Epitaph in Ballade Form which Villon Made for Himself
Wilfrid Thorley, Fleurs de Lys: A Book of French Poetry Freely Translated into English Verse (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1920) 53-54. Internet Archive.
1O brother men that live when we have end,
2 Let not your hearts 'gainst us be hardenynge;
3For if on us your pitie ye doe spend,
4 Likewyse to you shall Godde be pityinge.
5 Here maye ye see our six lean trunks a-swynge,
6And our dead flesh that, livynge, we o'er-fed
7Plucked out bye bits and rottynge toe to head,
8 While we, bare bones, to ash and dust be come.
9From our ill hap let noe man's mirth be bred,
10 But praye Godde to absolve us of our doome.
11If, brother men, we call, beyond amend,
12 Disdayne us not for our sore trespassynge,
13For well ye knowe howe manye men doe wend
14 On evil wayes thro' witless wanderynge;
15 But intercession for our soules doe brynge
16Untoe the Holye Virgin's Sonne instead.
17That He of His deare grace have still toe shed
18 Withal wherby to save us from Hell's fume.
19Let noe man nowe misuse us, being dead.
20 But praye Godde to absolve us of our doome.
21The rayne hath bleached us all from end to end;
22 The sunne hath scorched us to a blackened strynge
23Mag-pyes and crowes our hollowe eyes doe rend.
24 Or snatch what hair bye beard or browe doth clynge.
25 And ever without cease we swaye and swynge,
26Like monstrous spindles ever flutteréd,
27By the wind's shiftye humours sore bestéd,
28 Peck't close bye all the birds that us consume
29As anye thimble. Ware the waye we tread,
30 But praye Godde to absolve us of our doome.
31Prince Jesus, Lord of all, or live or dead,
32O save us from infernal serfage dread,
33 That have nor help nor holdynge in Hell's gloome.
34Men, mock not what in bitter truth is said,
35 But praye Godde to absolve us of our doome.
RPO poem Editors:
Data entry: Sharine Leung