Brother Humans (François Villon)

Brother Humans who live after us,
Do not have hearts hardened against us,
For, if you take pity on us poor,
God will sooner have mercy on you.
You see us tied here, five, six:
As for the flesh, that we nourished too much,
It's been long since devoured and rotten,
And we, the bones, become ashes and powder.
Of our fate let no one make fun,
But pray God that us all will absolve!

If we call you brothers, you must not
Have scorn for it, although we were slain
By Justice. Nonetheless you know
That all men do not have unruffled common sense;
Forgive us, since we have passed on,
Toward the son of the Virgin Mary,
That his grace may not run dry for us,
Saving us from infernal thunderbolts.
We are dead, let no soul harrow us;
But pray God that us all will absolve!

Rain has drained and washed us
And the sun has dried and blackened us:
Magpies and crows have carved out our eyes
And torn off our beards and eyebrows.
We never sit for a moment;
Now here, then there, as the wind changes,
Tosses us around to its pleasure, without cease,
More pecked out by birds than thimbles.
Therefore, do not be of our brotherhood;
But pray God that us all will absolve!

Prince Jesus, who masters us all,
Prevent Hell from having lordship over us:
With him, we have nothing to do nor trade.
Men, here is no place for mockery;
But pray God that us all will absolve!


[Rendered into modern English by O.Á.C.
used as subtitles for the video
'François Villon's 'Frères Humains' read by OÁC']

And here is the ORIGINAL TEXT:

Frères Humains (c.1462)

Frères humains qui après nous vivez

N'ayez les cœurs contre nous endurcis, 

Car, se pitié de nous pauvres avez,
Dieu en aura plus tost de vous merciz.

Vous nous voyez cy attachez cinq, six

Quant de la chair, que trop avons nourrie,
Elle est pieça devoree et pourrie, 

Et nous les os, devenons cendre et pouldre.

De nostre mal personne ne s'en rie:
Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille[nt] absouldre!

Se frères vous clamons, pas n'en devez

Avoir desdain, quoy que fusmes occiz

Par justice. Toutesfois, vous savez

Que tous hommes n'ont pas bon sens rassiz; 

Excusez nous, puis que sommes transis,
Envers le filz de la Vierge Marie,
Que sa grâce ne soit pour nous tarie,
Nous préservant de l'infernale fouldre.
Nous sommes mors, ame ne nous harie; 

Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille(nt)absouldre!


La pluye nous a débuez et lavez,
Et le soleil desséchez et noirciz: 

Pies, corbeaulx nous ont les yeulx cavez
Et arraché la barbe et les sourciz.

Jamais nul temps nous ne sommes assis;
Puis ça, puis la, comme le vent varie, 

A son plaisir sans cesser nous charie,
Plus becquetez d'oiseaulx que dez à couldre.

Ne soyez donc de nostre confrarie; 

Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille[nt] absouldre!


Prince Jhesus, qui sur tous a maistrie, 

Garde qu'Enfer n'ait de nous seigneurie:
A luy n'avons que faire ne que souldre.
Hommes, icy n'a point de mocquerie;
Mais priez Dieu que tous nous vueille[nt] absouldre.

François Villon (1431-1465?)

by Oilibheir Alain Christie

Comments (8)

Forgive us, since we have passed on, Toward the son of the Virgin Mary, That his grace may not run dry for us, Saving us from infernal thunderbolts. pray that all will absolve. your mind is a special mind. your thoughts are unusual. attracted by your poetry. tony
Wonderful poem. Significant. It's a pleasure to read and think about all the rest. Thanks to share with us.
Beautiful poem. Makes the reader think and reflect on what our lives will have meant.
Thank you all for your kind comments. They warm my heart and it needs it. Yes, Clarence, the call to God is all the more moving that he turns to his fellow humans to intercede and ends up soliciting the intercession of Jesus himself, the Advocate of Mankind. In other words he turns to the Father without ever addressing him directly. Which makes me think that he relies more on the immanent God than on the transcendent one. Here Villon shows great modernity, considering he wrote the piece c.1462. Hello Michael. No, indeed, no biography. It would be too complicated and long. And it might look self-complacent. I prefer to avoid playing it an béal bocht. What you write in your comment is really stylish. But I'm in a dreadful lack of time for answering comments; even sympathetic ones. You might do me a favour. I'm in need of some support on the Mise Éire page. [http: //www.poemhunter.com/poem/mise-eire-i-am-ireland/comments/]
Aloha Oilibheir... Dia dhuit! Aon scéal? North, South, East, or West... I do hope this is a best way of beginning a conversation among fellows of the word... I have enjoyed this read and will to weave a few of my thoughts within a profound bit 'o' my wit in the near future... I do enjoy mingling my twists on subjects displayed by the higher bards I discover in the cloud... One thought which came to me after reading this post multiple times is: Forgive me, Spirit of my spirit, for this, that I have found it easier to read the mystery told in tears and understood Thee better in sorrow than in joy. and I have revisited Danny Boy, in both my thoughts and tears... Loved singing this during my rugby daze piss-ups... I wore the Nomads green and black, and proudly trekked worldwide on visitors tours... from Saudi to Hawaii, Western Australia, the South Pacific, and South East Asia, North Africa, South Africa... and more... landed here in SoCal and got relegated to the social sides... a bit of personal info for what it is worth... I have your posts in my sights and hope to fill my flask with the contents of your thoughts and messages... All of the best from this life, to you, and all of your relations... Michaelw1two.
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