Written by François Villon in 1461,
after his release under an amnesty
and before a new arrest
Tell me where, or in what land
is Flora, the lovely Roman,
or Archipiades, or Thaïs,
who was her first cousin;
or Echo, replying whenever called
across river or pool,
and whose beauty was more than human?
But where are the snows of yesteryear?
Where is that brilliant lady Heloise,
for whose sake Peter Abelard was castrated
and became a monk at Saint-Denis?
He suffered that misfortune because of his
love for her.
And where is that queen who
ordered that Buridan
be thrown into the Seine in a sack?
Queen Blanche, white as a lily,
who sang with a siren’s voice;
Big-footed Bertha, Beatrice, Alice,
Arembourg who ruled over Maine;
and Joan, the good maiden of Lorraine
who was burned by the English at Rouen —
where are they, where, O sovereign Virgin?
Prince, do not ask in a week
where they are, or in a year.
The only answer you will get is this refrain: