Joachim du Bellay (1522(?)-1560): Hymn of Hate

Translated by Timothy Adès

Joachim du Bellay was at the Papal court for some time, accompanying his first cousin the Cardinal. He did not enjoy being away from home, as dozens of sonnets attest, including this one, The Regrets, no. 68.

Je hay du Florentin…

Je hay du Florentin l’usurière avarice,
Je hay du fol Sienois le sens mal arresté,
Je hay du Genevois la rare vérité,
Et du Venetien la trop caute malice.

Je hay le Ferrarois pour je ne sçay quel vice,
Je hay tous les Lombards pour l’infidélité,
Le fier Napolitain pour sa grand’ vanité,
Et le poltron Romain pour son peu d’exercice.

Je hay l’Anglois mutin, et le brave Escossois,
Le traistre Bourguignon, et l’indiscret François,
Le superbe Espaignol, et l’yvrongne Thudesque:

Bref, je hay quelque vice en chasque nation,
Je hay moymesme encor mon imperfection,
Mais je hay par sur tout un sçavoir pedantesque.

‘All nations have some fault.’

I hate the Florentines’ usurious greed,
Siena’s galloping insanity,
the Genoese disingenuity,
Venice for malice and the dirty deed;

I hate Ferrara for who knows what vice,
the Lombards’ unreliability;
Napolitano swank and vanity,
the shirking Roman’s lack of exercise;

the cocky Englishman, the plucky Scot,
the Spanish snob and the Teutonic sot,
blundering French, perfidious Burgundy:

All nations have some fault that I abhor;
I hate my own imperfect self still more;
But what I hate the most is pedantry.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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