Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Monique Morelli - François Villon - Epistle to my friends


Original Title: "Epître à mes amis"
Have pity, have pity of me
At least, please, my friends
In grave I lie down, not under holy nor may
In that exile to which I am sent
By Fortune, like it was allowed by God
Girls liking young people and new
Dancers, jumpers, making the calf's foot²
Vivacious like javelins, sharp like stings
Ringing throat clear like bells³

Would you leave him there, the poor Villon?

Cantors singing at leisure, without law,
Gallants laughing, pleasing in facts and words,
Itinerant merchant going frank with fake gold, of alloy,
People of spirit, a little scatterbrain,
Resurrect too much because he dies in the meanwhile
Maker of lays, of motets and rondeaux,
When dead will be, you will make him chaudeaux*
Where he lays down, no lightning nor whirlwind enters
With thick walls his bandages have been made

Would you leave him there, the poor Villon?

Come to see him in that pitiful equipage
Noble men, free of quarter and tenth**,
Who hold nothing of Emperor nor King
But only of God of Paradise
To go without food he needs on Sundays and Tuesdays
Whose teeth has longer than rake
After dry bread, not after cakes
In his bowels pours water gushing out
Deep in ground, table has not nor trestles

Named princes, old, striplings,
Obtain me pardon and royal seals.
And carry me up in some basket
As the pigs do, to one another
Because, where one brays, they run away in a heap

Would you leave him there, the poor Villon?

²Lifting the leg of a comical way when dancing
³Cascaveaux could be the bells shaken to announce plague epidemics
*drink made of pouring warm milk over an egg
**apparently referring to tax and tithe

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