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 . Ballade du Temps Jadis
(The Ballad of the Dead Ladies)

    [translation by Dante Gabriel Rossetti]

    TELL me now, in what hidden way is
    Lady Flora, the lovely Roman?
    Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thaïs?
    Neither of them the fairer woman?
    Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
    Only heard on river and mere--
    She whose beauty was more than human?
    But where are the snows of yesteryear?

    Where's Héloise, the learned nun,
    For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
    Lost manhood and put priesthood on?
    (From Love he won such dule and teen!)        [grief and pain]
    And where, I pray you, is the queen
    Who willed that Buridan should steer
    Sewed in a sack's mouth down the seine? . . .
    But where are the snows of yesteryear?

    White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,
    With a voice like any mermaidén--
    Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice,
    And Ermengarde, the lady of Maine--
    And that good Joan whom Englishmen
    At Rouen doomed and burned her there--
    Mother of God, where are they then? . . .
    But where are the snows of yesteryear?

    Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
    Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
    Except with this for an overword--
    "But where are the snows of yesteryear?"

    François Villon


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