François Villon is France's first great poet. Born in 1431, he is known to have studied at the University of Paris between 1449 and 1452. Villon disappeared from view in 1463 but in the record of his brief career there are many accounts of encounters with university authorities and the police. It was during an imprisonment in 1461 that Villon wrote his Grand Testament where he laments his wasted opportunities and links together a number of shorter poems including, as a legacy to his old mother, the-Ballade "Pour prier Nostre Dame." The Epitaphe Villon or Ballade des pendus was probably composed in 1463 when Villon was sentenced to be hanged. It was after his release from prison on this occasion that Villon was banished from Paris.

  • "François Villon." Representative French Poetry. Ed. Victor E. Graham. 2nd edn. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965. 6-7.
  • The poems of Master François Villon of Paris, now first done into English Verse in the original forms. Trans. John Payne. 3rd edn. Portland: Th.B. Mosher, 1909.
  • Villon, Fran&cced;ois. Oeuvres complètes. Ed. Auguste Longnon. Paris: Lemerre, 1892. Internet Archive