Mais Ou Sont Les Neiges D’Antan

Krehbiel Picnic Bench

This famous and beloved poem is by François Villon (1431 – 1463, approx.), a rebellious young man whose wild reckless life has inspired many a budding poet, and no doubt led some of them to reject their dull bourgeois upbringing for a life of adventure and lawlessness.

Rebel, thief, quarrelsome hothead, Villon was condemned to several prison sentences for serious crimes, but he probably matches Harry Houdini in his ability to slip out of bondage, only to return as quickly as his bad temper could get him into another fix.

He was not heard of after 1463 when the courts banished him, so the exact length of his life is not known.

Let’s let his joie de vivre inspire our New Year!

Ballad of the Ladies of Bygone Times

Tell me where, or in what land

is Flora, the lovely Roman,

or Archipiades, or Thaïs,

who was her first cousin;

or Echo, replying whenever called

across river or pool,

and whose beauty was more than human?

But where are the snows of yesteryear?

Where is that brilliant lady Heloise,

for whose sake Peter Abelard was castrated

and became a monk at Saint-Denis?

He suffered that misfortune because of his love for her.

And where is that queen who

ordered that Buridan

be thrown into the Seine in a sack?

But where are the snows of yesteryear?

Queen Blanche, white as a lily,

who sang with a siren’s voice;

Big-footed Bertha, Beatrice, Alice,

Arembourg who ruled over Maine;

and Joan, the good maiden of Lorraine

who was burned by the English at Rouen —

where are they, where, O sovereign Virgin?

But where are the snows of yesteryear?

Prince, do not ask in a week

where they are, or in a year.

The only answer you will get is this refrain:

But where are the snows of yesteryear

4 thoughts on “Mais Ou Sont Les Neiges D’Antan

  1. maedez says:

    I did not expect to wake up today and come across Villon on WP. Thanks!

  2. lolasanrose says:

    He is new to me, this Villon, interesting. Thank you.

  3. petit4chocolatier says:

    Thank you for the Villon!!

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