Songs of Old France

- Rondel I
- Ballade I
- Triolets I
- Triolets II
- Lay
- Lay/Rondel
- Rondel II
- Rondel III
- His Epitaph
- Rondel IV
- Ballade II
- Ballade III
- Song
- Source Info


The Contradiction of Franc-Gontier

François Villon

On a down soft cushion a canon fat
By the fire in matted chamber lying:
At his side a lady on furry mat,
White, tender, dainty, dreamfully sighing;
Day through and night through, the wine is vying
With laughter, love word, kisses and teasing,
And closer for senses fuller easing,
I saw them—through the keyhole, on bended knees—
And knew that for sorrow's full appeasing
There's no treasure like life at one's ease.

If Franc-Gontier and fair Helen his friend
Had but always so sweet a life hunted,
Those onions that strength to the breathing lend
Above brown toast they would not have vaunted;
Nor cheese, not even the potful wanted,
Were worth a wing, and the truth one knows is—
Praise as they may their couch under the roses—
That a bed and chair are better than these.
What say you? Here the discussion closes!
There's no treasure like life at one's ease.

Course brown bread, barley and oats they live on,
Water only they drink the whole year long,
All the birds from here unto Babylon:
Not one day, so meagre thanks for my song
Would hold me, no not for a morning long.
Let Franc-Gontier frolic, who thinks it is fine,
With his Helen beneath the eglantine
Since it pleases them, let me think as I please;
But, whoever to labour may incline,
There's no treasure like life at one's ease.


Judge then, Prince, and we all are accorded,
But as for me—so that not it displease—
Little child, I have heard it recorded,
There's no treasure like life at one's ease.

* See note 1 to the preceding poem.

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By: Percy Allen
Contributed by: Rich Lawson