BALLADE DE BONNE DOCTRINEBALLADE OF GOOD ADVICE
François Villontr. Peter Dean
Car ou soies porteur de bulles,
Pipeur ou hasardeur de dez,
Tailleur de faulx coings et te brusles
Comme ceulx qui sont eschaudez,
Traistres parjurs, de foy vuydez;
Soies larron, ravis ou pilles:
Ou en va l'acquest, que cuidez?
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles.

Ryme, raille, cymballe, luttes,
Comme fol, fainctif, eshontez;
Farce, broulle, joue des fleustes;
Fais, es villes et es citez,
Farces, jeux et moralitez;
Gaigne au berlanc, au glic, aux quilles.
Aussi bien va, or escoutez!
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles.

De telz ordures te reculles,
Laboure, fauche champs et prez,
Sers et pense chevaulx et mulles,
S'aucunement tu n'es lettrez;
Assez auras, se prens en grez.
Mais, se chanvre broyes ou tilles,
Ne tens ton labour qu'as ouvrez
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles?

Chausses, pourpoins esguilletez,
Robes, et toutes vos drappilles,
Ains que vous f assiez pis, portez
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles.
Whether you hawk your pardons round.
whether card-sharp or play at dice,
or forge your own coin, you'll be found:
you'll burn like those whom we despise,
those perjured traitors, faithless spies.
Rob, rape or pillage, break all laws,
where does the loot go you so prize?
Straight to the taverns and the whores.

Chant, rant, bash drums and lutes,
act mad and shameless, play the fool;
prance round or shamble, toot the flutes;
be it in town or city, make it the rule
to make 'em laugh with farce, or cool
with moralities out of doors.
Well as it goes, there's always some who'll
straight to the taverns and the whores.

What kind of shit will you not eat?
Sweat with a fork in mead and field,
muck out the stables for a treat
if pen and ink you cannot wield,
you'll make enough, a niche it'll yield.
But whether with hemp or lime your chores,
was it for this your pay's springheeled
straight to the taverns and the whores?

To cap all this then, take your shoes,
your straight-leg jeans, your gear, don't pause,
take suits, take shirts, all you can lose
straight to the taverns and the whores.

Trans. Copyright © Peter Dean 2002


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