Quotes from book
Le Testament

Francois VillonOriginal title Le Testament (French, 1461)

Le Testament is a collection of poetry composed in 1461 by François Villon. Le Testament, comprising over twenty essentially independent poems in octosyllabic verse, consists of a series of fixed-form poems, namely 16 ballades and three rondeaux, and is recognized as a gem of medieval literature.


Francois Villon photo

„But where are the snows of bygone years?“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?
Alternative translation: But where are the snows of yesteryear?
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 336; "Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis (Ballade of the Ladies of Bygone Times)".

Francois Villon photo

„Foolish love makes beasts of men:
It once caused Solomon to worship idols,
And Samson to lose his eyes.
That man is lucky who has nothing.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Folles amours font le gens bestes:
Salmon en ydolatria,
Samson en perdit ses lunettes.
Bien est eureux qui riens n'y a!
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 629; "Double Ballade".

Francois Villon photo

„In riding to the hounds, in falconry,
In love or war," as anyone will tell you,
"For one brief joy a hundred woes.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

"De chiens, d'oyseaulx, d'armes, d'amous,"
Chascun le dit a la vollee,
"Pour une joye cent doulours."
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 622.

Francois Villon photo

„Prince, give the prize for chatter
To Parisian women; whatever
May be said about Italians,
There is no tongue like one from Paris.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Prince, aux dames Parisiennes
De beau parler donnez le pris;
Quoy qu'on die d'Italiennes,
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 1539; "Ballade des Femmes de Paris (Ballade of the Women of Paris)".

Francois Villon photo

„We were two, but only had one heart.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Deux estions et n’avions qu'ung cuer.
Alternative translation: We were two and had but one heart between us.
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 986; "Lay".

Francois Villon photo

„Through wind, hail or frost my living's made.
I am a lecher, and she's a lecher with me.
Which one of us is better? We're both alike:
The one as worthy as the other. Bad rat, bad cat.
We both love filth, and filth pursues us;
We flee from honor, honor flees from us,
In this brothel where we ply our trade.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Vente, gresle, gelle, j'ay mon pain cuit.
Ie suis paillart, la paillarde me suit.
Lequel vault mieulx? Chascun bien s'entresuit.
L'ung vault l'autre; c'est a mau rat mau chat.
Ordure amons, ordure nous assuit;
Nous deffuyons onneur, il nous deffuit,
En ce bordeau ou tenons nostre estat.
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 1621; "Ballade de la Grosse Margot (Ballade for Fat Margot)".

Francois Villon photo

„It's true that I have loved,
And gladly would again;
But sad heart, and famished belly
Not even partly satisfied
Force me away from paths of love.
And so, let someone else take over
Who has tucked away more food –
Dancing is for men of nobler girth.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Bien est verté que j'ay amé
Et ameroie voulentiers;
Mais triste cuer, ventre affamé
Qui n'est rassasié au tiers
M'oste des amoureux sentiers.
Au fort, quelqu'ung s'en recompence,
Qui est ramply sur les chantiers!
Car la dance vient de la pance.
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 193.

Francois Villon photo

„But whatever may be said about the life of work,
There is no treasure quite like living at one's ease.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Mais, quoy que soit du laboureux mestier,
Il n'est tresor que de vivre a son aise.
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 1501; "Ballade: Les Contrediz de Franc Gontier (Ballade: Franc Gontier Refuted)".

Francois Villon photo

„My days are quickly spent.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

Mes jours s'en sont allez errant.
Alternative translation: My days are gone a-wandering.
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 217.

Francois Villon photo

„In this faith I wish to live and die.“

—  Francois Villon, book Le Testament

En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.
Source: Le Grand Testament (The Great Testament) (1461), Line 882; "Ballade pour Prier Nostre Dame (Ballade as a Prayer to Our Lady)".

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