François Villontr. Algernon C. Swinburne
Se j'aime et sers la belle de bon hait,
M'en devez vous tenir a vil ne sot?
Elle a en soi des biens à fin souhait.
Pour son amour ceins bouclier et passot;
Quand viennent gens, je cours et happe un pot,
Au vin m'en vois, sans demener grand bruit;
Je leur tens eau, fromage, pain et fruit.
S'ils payent bien, je leur dis : "Bene stat;
Retournez ci, quand vous serez en ruit,
En ce bourdeau ou tenons notre état."

Mais adoncques il y a grans dehait
Quand sans argent s'en vient coucher Margot;
Voir ne la puis, mon coeur a mort la hait.
Sa robe prends, demi ceint et surcot,
Si lui jure qu'il tendra pour l'écot.
Par les côtés se prend: "C'est Antechrist!"
Crie et jure par la mort Jesus Christ
Que non fera. Lors j'empoigne un éclat;
Dessus son nez lui en fais un écrit,
En ce bourdeau où tenons notre état.

Puis paix se fait et me lâche un gros pet,
Plus enflee qu'un vlimeux escarbot.
Riant m'assied son poing sur mon sommet,
Gogo me dit, et me fiert le jambot.
Tous deux ivres, dormons comme un sabot.
Et au réveil, quand le ventre lui bruit,
Monte sur moi, que ne gâte son fruit.
Sous elle geins, plus qu'un ais me fais plat,
De paillarder tout elle me détruit,
En ce bourdeau ou tenons notre état.

Vente, grêle, gèle, j'ai mon pain cuit.
Ie suis paillard, la paillarde me suit.
Lequel vaut mieux? Chacun bien s'entresuit.
L'un l'autre vaut; c'est a mau rat mau chat.
Ordure amons, ordure nous assuit;
Nous défuyons honneur, il nous défuit,
En ce bourdeau ou tenons notre état.

'Tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation.
The night cometh, when no man can work.

What though the beauty I love and serve be cheap,
Ought you to take me for a beast or fool?
All things a man could wish are in her keep;
For her I turn swashbuckler in love's school.
When folk drop in, I take my pot and stool
And fall to drinking with no more ado.
I fetch them bread, fruit, cheese, and water, too;
I say all's right so long as I'm well paid;
'Look in again when your flesh troubles you,
Inside this brothel where we drive our trade.'

But soon the devil's among us flesh and fell,
When penniless to bed comes Madge my whore;
I loathe the very sight of her like hell.
I snatch gown, girdle, surcoat, all she wore,
And tell her, these shall stand against her score.
She grips her hips with both hands, cursing God,
Swearing by Jesus' body, bones, and blood,
That they shall not. Then I, no whit dismayed,
Cross her cracked nose with some stray shiver of wood
Inside this brothel where we drive our trade.

When all's up she drops me a windy word,
Bloat like a beetle puffed and poisonous:
Grins, thumps my pate, and calls me dickey-bird,
And cuffs me with a fist that's ponderous.
We sleep like logs, being drunken both of us;
Then when we wake her womb begins to stir;
-To save her seed she gets me under her
Wheezing and whining, flat as planks are laid:
And thus she spoils me for a whoremonger
Inside this brothel where we drive our trade.

Blow, hail or freeze, I've bread here baked rent free!
Whoring's my trade, and my whore pleases me;
Bad cat, bad rat; we're just the same if weighed.
We that love filth, filth follows us, you see;
Honour flies from us, as from her we flee
Inside this brothel where we drive our trade.*

*I bequeath likewise to fat Madge
This little song to learn and study;
By God's head she's a sweet fat fadge,
Devout and soft of flesh and ruddy;
I love her with my soul and body,
So doth she me, sweet dainty thing.
If you fall in with such a lady,
Read it, and give it her to sing.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Publ. Penguin Books

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