Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Ballad of Villon and Muckle Meg
By François Villon (1431–1463?)
(Translated by John Payne)

BECAUSE I love and serve a whore sans glose,
  Think not therefore or knave or fool am I:
She hath in her such goods as no man knows.
  For love of her, target and dirk I ply:
  When clients come, I hend a pot therenigh        5
And get me gone for wine, without word said:
Before them water, fruit, bread, cheese, I spread.
  If they pay well, I bid them “Well God aid!
Come here again, when you of lust are led,
  In this the brothel where we ply our trade.”        10
But surely before long an ill wind blows
  When, coinless, Margot comes by me to lie.
I hate the sight of her, catch up her hose,
  Her gown, her surcoat and her girdle-tie,
  Swearing to pawn them, meat and drink to buy.        15
She grips me by the throat and cuffs my head,
Cries “Antichrist!” and swears by Jesus dead,
  It shall not be; till I, to quell the jade,
A potsherd seize and score her nose with red,
  In this the brothel where we ply our trade.        20
Then she, peace made, to show we’re no more foes,
  A hugeous crack of wind at me lets fly
And laughing, sets her fist against my nose,
  Bids me “Go to” and claps me on the thigh;
  Then, drunk, like logs we sleep till, by and by,        25
Awaking, when her womb is hungerèd,
To spare the child beneath her girdlestead,
  She mounts on me, flat as a pancake laid.
With wantoning she wears me to the thread,
  In this the brothel where we ply our trade.        30
    Hail, rain, freeze, ready baked I hold my bread:
    Well worth a lecher with a wanton wed!
    Whether’s the worse? They differ not a shred.
      Ill cat to ill rat; each for each was made.
    We flee from honour; it from us hath fled:        35
    Lewdness we love, that stands us well in stead,
      In this the brothel where we ply our trade.

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