Poetry Monday: “Would I Be Shrived?” by John D. Swain
There’s a small genre of poems that pretend to be written by the French medieval poet François Villon. (Here’s one in Russian by Bulat Okudzhava, and here’s the same excellently performed by Regina Spektor.)
Here’s a second member of that genre, published by one John D. Swain in 1903, alternately called “Would I Be Shrived?” and “Ballade of François Villon, as He Was About to Die”:
I, François Villon, ta’en at last
To the rude bed where all must lie,
Fain would forget the turbid Past
And lay me down in peace to die.
“Would I be shrived?” Ah — can I tell?
My sins but trifles seem to be,
Nor worth the dignity of Hell;
If not, then ill avails it me
To name them one and all, — and yet —
There be some things which I regret!…
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