Ballad of the Gibbet

Original Text: 

Andrew Lang, Ballads and Lyrics of Old France (London: Longmans, Green, 1913): 13-15. Internet Archive.

An epitaph in the form of a ballad that François Villon
wrote of himself and his company, they expecting
shortly to be hanged
1Brothers and men that shall after us be,
2    Let not your hearts be hard to us:
3For pitying this our misery
4    Ye shall find God the more piteous.
5    Look on us six that are hanging thus,
6And for the flesh that so much we cherished
7How it is eaten of birds and perished,
8    And ashes and dust fill our bones' place,
9Mock not at us that so feeble be,
10    But pray God pardon us out of His grace.
11Listen, we pray you, and look not in scorn.
12    Though justly, in sooth, we are cast to die;
13Ye wot no man so wise is born
14    That keeps his wisdom constantly.
15    Be ye then merciful, and cry
16To Mary's Son that is piteous,
17That His mercy take no stain from us,
18    Saving us out of the fiery place.
19We are but dead, let no soul deny
20    To pray God succour us of His Grace.
21The rain out of heaven has washed us clean,
22    The sun has scorched us black and bare,
23Ravens and rooks have pecked at our eyne,
24    And feathered their nests with our beards and hair.
25    Round are we tossed, and here and there,
26This way and that, at the wild wind's will.
27Never a moment my body is still;
28    Birds they are busy about my face.
29Live not as we, nor fare as we fare;
30    Pray God pardon us out of His Grace.
L'Envoy
31Prince Jesus, Master of all, to thee
32We pray Hell gain no mastery,
33    That we come never anear that place;
34And ye men, make no mockery,
35    Pray God pardon us out of His grace.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Data entry: Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012