Scentual Sunday

La Ballade des dames du temps jadis est une œuvre de François Villon.
Elle a été mise en musique par Georges Brassens et traduite en anglais par Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Where are the snows of yesteryear).

 

 

Francois Villon, from the Grand Testament de M...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Francois Villon

François Villon was a French poet, thief, and vagabond. He is perhaps best known for his Testaments and his Ballade des Pendus, written while in prison. The question “Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?”, taken from the Ballade des dames du temps jadis and translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti as “Where are the snows of yesteryear?”, is one of the most famous lines of translated secular poetry in the English-speaking world.

Ballad of Ladies of Time Past
François Villon

O tell me where on lands or seas
Has Flora gone, the Roman belle?
And Thais and Archipiades,
Great twins of beauty as stories tell?
And Echo who by brook and dell
Returned the rooster’s call at dawn
And wove a more than mortal spell?
Well, where could last year’s snows have gone?

And where is learned Heloise
Whom Peter Abélard loved well
Enough to reap at Saint Denis’
His love’s reward: a eunuch’s cell?
And where’s that royal dowsabel
Who bagged her boytoy Buridan
And chucked him in the Seine as well?
Well, where could last year’s snows have gone?

Queen Lily White so quick to please
Such men as Sirens couldn’t quell?
Big Bertha, Beatrice, Alisse
And Arambourg to whom Maine fell?
Good Joanne of Arc with her good knell
When England torched her at Rouen?
Where are they, Virgin Queen, pray tell?
Well, where could last year’s snows have gone?

Prince, do not ask me where they dwell.
While days and weeks and years draw on,
I’ll have no more than this to tell:
Well, where could last year’s snows have gone?

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