François Villon

(c. 1431 – after 5 January 1463 / Paris)

The Debate Between Villon And His Heart


Who's that I hear?—It's me—Who?—Your heart
Hanging on by the thinnest thread
I lose all my strength, substance, and fluid
When I see you withdrawn this way all alone
Like a whipped cur sulking in the corner
Is it due to your mad hedonism?—
What's it to you?—I have to suffer for it—
Leave me alone—Why?—I'll think about it—
When will you do that?—When I've grown up—
I've nothing more to tell you—I'll survive without it—

What's your idea?—To be a good man—
You're thirty, for a mule that's a lifetime
You call that childhood?—No—Madness
Must have hold of you—By what, the halter?—
You don't know a thing—Yes I do—What?—Flies in milk
One's white, one's black, they're opposites—
That's all?—How can I say it better?
If that doesn't suit you I'll start over—
You're lost—Well I'll go down fighting—
I've nothing more to tell you—I'll survive without it—

I get the heartache, you the injury and pain
If you were just some poor crazy idiot
I'd be able to make excuses for you
You don't even care, all's one to you, foul or fair
Either your head's harder than a rock
Or you actually prefer misery to honor
Now what do you say to that?—
Once I'm dead I'll rise above it—
God, what comfort—What wise eloquence—
I've nothing more to tell you—I'll survive without it—

Why are you miserable?—Because of my miseries
When Saturn packed my satchel I think
He put in these troubles—That's mad
You're his lord and you talk like his slave
Look what Solomon wrote in his book
"A wise man" he says "has authority
Over the planets and their influence"—
I don't believe it, as they made me I'll be—
What are you saying?—Yes that's what I think—
I've nothing more to tell you—I'll survive without it—

Want to live?—God give me the strength—
It's necessary...—What is?—To feel remorse
Lots of reading—What kind?—Read for knowledge
Leave fools alone—I'll take your advice—
Or will you forget?—I've got it fixed in mind—
Now act before things go from bad to worse
I've nothing more to tell you—I'll survive without it.


Trans. Galway Kinnell

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rookie Stefan Rambarath (1/8/2005 11:29:00 AM)

    i think that this is an important piece of poety, it is amazing how the thoughts and feelings react with eachother, i think this gives a message 'don't judge him for what he did admire for what he's done' (Report) Reply

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