Ballad of Villon and Fat Madge

‘'Tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation.' -Falstaff
‘The night cometh, when no man can work.'

What though the beauty I love and serve be cheap,
Ought you to take me for a beast or fool?
All things a man could wish are in her keep;
For her I turn swashbuckler in love's school.
When folk dropp in, I take my pot and stool
And fall to drinking with no more ado.
I fetch them bread, fruit, cheese, and water, too;
I say all's right so long as I'm well paid;
‘Look in again when your flesh troubles you,
Inside this brothel where we drive our trade.'

But soon the devil's among us flesh and fell,
When penniless to bed comes Madge my whore;
I loathe the very sight of her like hell.
I snatch gown, girdle, surcoat, all she wore,
And tell her, these shall stand against her score.
She grips her hips with both hands, cursing God,

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The Debate Between Villon And His Heart

Who's that I hear?—It's me—Who?—Your heart
Hanging on by the thinnest thread
I lose all my strength, substance, and fluid
When I see you withdrawn this way all alone
Like a whipped cur sulking in the corner
Is it due to your mad hedonism?—
What's it to you?—I have to suffer for it—
Leave me alone—Why?—I'll think about it—
When will you do that?—When I've grown up—
I've nothing more to tell you—I'll survive without it—

What's your idea?—To be a good man—
You're thirty, for a mule that's a lifetime
You call that childhood?—No—Madness
Must have hold of you—By what, the halter?—
You don't know a thing—Yes I do—What?—Flies in milk
One's white, one's black, they're opposites—
That's all?—How can I say it better?
If that doesn't suit you I'll start over—
You're lost—Well I'll go down fighting—

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Le Testament: Les Regrets De La Belle Heaulmière

By chance, I heard the belle complain,
The one we called the Armouress,
Longing to be a girl again,
Talking like this, more or less:
‘Oh, old age, proud in wickedness,
You've battered me so, and why?
Who cares, who, for my distress,
Or whether at all your blows I die?

You've stolen away that great power
My beauty ordained for me
Over priests and clerks, my hour,
When never a man I'd see
Would fail to offer his all in fee,
Whatever remorse he'd later show,
But what was abandoned readily,
Beggars now scorn to know.

Many a man I then refused -
Which wasn't wise of me, no jest -

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