Ballade [I die of thirst beside the fountain]

François Villon
I die of thirst beside the fountain 
I'm hot as fire, I'm shaking tooth on tooth 
In my own country I'm in a distant land 
Beside the blaze I'm shivering in flames 
Naked as a worm, dressed like a president 
I laugh in tears and hope in despair 
I cheer up in sad hopelessness 
I'm joyful and no pleasure's anywhere 
I'm powerful and lack all force and strength 
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

I'm sure of nothing but what is uncertain 
Find nothing obscure but the obvious 
Doubt nothing but the certainties 
Knowledge to me is mere accident
I keep winning and remain the loser 
At dawn I say "I bid you good night"
Lying down I'm afraid of falling 
I'm so rich I haven't a penny 
I await an inheritance and am no one's heir 
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

I never work and yet I labor 
To acquire goods I don't even want 
Kind words irritate me most 
He who speaks true deceives me worst 
A friend is someone who makes me think 
A white swan is a black crow 
The people who harm me think they help 
Lies and truth today I see they're one
I remember everything, my mind's a blank 
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

Merciful Prince may it please you to know 
I understand much and have no wit or learning 
I'm biased against all laws impartially 
What's next to do? Redeem my pawned goods again! 
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

More by François Villon

Ballade [The goat scratches so much it can't sleep]

The goat scratches so much it can't sleep 
The pot fetches water so much it breaks 
You heat iron so much it reddens 
You hammer it so much it cracks 
A man's worth so much as he's esteemed 
He's away so much he's forgotten 
He's bad so much he's hated 
We cry good news so much it comes.

You talk so much you refute yourself 
Fame's worth so much as its perquisites 
You promise so much you renege 
You beg so much you get your wish 
A thing costs so much you want it 
You want it so much you get it 
It's around so much you want it no more 
We cry good news so much it comes.

You love a dog so much you feed it 
A song's loved so much as people hum it
A fruit is kept so much it rots 
You strive for a place so much it's taken
You dawdle so much you miss your chance 
You hurry so much you run into bad luck 
You grasp so hard you lose your grip 
We cry good news so much it comes.

You jeer so much nobody laughs 
You spend so much you've lost your shirt
You're honest so much you're broke
"Take it" is worth so much as a promise 
You love God so much you go to church 
You give so much you have to borrow 
The wind shifts so much it blows cold 
We cry good news so much it comes.

Prince a fool lives so much he grows wise 
He travels so much he returns home 
He's beaten so much he reverts to form 
We cry good news so much it comes.