François Villontr. Peter Dean
Icy se clost le testament
Et finist du povre Villon
Venez a son enterrement,
Quand vous orez le carrillon,
Vestuz rouge come vermeillon,
Car en amours mourut martir;
Ce jura il sur son coullon,
Quant de ce monde voult partir.

Et je croy bien que pas n'en ment;
Car chassié fut comme ung soullon,
De ses amours hayneusement,
Tant que, d'icy a Roussillon
Brosses n'y a ne brossillon
Qui n'eust, ce dit il sans mentir,
Ung lambeau de son cotillon,
Quant de ce monde voult partir.

Il est ainsi et tellement :
Quant mourut n'avoit qu'un haillon;
Qui plus, en mourant, mallement
L'espoignoit d'Amours l'esguillon;
Plus agu que le ranguillon
D'ung baudrier lui faisoit sentir
- C'est de quoy nous esmerveillon -,
Quant de ce monde voult partir.

Prince gent comme esmerillon,
Saichiez qu'il fist au departir:
Ung traict but de vin morillon,
Quant de ce monde voult partir.
Thus finishes the Testament
Of poor old Villon. When you hear
The church bell ringing out itís meant
To invite your presence at his bier.
But find your brightest clothes to wear
To signify he died of love -
His one good ball will testify here
As from this world he goes above.

And well I know, he doesnít lie
About this. Like a clod has he
Been chased by his exes low and high,
So much that Roussillon-wards no tree
Or bush or shrub there is thatís free
From strands of him, his shirt or glove -
He tells you this quite honestly
As from this world he goes above.

Thatís how he was; and it was thus
That when he died, he died in rags.
Yes - irony! Iniquitous!
Just as he dies, Loveís sharp goad drags
At him, worse than the claws of hags
Or cross-beltís edge - lifeís cut and shove!
If this amazes, no-one brags
As from this world he goes above.

O Prince, o merlin soft and fine,
Know that he leaves all here with love
And drinks a draught of blood-red wine
As from this world he goes above.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Peter Dean 2003

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