It’s necessary…—What is?—To feel remorse

Suiting the mood of the last few days here’s an abridgment of Francois Villon’s dialogue with his heart.  The poem – as many of his – seems variously titled in different editions so I’m just leaving the most generic.

Who’s that I hear?—It’s me—Who?—Your heart
Hanging on by the thinnest thread
I lose all my strength, substance, and fluid
When I see you withdrawn this way all alone
Like a whipped cur sulking in the corner
Is it due to your mad hedonism?—
What’s it to you?—I have to suffer for it—
Leave me alone—Why?—I’ll think about it—
When will you do that?—When I’ve grown up—
I’ve nothing more to tell you—I’ll survive without it—

What’s your idea?—To be a good man—
You’re thirty, for a mule that’s a lifetime
You call that childhood?—No—Madness
Must have hold of you ….

Want to live?—God give me the strength—
It’s necessary…—What is?—To feel remorse
Lots of reading—What kind?—Read for knowledge
Leave fools alone—I’ll take your advice—
Or will you forget?—I’ve got it fixed in mind—
Now act before things go from bad to worse
I’ve nothing more to tell you—I’ll survive without it.

Qu’est ce que j’oi? – Ce suis-je ! – Qui ? – Ton cœur,
Qui ne tient mais qu’à un petit filet :
Force n’ai plus, substance ne liqueur,
Quand je te vois retrait ainsi seulet
Com pauvre chien tapi en reculet.
Pour quoi est-ce ? – Pour ta folle plaisance. –
Que t’en chaut-il ? – J’en ai la déplaisance. –
Laisse m’en paix. – Pour quoi ? – J’y penserai. –
Quand sera ce ? – Quand serai hors d’enfance. –
Plus ne t’en dis. – Et je m’en passerai.
Que penses-tu ? – Etre homme de valeur.
Tu as trente ans – C’est l’âge d’un mulet ;
Est-ce enfance ? – Nenni. – C’est donc foleur
Qui te saisit ?

Veux-tu vivre ? – Dieu m’en doint la puissance ! –
Il le faut… – Quoi ? – Remords de conscience,
Lire sans fin. – En quoi ? – Lire en science,
Laisser les fous ! – Bien j’y aviserai. –
Or le retiens ! – J’en ai bien souvenance. –
N’attends pas tant que tourne à déplaisance.
Plus ne t’en dis – Et je m’en passerai.

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