François VILLON (1431-1463): Poem

Translated by Timothy Adès

Vierge Marie, gente déesse,
Garde-moi place en paradis
Oncque n’aurai joie ni liesse
Ici-bas, puisqu’il n’est permis
De boire ce divin nectar,
Qui porte nom de Balestard,
Qu’à gens fortunés en ce monde.
Or, suis miséreux et pauvret,
Si donc au Ciel ce vin abonde,
Viens, doulce Mort, point ne m’effraye,
Porte-moi parmi les élus
Qui, là-haut, savourent ce cru.

Mary, mother of the Lord,
up in heaven keep my place:
dull and joyless are my days
here below, for I’m debarred
from this draught miraculous
by the name of Balestard,
drunk by such as can afford.
I am poor, penurious:
if this wine in heaven flows,
come, sweet Death, and I shall profit:
take me up, and I’ll repose
with the chosen ones who quaff it.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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