BALLADE QUE VILLON FEIT À LA
REQUESTE DE SA MERE POUR PRIER
NOSTRE-DAME
BALLADE TO OUR LADY
- WRITTEN FOR HIS MOTHER
François Villon tr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dame des cieulx, regente terrienne,
Emperiere des infernaux paluz,
Recevez moy, vostre humble chrestienne,
Que comprinse soye entre vos esleuz,
Ce non obstant qu'oncques rien ne valuz.
Les biens de vous, ma dame et ma maistresse,
Sont trop plus grans que ne suis pecheresse,
Sans lesquelz biens ame ne peut merir
N'avoir les cieulx, je n'en suis jungleresse.
En ceste foi je vueil vivre et mourir.

A vostre Filz dictes que je suis sienne;
De luy soyent mes pechiez aboluz:
Pardonne moy comme a l'Egipcienne,
Ou comme il feist au clerc Théophilus,
Lequel par vous fut quitte et absoluz,
Combien qu'il eust au deable fait promesse.
Preservez moy, que ne face jamais ce,
Vierge portant, sans rompure encourir
Le sacrement qu'on celebre à la messe.
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.

Femme je suis povrette et ancienne,
Qui riens ne sçay; oncques lettre ne leuz;
Au moustier voy dont suis paroissienne
Paradis paint, où sont harpes et luz,
Et ung enfer où dampnez sont boulluz:
L'ung me fait paour, l'autre joye et liesse,
La joye avoir me fay, haulte Deesse,
A qui pecheurs doivent tous recourir,
Comblez de foy, sans fainte ne paresse.
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.

ENVOI
Vous portastes, digne Vierge, princesse,
Iesus regnant, qui n'a ne fin ne cesse.
Le Tout-Puissant, prenant nostre foiblesse,
Laissa les cieulx et nous vint secourir,
Offrit à mort sa tres chiere jeunesse.
Nostre Seigneur tel est, tel le confesse,
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.
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,
Nor yet the sorrowful clerk Theophilus,
Whose bitter sins were set aside even thus
Though to the Fiend his bounden service was.
Oh help me, lest in vain for me should pass
(Sweet Virgin that shalt have no loss thereby!)
The blessed Host and sacring of the Mass
Even in this faith I choose to live and die.

A pitiful poor woman, shrunk and old,
I am, and nothing learn'd in letter-lore.
Within my parish-cloister I behold
A painted Heaven where harps and lutes adore,
And eke an Hell whose damned folk seethe full sore:
One bringeth fear, the other joy to me.
That joy, great Goddess, make thou mine to be,-
Thou of whom all must ask it even as I;
And that which faith desires, that let it see.
For in this faith I choose to live and die.


O excellent Virgin Princess! thou didst bear
King Jesus, the most excellent comforter,
Who even of this our weakness craved a share
And for our sake stooped to us from on high,
Offering to death His young life sweet and fair.
Such as He is, Our Lord, I Him declare,
And in this faith I choose to live and die.

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