Quoy qu’on tient belles langagieres,

Today’s poem goes back to the 1400s, but the theme is universal. Francois Villon is the author, and in this poem he writes in praise of the women of Paris, superior in all respects to women from another place he cares to mention. Compare with the song from the Beach Boys, “California Girls”, or the Beatles “Back in the USSR”

 
Ballade des femmes de Paris
François Villon (1431-1463)

Quoy qu’on tient belles langagieres
Florentines, Veniciennes,
Assez pour estre messaigieres,
Et mesmement les anciennes;
Mais, soient Lombardes, Rommaines,
Genevoises, a mes perilz,
Piemontoises, Savoysiennes,
Il n’est bon bec que de Paris.

De tres beau parler tiennent chaires,
Ce dit-on, les Napolitaines,
Et que sont bonnes cacquetoeres
Allemanses et Bruciennes;
Soient Grecques, Egyptiennes,
De Hongrie ou d’autre pays,
Espaignolles ou Castellannes,
Il n’est bon bec que de Paris.

Brettes, Suysses, n’y scavent gueres,
Ne Gasconnes et Tholouzaines;
Du Petit-Pont deux harangeres
Les concluront, et les Lorraines,
Anglesches ou Callaisiennes,
(Ay je beaucoup de lieux compris?)
Picardes, de Valenciennes;
Il n’est bon bec que de Paris.

Prince, aux dames parisiennes
De bien parler donnez le prix;
Quoy qu’on die d’Italiennes,
Il n’est bon bec que de Paris.

From <http://poemasenfrances.blogspot.com/2004/05/franois-villon-ballade-des-femmes-de.html&gt;

The first stanza evokes the sparkling verbal skills of ladies from Florence, Venice, Lombardy, Rome, Genoa, Piedmont and Savoy – but concludes that Paris women re the only ones who can really talk – “il n’est bon bec que de Paris”.

The second stanza talks of the conversation abilities of the women from Naples, Germany, Bruges, Greece, Egypt, Hungary, Spain and Castille but concludes that the best talkers are in Paris.

The third stanza goes on to list places where women can’t talk well – Brittany, Switzerland, Gascony, Toulouse, Lorraine, England, Calais, Picardy, Valenciennes – only in Paris will you find women who can really talk.

The final stanza implores the Price to give the prize for fine speech to Parisian ladies, whatever he might have heard of Italian ladies, because only in Paris can good talk be heard.

The Poetry Dude

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s