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Dame du ciel, regente terrienne

Language: French (Français)

Dame du ciel, regente terrienne, 
Emperière des infernaulx palux,
Recevez-moy, vostre humble chrestienne,
Que comprinse soye entre vos esleuz,
Ce non obstant qu'oncques riens ne valuz.
Les biens de vous, ma dame et ma maistresse,
Sont trop plus grans que ne suys pecheresse,
Sans lesquelz bien ame ne peult
Merir n'avoir les cieulx,
Je n'en suis mentèresse.
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.

À vostre Filz dictes que je suys sienne;
De luy soyent mes pechez aboluz:
Pardonnez-moy comme à l'Egyptienne,
Ou comme il feut au clerc Theophilus,
Lequel par vous fut quitte et absoluz,
Combien qu'il eust au diable faict promesse.
Preservez-moy que je n'accomplisse ce!
Vierge portant sans rompure encourir 
Le sacrement qu'on celebre à la messe.
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.

Femme je suis povrette et ancienne,
Qui riens ne sçay, oncques lettre ne leuz;
Au moustier voy dont suis paroissienne,
Paradis painct où sont harpes et luz,
Et ung enfer où damnez sont boulluz:
L'ung me faict paour, l'aultre joye et liesse.
La joye avoir faismoy, haulte Deesse,
A qui pecheurs doibvent tous recourir,
Comblez de foy, sans faincte ne paresse.
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.

Vous portastes, digne Vierge, princesse,
Iesus regnant, qui n'a ne fin ne cesse.
Le Tout-Puissant, prenant nostre foiblesse,
Laissa les cieulx et nous vint secourir,
Offrit à la mort sa tres chiere jeunesse.
Nostre Seigneur tel est, tel le confesse,
En ceste foy je vueil vivre et mourir.

Translation(s): ENG

List of language codes

C. Debussy sets stanzas 1-3

About the headline (FAQ)

Modernized spelling provided by Laura Prichard (not used by Debussy):
Dame du ciel, régente terrienne,	
Emperière des infernaux palus,
Recevez moi, votre humble chrétienne,	
Que comprise soie entre vos élus,	
Ce non obstant qu'oncques rien ne valus.	
Les biens de vous, ma Dame et ma Maîtresse,	
Sont trop plus grands que ne suis pécheresse,	
Sans lesquels biens âme ne peut mérir	
N'avoir les cieux. Je n'en suis menteresse.	
En cette foi je veux vivre et mourir.	

A votre Fils dites que je suis sienne;	
De lui soient mes péchés abolus;	
Pardonnez moi comme à l’Égyptienne,
Ou comme il fit au clerc Théophilus,
Lequel par vous fut quitte et absolus,	
Combien qu'il eût au diable fait promesse	
Préservez-moi que je n'accomplisse ce!	
Vierge portant, sans rompure encourir,
Le sacrement qu'on célèbre à la messe:
En cette foi je veux vivre et mourir.	

Femme je suis pauvrette et ancienne,	
Qui rien ne sais; oncques lettre ne lus.	
Au moutier vois dont suis paroissienne
Paradis peint, où sont harpes et luz,	
Et un enfer où damnés sont boullus:	
L'un me fait peur, l'autre joie et liesse.	
La joie avoir fais moi, haute Déesse,	
A qui pécheurs doivent tous recourir,	
Comblés de foi, sans feinte ne paresse:	
En cette foi je veux vivre et mourir. 

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , title 1: "Ballade that Villon wrote at the request of his mother [in order] to pray to Our Lady [Mary]", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2016-01-04 21:58:01
Line count: 39
Word count: 247

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Ballade that Villon wrote at the request of his mother [in order] to pray to Our Lady [Mary]

Language: English after the French (Français)

Lady of heaven, earthly regent,	
Empress of the infernal marshes,
Receive me, your humble Christian [believer],
So I may be numbered among your elect,	
Notwithstanding that I sam worth nothing.	
Your good [qualities], my Lady and my Mistress,	
Are far too great; I’m only a sinner,	
Without those good [qualities], [a] soul can’t merit 
Nor attain heaven. I not a liar.	
In this faith I want to live and die.

Tell your Son that I am his;	
Through him may my sins be absolved;	
Pardon me, like the Egyptian woman1,
Or as you did for the cleric Theophilus2,
Who through you were acquitted and absolved,	
[In spite of] how many promises were made to the Devil.
Keep me from doing such a thing!	
O Virgin, carrying, without risk of rupture3,
The sacrament which is celebrated at Mass4:
In this faith I want to live and die.

I am [a] woman, poor and old,	
Who knows nothing; who never read [a single] letter.	
At the monastic church where I am a parishioner, I see
Paradise painted, where [there] are harps and lutes, 
And a Hell where the damned are boiled: 
One frightens me, the other [causes] joy and jubilation. 
Give me joy, lofty goddess, 
From whom sinners must all resort, 
Filled with faith, without feining or laziness:
In this faith I want to live and die.

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View original text (without footnotes)
Translator's note: The original poem concludes with a 7-line Envoi addressed to Mary, re-asserting the speaker’s faith.
1 Saint Mary of Egypt (c. 344–421) who was converted from a dissolute life after seeing an icon of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem.
2 Saint Theophilus (died c. 538) was the archdeacon of Adana (in modern Turkey) who signed the first recorded deal with the Devil in order to become bishop, and was later absolved by the Virgin Mary.
3 may refer to loss of virginity
4 referring to her son, Jesus


  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Laura Prichard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


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Based on
  • a text in French (Français) by François Villon (1431 - 1463)
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Claude Achille Debussy, Paul Ladmirault. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2016-01-04.
Last modified: 2016-01-04 21:44:35
Line count: 30
Word count: 225