François Villon

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

Epitaph In The Form Of A Ballade - Poem by François Villon

Freres humains qui apres nous vivez,
N'ayez les coeurs contre nous endurcis ...
Men, brother men, that after us yet live,
Let not your hearts too hard against us be;
For if some pity of us poor men ye give,
The sooner God shall take of you pity.
Here are we five or six strung up, you see,
And here the flesh that all too well we fed
Bit by bit eaten and rotten, rent and shred,
And we the bones grow dust and ash withal;
Let no man laugh at us discomforted,
But pray to God that he forgive us all.
If we call on you, brothers, to forgive,

Ye should not hold our prayer in scorn, though we
Were slain by law; ye know that all alive
Have not wit always to walk righteously;
Make therefore intercession heartily
With him that of a virgin's womb was bred,
That his grace be not as a dr-y well-head
For us, nor let hell's thunder on us fall;
We are dead, let no man harry or vex us dead,
But pray to God that he forgive us all.

The rain has washed and laundered us all five,
And the sun dried and blackened; yea, perdie,
Ravens and pies with beaks that rend and rive
Have dug our eyes out, and plucked off for fee
Our beards and eyebrows; never we are free,
Not once, to rest; but here and there still sped,
Driven at its wild will by the wind's change led,
More pecked of birds than fruits on garden-wall;
Men, for God's love, let no gibe here be said,
But pray to God that he forgive us all.
Prince Jesus, that of all art lord and head,
Keep us, that hell be not our bitter bed;
We have nought to do in such a master's hall.
Be not ye therefore of our fellowhead,
But pray to God that he forgive us all.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, trans.

Comments about Epitaph In The Form Of A Ballade by François Villon

  • Susan Williams (3/18/2018 2:56:00 PM)

    [Part One] François Villon, pseudonym of François de Montcorbier or François des Loges, one of the greatest French lyric poets. He was known for his life of criminal excess, spending much time in prison or in banishment from medieval Paris. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (3/18/2018 2:55:00 PM)

    [Part Two] Villon’s father died while he was still a child, and he was brought up by the canon Guillaume de Villon, chaplain of Saint-Benoît-le-Bétourné. the University of Paris records that Villon received the degree of bachelor and that of master. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/18/2018 2:53:00 PM)

    [Part Three] On June 5,1455, a violent quarrel broke out in the cloisters of Saint-Benoît among himself, some drinking companions, and a priest, Philippe Sermoise, whom Villon killed with a sword thrust. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/18/2018 2:52:00 PM)

    [Part Four] He was banished from the city but, in January 1456, won a royal pardon. Just before Christmas of the same year, however, he was implicated in a theft from the Collège de Navarre and was again obliged to leave Paris. [all parts from (Report) Reply

  • Oilibheir Álain Christie (11/19/2014 12:23:00 AM)

    Frères Humains (c.1462)

    Frères humains qui après nous vivez

    N'ayez les cœurs contre nous endurcis, 

    Car, se pitié de nous pauvres avez,
Dieu en aura plus tost de vous merciz.

    Vous nous voyez cy attachez cinq, six

    Quant de la chair, que trop avons nourrie,
Elle est pieça devoree et pourrie, 

    Et nous les os, devenons cendre et pouldre.

    De nostre mal personne ne s'en rie: 

    Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille[nt] absouldre! 

    Se frères vous clamons, pas n'en devez

    Avoir desdain, quoy que fusmes occiz

    Par justice. Toutesfois, vous savez

    Que tous hommes n'ont pas bon sens rassiz; 

    Excusez nous, puis que sommes transis,
Envers le filz de la Vierge Marie,
Que sa grâce ne soit pour nous tarie,
Nous préservant de l'infernale fouldre.
Nous sommes mors, ame ne nous harie; 

    Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille absouldre!

    La pluye nous a débuez et lavez,
    Et le soleil desséchez et noirciz: 

    Pies, corbeaulx nous ont les yeulx cavez
Et arraché la barbe et les sourciz.

    Jamais nul temps nous ne sommes assis;
Puis ça, puis la, comme le vent varie, 

    A son plaisir sans cesser nous charie,
Plus becquetez d'oiseaulx que dez à couldre.

    Ne soyez donc de nostre confrarie; 

    Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille[nt] absouldre!


Prince Jhesus, qui sur tous a maistrie, 

    Garde qu'Enfer n'ait de nous seigneurie:
A luy n'avons que faire ne que souldre.
Hommes, icy n'a point de mocquerie; 

    Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille[nt] absouldre.

    François Villon (1431-1465?)

(Transcription: Lagarde et Michard) Pierre Levet 1489
    (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »
User Rating:
2,7 / 5 ( 33 votes ) 5

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: brother, god, change, rain, wind, sun, raven

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]