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Ballade de Villon à s'Amye (1910) L119

Part of a series or song cycle:

Trois Ballades de François Villon (L119)

Ballade de Villon à s'Amye

Faulse beauté, qui tant me couste cher,
Rude en effect, hypocrite doulceur,
Amour dure, plus que fer, à mascher;
Nommer te puis de ma deffaçon sœur.
Charme felon, la mort d’ung povre cueur,
Orgueil mussé, qui gens met au mourir,
Yeulx sans pitié! ne veult droict de rigueur,
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir?
Mieulx m’eust valu avoir esté crier
Ailleurs secours, c’eust esté mon bonheur:
Rien ne m’eust sceu de ce fait arracher;
Trotter m’en fault en fuyte à deshonneur.
Haro, haro, le grand et le mineur!
Et qu’est cecy? mourray sans coup ferir,
Ou pitié peult, selon ceste teneur,
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir.
Ung temps viendra, qui fera desseicher,
Jaulnir, flestrir, vostre espanie fleur:
J’en risse lors, se tant peusse marcher,
Mais las! nenny: ce seroit donc foleur,
Vieil je seray; vous, laide et sans couleur.
Or, beuvez fort, tant que ru peult courir.
Ne donnez pas à tous ceste douleur,
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir.
Prince amoureux, des amans le greigneur,
Vostre mal gré ne vouldroye encourir;
Mais tout franc cueur doit, par Nostre Seigneur,
Sans empirer, ung povre secourir.

Ballad of Villon to his love

False beauty, for whom I pay so great a price,
Harsh, in truth, behind a mask of sadness,
A love that’s tougher to chew than steel,
I name you sister of my undoing.
Criminal charm, death of my poor heart,
Hidden pride that sends folk to their destruction,
Eyes devoid of pity—will not Justice
Help a poor man without crushing him?
It had been better to have begged
For help elsewhere, it might have made me happy.
Nothing could snatch me from this fate.
Now I must retreat in shame.
Help me, help me, one and all!
But what? Am I to die and not strike a blow?
Or will Pity, softened by these sad words,
Help a poor man without crushing him?
A time will come that will dry up,
Fade and wither your full-grown flower;
Then I shall laugh, if I can still walk.
But alas! Nay—that would be folly:
I shall be old; you ugly and wan.
So drink deep, while the river still runs.
Give this pain to no one else—
Help a poor man without crushing him.
Prince of lovers, greatet of them all,
I had sooner not incur your wrath,
But every honest heart should, by our Lord,
Help a poor man without crushing him.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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(Achille) Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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