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

Dites‑moi où, n'en quel pays
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Dites-moi où, n'en quel pays,
Est Flora la belle Romaine,
Archipiades, ne Thaïs,
Qui fut sa cousine germaine,
Echo, parlant quant bruit on mène
Dessus rivière ou sur étang,
Qui beauté eut trop plus qu'humaine ?
Mais où sont les neiges d'antan ?

Où est la très sage Héloïs,
Pour qui fut châtré et puis moine
Pierre Esbaillart à Saint-Denis ?
Pour son amour eut cette essoine.
Semblablement, où est la roine
Qui commanda que Buridan
Fût jeté en un sac en Seine ?
Mais où sont les neiges d'antan ?

La roine Blanche comme un lis
Qui chantait à voix de sirène,
Berthe au grand pied, Bietrix, Aliz,
Haramburgis qui tint le Maine,
Et Jeanne, la bonne Lorraine
Qu'Anglais brûlèrent à Rouen ;
Où sont-ils, où, Vierge souvraine ?
Mais où sont les neiges d'antan ?

Prince, n'enquerrez de semaine
Où elles sont, ni de cet an,
Que ce refrain ne vous remaine :
Mais où sont les neiges d'antan ?

E. Vercoe sets lines 21-24

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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) , "Ballad of the ladies of long ago", 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: 28
Word count: 162

Ballad of the ladies of long ago
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Tell me where, or in what land,
Is Flora, the beautiful Roman girl,
Archipiades, or Thaïs,
Who was her closest cousin,
Echo, answering at a handclap
Across the river and over the meadow,
Whose beauty was superhuman?
And where is the snow from last season?

Where was the very wise Heloise,
For whom was castrated, to his shame
Peter Abelard at Saint-Denis?
This enduring pain [was caused by] his love.
Simlarly, where is the queen
Who commanded that Buridan
Be thrown in a sack, into the Seine?
And where is the snow from last season?

Queen Blanche, white as a swan,
Who sang with a siren’s voice,
Bertha Bigfoot, Beatrice, Alice,
Arembourg, who rules Maine,
And Joan [of Arc], the beautiful girl from Lorraine
Who the English burned at Rouen;
Where are they, where, reigning Virgin?
And where is the snow from last season?

Prince, don’t ask this week
Where they are, nor this year,
This refrain is all that I have left:
And where is the snow from last season?

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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This text was added to the website: 2016-04-15
Line count: 28
Word count: 171