Clément Marottr. Peter Dean
Lorseque Maillart, juge d’enfer, menait
A Montfaucon Semblancay, l’ame rendre,
A votre avis, lequel des deux tenait
Meilleur maintien? Pour le vous faire entendre,
Maillart semblait homme qui mort va prendre;
Et Semblancay fut si ferme vieillard
Que l’on croyait, pour vrai, qu’il menait pendre
A Montfaucon le lieutenant Maillart.
As Maillart, the devil’s own judge, was taking
Semblancay to Montfaucon to despatch him,
In your opinion, which of these two was making
The better impression? So’s you may clearly catch him -
Maillart’s he who looks as if death’s about to snatch him,
And Semblancay, a sturdy old man, for sure
Leads to his hanging, you’d say none to match him,
The Deputy, Maillart, now Montfaucon’s cure.

In 1527 when Francois I was at war in Italy, his mother took control of France. She hated the Finance Minister, Jacques de Semblancay,
and to get rid of him had him arrested on a charge of embezzlement. The charge was without substance but the judge, Maillart,
condemned him to death. Marot, no lover of judges, launched this epigram against Maillart. It nails all bad judges and salutes
the innocent everywhere.

Trans. Copyright © Peter Dean 2002

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