Ballad Against the Enemies of France

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Francois Villon (1431 – 1463)

May he fall in with beasts that scatter fire,

Like Jason, when he sought the fleece of gold,

Or change from man to beast three years entire,

As King Nabuchadnezzar did of old;

Or else have times as shameful and as bad

As Trojan folk for ravished Helen had;

Or gulfed with Proserpine and Tantalus

Let’s hell’s deep fen devour him dolorous,

With worse to bear than Job’s worst sufferance,

Bound to his prison-maze with Daedalus,

Who could wish evil to the state of France!


May he four months, like bitterns in the mire,

Howl with head downmost in the lake-springs cold

Or to bear harness like strong bull for hire

To the Great Turk for money be sold;

Or thirty years like Magdalen live sad,

With neither wool nor web of linen clad;

Drown like Narciss’, or wing down pendulous

Like Absalom with locks luxurious,

Or like Judas fallen to reprobance;

Or find such death as Simon sorcerous,

Who could wish evil to the state of France!

May the old times come of fierce Octavian’s ire,

And in his belly molden coin to be told;

May he like Victor in the mill expire,

Crushed between moving millstones on him rolled,

Or in deep sea drenched breathless, more adrad

Than in the whale’s bulk Jones, when God bade:

from Phoebus’ light, from Juno’s treasure-house

Driven, and from joys of Venus amorous,

And cursed of God most high to the utterance,

As was the Syrian king Antiochus,

Who could wish evil to the state of France!


Prince, may the bright-winged brood of Æolus

To sea-king Glaucus’ wild wood cavernous

Bear him bereft of peace and hope’s least glance,

For worthless is he to get good of us,

Who could wish evil to the state of France!

About Paul Jacko

Jacko was born in Czechoslovakia not long before the communist putsch in February 1948. He studied industrial chemistry there and left in 1969 for Australia, where he became a lawyer and established his own practice. He has now retired and beside hunting, fishing, camping, prospecting and playing golf he amuses himself by writing.
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