Ballade of the ladies of bygone times

Edition de 1896 des Ballades de Villon
Ballade des dames du temps jadis

Written by François Villon in 1461,

after his release under an amnesty

and before a new arrest

François Villon. Federico Cantu
The Lady and the Unicorn. Touch
Dictes-moy où, n’en quel pays

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?

The Lady and the Unicorn. Taste
The Lady and the Unicorn. Smell
Où est la très sage Heloïs

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?

But where are the snows of yesteryear?

The Lady and the Unicorn. Hearing
The Lady and the Unicorn. Sight
La royne Blanche comme ung lys

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?

But where are the snows of yesteryear?

The Lady and the Unicorn. My one desire
Dame Montmartre. Unknown master
Envoi

 

Prince, do not ask in a week

where they are, or in a year.

The only answer you will get is this refrain:

But where are the snows of yesteryear?

Je, François Villon