Francois Villon: Four Translations



Francois Villon: Four Translations
François Villon (ca. 1463) - De bonne doctrine a ceux de mauvaise vie
Car ou soies porteur de bulles,
Pipeur ou hasardeur de dez,
Tailleur de faulx coings, tu te brusles,
Comme ceulx qui sont eschaudez,
Traistres parjurs, de foy vuydez;
Soies larron, ravis ou pilles:
Où en va l’acquest, que cuidez?
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles.
Ryme, raille, cymballe, luttes,
Comme fol, fainctif, eshontez;
Farce, broulle, joue des fleustes;
Fais, es villes et es citez,
Farces, jeux et moralitez;
Gaigne au berlanc, au glic, aux quilles.
Aussi bien va—or escoutez—
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles.
De telz ordures te reculles;
Laboure, fauche champs et prez;
Sers et pense chevaulx et mulles;
S’aucunement tu n’es lettrez;
Assez auras, se prens en grez.
Mais se chanvre broyes ou tilles,
Ne tens ton labour qu’as ouvrez
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles.
Chausses, pourpoins esguilletez,
Robes, et toutes voz drappilles,
Ains que vous fassiez pis, portez
Tout aux tavernes et aux filles.
Literal Translation: A Good Doctrine For A Bad Life
Whether you smuggle papal bulls,
Or hazard a cheat while playing dice,
Or burn yourself shaping fake coins,
Like those who’re boiled in oil for their felonies,
Perjurious traitors, empty of faith;
Stealing jewels, perfume and pearls,
Where do your winnings go?
All to the taverns and the girls.
Rhyme, rail, crash or fight,
Like a fool or a shameless tout,
Bullshit and battle, or play the flute.
Do, in towns and cities,
Play farces, games and masquerades,
Win at cards or ninepins.
It all goes — and listen —
All to the taverns and the girls.
From this stink you recoil?
Then work hard in fields and meadows,
Turn your thoughts to horses and mules.
If you lack an education,
You’ll still have enough coin.
But whether you plough or till your fields,
Your labor and your work:
All to the taverns and the girls.
Shoes, embroidered doublets,
Dresses, and all your drapes:
Before you do worse, just carry them
All to the taverns and the girls.
H.De Vere Stackpoole (1914) - Ba"ad of Good Doctrine to Those of Evil Life
Ye who be smugglers of papal bulls,
Or cheaters at dice, whatever be ye -Coiners who risk life and limb like fools,
Then boil in hot oil for their felony,
Traitors disloyal -- ye know who ye be -Stealers of jewels, of perfume and pearls:
So where goes it all, that ye get in fee?
All to the taverns and to the girls.
Rhyming and jesting, cymbals and lutes -Don ye these emblems of minstrelsy.
Farce and imbroglio, music of flutes -Try these in hamlets or Gay Paree.
Go mumming in masque or mystery,
Win money at cards, or at ninepin hurls.
But 'tis of no use! It'll flow, hear ye me,
All to the taverns and to the girls.
Ye shrink before such a hard-knocks school -Play safe, then, with honester husbandry:
Of horses be grooms, go tend to a mule,
Plow ye the fields, here and there plant a tree.
And should ye be short on Latinity,
As lowly in learning as poor pleasant churls,
Just work, lest your hard-earned pennies flee
All to the taverns and to the girls.
Your stockings and doublets, your fine drapery,
Every last rag that around ye furls,
Ere ye be done, will have slipped, ye shall see,
All to the taverns and to the girls.
Peter Dale (ca. 2000) - A Bug in the Ear of A" Children of Darkness
Whether you counterfeit your brass
and end so oiled you boil and bake;
traitors whose credit wouldn't pass;
or peddle pardons; learn to shake
the loaded dice; or maybe take
to filching in and out of doors - where does it go, the money you make?
All to the taverns and the whores.
Rhyme or rail or clash your brass,
like shameless fools that always fake;
mime, mum, or try some magic pass;
or if in towns and cities, make
miracles, mysteries, jigs; or take
a trick or two or skittle scores - soon gained, soon gone! (You still awake?)
All to the taverns and the whores.
If depths like these are not your class,
then plough up fields or drive a rake;
or turn to doctoring horse and ass.
But only if you cannot take
to book and pen. A crust you'll make.
Yet if you've slaved at prison chores
you haven't lifted loot to take
all to the taverns and the whores.
Before you do much worse then, take
trousers and shoes and all that's yours,
gowns and the silks for your own sake
all to the taverns and the whores.
William E. Henley (late 19th c) - Vi"on’s Straight Tip to a" Cross Coves
Suppose you screeve? or go cheap-jack?
Or fake the broads? Or fig a nag?
Or thimble-rig? Or knap a yack?
Or pitch a snide? or smash a rag?
Suppose you duff ? or nose and lag?
Or get the straight, and land your pot?
How do you melt the multy swag?
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.
Fiddle, or fence, or mace, or mack;
Or moskeneer, or flash the drag;
Dead-lurk a crib, or do a crack;
Pad with a slang, or chuck a fag;
Bonnet, or tout, or mump and gag;
Rattle the tats, or mark the spot;
You cannot bank a single stag;
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.
Suppose you try a different tack,
And on the square you flash your flag?
At penny-a-lining make your whack,
Or with the mummers mug and gag?
For nix, for nix the dibbs you bag!
At any graft, no matter what,
Your merry goblins soon stravag:
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.
It's up the spout and Charley Wag
with wipes and tickers and what not.
Until the squeezer nips your scrag,
Booze and the blowens cop the lot.