ballade of the ladies of times past

Tell me where, in which country
Is Flora, the beautiful Roman;
Archipiada (Alcibiades?), born Thaïs
Who was her first cousin;
Echo, speaking when one makes noise
Over river or on pond,
Who had a beauty too much more than human?
Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

Where is the very wise Héloïse d’Argenteuil,
For whom was castrated, and then (made) a monk,
Pierre Esbaillart (Abelard) in Saint-Denis?
For his love he suffered this sentence.
Similarly, where is the Queen (Marguerite de Bourgogne)
Who ordered that Buridan
Were thrown in a sack into the Seine?
Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

The queen Blanche (white) as a lily (Blanche de Castille)
Who sang with a Siren’s voice;
Bertha of the Big Foot, Beatrix, Aelis;
Erembourge who ruled over the Maine,
And Joan (Joan of Arc), the good (woman from) Lorraine
Whom the English burned in Rouen;
Where are they, oh sovereign Virgin?
Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

Prince, do not ask me in the whole week
Where they are – neither in this whole year,
Lest I bring you back to this refrain:
Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!

François Villon

returning to the village

Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?
F. Villon

I
What are you doing
by the fire, girl,
pale as a sapling
fading in the dusk?
“I’m kindling old sticks.
The smoke rises dark
and tells me the world
I live in is safe.”
But by the sweet-smelling fire
I cannot breathe.
I wish I were the wind
dying down in the village.

II
My journey is over.
Sweet smell of polenta,
sad lowing of cattle.
My journey is over.
“You’ve come here among us,
but we only live,
live quiet and dead,
like water that trickles
unseen between hedges.”

III
Midday chimes ring
festive in my village.
Yet what silence the bell
casts over the fields!
You haven’t changed, bell;
in awe I return to your voice.
“Time does not move:
behold the fathers’ smiles
in the children’s eyes
like rain on the branches.”

Pier Paolo Pasolini