François Villon tr. Peter Dale
Ceste ballade luy envoye
Qui se termine tout par R.
Qui luy portera? Que je voye ...
Ce sera Pernet de la Barre,
Pourveu s'il rencontre en son erre
Ma damoiselle au nez tortu
Il luy dira sans plus enquerre:
"Orde paillarde, dont viens tu?"

Faulse beauté qui tant me couste chier,
Rude en effect, ypocrite doulceur,
Amour dure plus que fer a maschier,
Nommer que puis, de ma desfaçon seur,
Cherme felon, la mort d'ung povre cuer,
Orgueil mussié qui gens met au mourir,
Yeulx sans pitié, ne veult Droit de Rigueur
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir?

Mieulx m'eust valu avoir esté serchier
Ailleurs secours. C'eust esté mon onneur.
Riens ne m'eust sceu lors de ce fait hachier.
Trotter m'en fault en fuyte et deshonneur.
Haro, haro! le grant et le mineur!
Et qu'esse cy? Mourray sans coup ferir?
Ou Pitié veult, selon ceste teneur,
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir?

Vng temps viendra qui fera dessechier,
Jaunir, flestrir vostre espanye fleur.
Je m'en risse, se tant peusse maschier
Lors. Mais nennil, ce seroit donc foleur.
Viel je seray; vous, laide, sans couleur.
Or beuvez fort, tant que ru peut courir.
Ne donnez pas a tous ceste douleur:
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir.

Prince amoureux, des amans le greigneur,
Vostre mal gré ne vouldroye encourir
Mais tout franc cuer doit par Nostre Seigneur
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir.
I send her this ballade in 'R'.
Who'll give it her? Now let me see.
Of course, Perrenet of the Bar,
He'll go - providing he'll agree,
If he should meet her roaming free,
My lady with the crooked conk,
He'll say, without ado, from me:
"You crappy slag, who did you bonk?"

Fake loveliness whose cost to me is dear;
Rough were the facts, the sweetness was a liar;
A love more tough to chew than iron; here
Named now my crack-up's certain to transpire;
Crooked in charm, a poor heart 's death by desire;
One secret Pride that drives men through death's door;
Your eyes pitiless - won't justice now require
Some help not harm toward a wretch so poor?

Much better, seeking help, I'd done to steer
Anywhere else, with honour still entire.
Really there's nothing I know can cut me clear.
Take off I must in shame and flight, defy her.
Help me, help me, commoners or higher!
Eh, what? Am I to die, not one blow score?
Or, in this case, won't Pity now require
Some help not harm toward a wretch so poor?

A time's approaching that must wilt, turn sere
And dry your flower blooming on the briar.
I'll laugh then if my jaws can raise a jeer.
- But no; that would be madness - hollow, wryer.
I will be old; you, ugly - no colour, fire.
So drink deep while the freshets can still pour.
Don't give such grief to all who may admire:
Some help not harm toward a wretch so poor.

Oh loving prince, no lover yet your peer,
I wouldn't want your ill-will on this score
But, for our Lord, free hearts should offer here
Some help not harm toward a wretch so poor.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Peter Dale 1978, 2001 - publ. Anvil Press this book
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