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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Ballad of Old-Time Lords (No. 2)
By François Villon (1431–1463?)
 
From the ‘Greater Testament’: Translation of John Payne

WHERE are the holy apostles gone,
  Alb-clad and amice-tired and stoled
With the sacred tippet and that alone,
  Wherewith, when he waxeth overbold,
  The foul fiend’s throttle they take and hold?        5
All must come to the selfsame bay;
  Sons and servants, their days are told:
The wind carries their like away.
 
Where is he now that held the throne
  Of Constantine with the hands of gold?        10
And the King of France, o’er all kings known
  For grace and worship that was extolled,
  Who convents and churches manifold
Built for God’s service? In their day
  What of the honor they had? Behold,        15
The wind carries their like away.
 
Where are the champions every one,
  The Dauphins, the counselors young and old?
The barons of Salins, Dôl, Dijon,
  Vienne, Grenoble? They all are cold.        20
  Or take the folk under their banners enrolled,—
Pursuivants, trumpeters, heralds, (hey!
  How they fed of the fat, and the flagon trolled!)—
The wind carries their like away.
 
ENVOI
Princes to death are all foretold,
        25
  Even as the humblest of their array:
Whether they sorrow or whether they scold,
  The wind carries their like away.
 
 
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