Ballad Crying All Folk Mercy

…from the quills of the dead white poets

 Francois Villon (1431 – 1463)


 Freres, be they white or be they grey;

 Nuns, mumpers, chanters awry that tread

 And clink their pattens on each highway;

 Lackey and handmaids, appareled

 In tight-fitting surcoats, white and red;

 Gallants, whose boots o’er their ankles fall,

 That vaunt and ruffle it unadread;

 I cry folk mercy, one and all.


 Wantons who all their charms display,

 That so more custom to them be led,

 Brawlers and jugglers and tumblers gay;

 Clowns with their apes and carpet spread;

 Players that whistle for lustihead,

 As they trudge it ‘twixt villages and town and hall

 gentle and simple, living and dead, -

 I cry folk mercy, one and all.


 Save only the treacherous beasts of prey,

 That garred me batten on prison bread

 And water, many a night and day.

 I fear them not now, no, not a shred;

 And gladly (but that I lie a-bed

 And have small stomach for strive or brawl)

 I’d have my wreak of them. Now, instead,

 I cry folk mercy, one and all.


 So but the knaves be ribroasted

 And basted well with an oaken maul

 Or some stout horsewhip weighted with lead,

 I cry folk mercy, one and all.


About Avadoro Worden

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2 Responses to Ballad Crying All Folk Mercy

  1. machinist says:

    It made me cry.

  2. casque de vino says:

    Mercy! Abbott in charge!

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