by François Villon (1431 - 1463)
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Frères humains, qui après nous vivez
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Frères humains, qui après nous vivez,
N'ayez les coeurs contre nous endurcis,
Car, si pitié de nous pauvres avez,
Dieu en aura plus tôt de vous mercis.
Vous nous voyez ci attachés, cinq, six :
Quant [à]1 la chair, que trop avons nourrie,
Elle est piéça dévorée et pourrie,
Et nous, les os, devenons cendre et poudre.
De notre mal personne ne s'en rie ;
Mais priez Dieu que tous nous veuille absoudre !

[Se frères vous clamons]2, pas n'en devez
[Avoir]3 dédain, quoique fûmes occis
Par justice. Toutefois, vous savez
Que tous hommes n'ont pas bon sens [rassis]4.
Excusez-nous, puisque sommes [transis]5,
Envers le fils de la Vierge Marie,
Que sa grâce ne soit pour nous tarie,
Nous préservant de l'infernale foudre.
Nous sommes morts, âme ne nous harie,
Mais priez Dieu que tous nous veuille absoudre !

La pluie nous a [débués]6 et lavés,
Et le soleil desséchés et noircis.
Pies, corbeaux nous ont les yeux cavés,
Et arraché la barbe et les sourcils.
Jamais nul temps nous ne sommes [assis]7
Puis çà, puis là, comme le vent varie,
A son plaisir sans cesser nous charrie,
Plus becquetés d'oiseaux que dés à coudre.
Ne soyez donc de notre confrérie ;
Mais priez Dieu que tous nous veuille absoudre !

Prince Jésus, qui sur tous a [maistrie]8,
Garde qu'Enfer n'ait de nous seigneurie :
A lui n'ayons que faire ne que soudre.
Hommes, ici n'a point de moquerie ;
Mais priez Dieu que tous nous veuille absoudre !

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Martin: "de"
2 Martin: "Si vous clamons frères"
3 Martin: "Alors"
4 Martin: "assis"
5 Martin: "transit"
6 Martin: "bués"
7 Martin: "rassis"
8 Martin: "maîtrie"

Authorship

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 or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-09-13
Line count: 35
Word count: 249

Brother humans, who live after us
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Brother humans, who live after us,
Don’t harden your hearts against us,
But instead, pity us poor [sinners], [so that]
God may have mercy on you.
You see us hanging, five, six:
When [in]1 the flesh, that completely nourished us,
Is devoured piecemeal and swells up,
And we, as bones, are reduced to ashes and dust.
Of our misfortune, let no one make fun;
But pray that God may absolve us all!

[If we cry out to you, brothers]2, there’s no need
[To feel]3 disdain, though we were slain
For justice. However, you know
That few men have common sense [stale]4.
Forgive us, as we [shiver]5,
For the sake of the son of the Virgin Mary,
For us, for whom grace has dried up,
Preserve us from the infernal lightning.
We are dead, our souls are not troubled,
But pray that God may absolve us all!

The rain [soaks]6 and washes us,
And the sun desiccates and blackens us.
Magpies, ravens pluck out our eyes,
And thin our beards and eyebrows.
We aren’t allowed time to [be seated]7
First here, then there, as the wind shifts,
At its pleasure, we swing unceasingly,
More pecked by birds than a thimble.
Do not join our fraternity;
But pray that God may absolve us all!

Prince Jesus, [you] who are [master]8 over all,
Preserve us from the rule of Hell:
From him for whom there is no salvation.
Men, this isn’t the time for mockery;
But pray that God may absolve us all!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Translation of title "L’Épitaphe Villon: Ballade des Pendues" = "The Epitaphe of Villon: Ballad of the Hanged Man"
1 Martin: "of"
2 Martin: "If we cry out to you, brothers"
3 Martin: "Alas"
4 Martin: "seated"
5 Martin: "shiver"
6 Martin: "wets"
7 Martin: "become stale"
8 Martin: "master"

Authorship

  • 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

 

This text was added to the website: 2016-04-15
Line count: 35
Word count: 250