by François Villon (1431 - 1463)
Translation by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 - 1909)

Ballade des femmes de Paris
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Quoy qu'on tient belles langagières
Florentines, Veniciennes, 
Assez pour estre messaigières,
Et mesmement les anciennes;
Mais, soient Lombardes, Romaines, 
Genevoises, à mes perils, 
Piemontoises, Savoysiennes,
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.

De beau parler tiennent chayeres, 
Ce dit-on Napolitaines,
Et que sont bonnes cacquetières
Allemandes et Bruciennes;
Soient Grecques, Egyptiennes,
De Hongrie ou d'aultre païs,
Espaignolles ou Castellannes,
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.

Brettes, Suysses, n'y sçavent guèrres,
Ne Gasconnes et Tholouzaines;
Du Petit Pont deux harangères les concluront,
Et les Lorraines, 
Anglesches ou Callaisiennes,
(ay-je beaucoup de lieux compris?)
Picardes, de Valenciennes...
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.

Envoi
Prince, aux dames parisiennes,
De bien parler donnez le prix;
Quoy qu'on die d'Italiennes,
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.

Modernized spelling provided by Laura Prichard):

Quoi qu'on tient belles langagères	
Florentines, Vénitiennes,	
Assez pour être messagères,	
Et mêmement les anciennes;	
Mais, soient Lombardes, Romaines,	
Genevoises, à mes perils,	
Piémontoises, Savoisiennes,	
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.	

De beau parler tiennent chayères,	
Ce dit-on, Napolitaines,	
Et que sont bonnes caquetières	
Allemandes et Prussiennes;	
Soient Greques, Egyptiennes,	
De Hongrie ou d'autre pays,	
Espagnoles ou Catelannes,	
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.	

Brettes, Suisses, n'y savent guères,	
Ne Gasconnes et Toulousaines:	
Du Petit Pont deux harengères
Les concluront, et les Lorraines,	
Anglesches ou Calaisiennes,	
(Ai-je beaucoup de lieux compris?)	
Picardes, de Valenciennes;	
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.	

Prince, aux dames parisiennes	
De bien parler donner le prix;	
Quoi qu'on dit d'Italiennes,	
Il n'est bon bec que de Paris.


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 (Algernon Charles Swinburne) , "Ballad of the women of Paris"
  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , "Ballade of the women of Paris", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 29
Word count: 125

Ballad of the women of Paris
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
Albeit the Venice girls get praise
For their sweet speech and tender air, 
And though the old women have wise ways
Of chaffering for amorous ware, 
Yet at my peril dare I swear,
Search Rome, where God's grace mainly tarries, 
Florence and Savoy, everywhere,
There's no good girl's lip out of Paris. 

The Naples women, as folk prattle,
Are sweetly spoken and subtle enough: 
German girls are good at tattle,
And Prussians make their boast thereof; 
Take Egypt for the next remove,
Or that waste land the Tartar harries,  
Spain or Greece, for the matter of love,
There's no good girl's lip out of Paris. 


Breton and Swiss know nought of the matter,
Gascony girls or girls of Toulouse; 
Two fishwomen with a half-hour's chatter
Would shut them up by threes and twos; 
Calais, Lorraine, and all their crews,
(Names enow the made song marries) 
England and Picardy, search them and choose,
There's no good girl's lip out of Paris. 


Prince give praise to our French ladies
For the sweet sound their speaking carries; 
'Twixt Rome and Cadiz many a maid is,
But no good girl's lip out of Paris.

Authorship

Based on

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

    [ None yet in the database ]


Researcher for this text: Leonard Lehrman

This text was added to the website: 2012-04-30
Line count: 28
Word count: 192