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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 Things Known and Unknown
By François Villon (1431–1463?)
 
Translation of John Payne

FLIES in the milk I know full well;
  I know men by the clothes they wear;
I know the walnut by the shell;
  I know the foul sky from the fair;
  I know the pear-tree by the pear;        5
I know the worker from the drone,
  And eke the good wheat from the tare:
    I know all save myself alone.
 
I know the pourpoint by the fell,
  And by his gown I know the frère;        10
Master by varlet I can spell;
  Nuns by the veils that hide their hair;
  I know the sharper and his snare,
And fools that fat on cates have grown;
  Wines by the cask I can compare:        15
    I know all save myself alone.
 
I know how horse from mule to tell;
  I know the load that each can bear;
I know both Beatrice and Bell;
  I know the hazards, odd and pair;        20
  I know of visions in the air;
I know the power of Peter’s throne,
  And how misled Bohemians were:
    I know all save myself alone.
 
ENVOI
Prince, I know all things; fat and spare,
        25
  Ruddy and pale, to me are known,
And Death that endeth all our care:
  I know all save myself alone.
 
 
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