BALLADE DES DAMES DU TEMPS JADIS BALLADE: THE LADIES OF LONG AGO
François Villon tr. Patricia Terry & Maurice Z.Shroder
Dictes moy ou, n'en quel pays,
Est Flora la belle Rommaine?
Archipiades ne Thaïs
Qui fut sa cousine germaine?
Echo parlant quant bruyt on maine
Dessus riviere ou sus estan
Qui beaulté ot trop plus qu'humaine?
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

Ou est la tres sage Helloïs
Pour qui chastré fut et puis moyne
Pierre Esbaillart a Saint Denis?
Pour son amour ot ceste essoyne.
Semblablement ou est la royne
Qui commanda que Buridan
Fust geté en ung sac en Saine?
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

La royne Blanche comme lis
Qui chantoit a voix de seraine?
Berte au grant pié, Bietris, Alis,
Haremburgis qui tint le Maine
Et Jehanne la bonne Lorraine
Qu'Englois brulerent a Rouan,
Ou sont ilz, ou, Vierge souvraine?
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

Prince, n'enquerez de sepmaine
Ou elles sont, ne de cest an,
Qu a ce reffrain ne vous remaine:
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?
Tell me where, in what land, I'll find
Flora that fair Roman lady,
Alcibiades or Thais,
So much like her, as if blood kin,
Echo whose voice is heard when you
Call out where streams or rivers flow,
Her beauty not of human kind?
Well, where is last year's snow?

Where is the learned Heloise
For whom was Peter Abelard
Gelded and then, at Saint Denis,
A monk; for love he suffered so.
I also ask, where is the queen
Who had her lover, Buridan,
Tied in a sack, tossed in the Seine?
Well, where is last year's snow?

Queen Blanche, like a lily, who sang
With a siren's enchanting voice,
Bigfoot Bertha, Beatrice, Alice,
Erembourg whose dower was Maine,
And Joan, the brave maid of Lorraine,
Burned by the English, as you know,
Where are they, Queen of Virgins, where?
Well, where is last year's snow?

Prince, don't inquire of me this week
Where they may be, nor yet this year,
For my response will not be slow:
Well, where is last year's snow?

Click here 5 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Patricia Terry & Maurice Z.Shroder 2002

First published "Metamorphoses" by Smith College, Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.



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