Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BALLAD, by ALAIN CHARTIER



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BALLAD, by            
First Line: Fools, fools are mortal men, fools old or young
Last Line: For you did nothing have when you were born.


FOOLS, fools are mortal men, fools old or young,
Who Fortune's fickle favours rest upon.
In the whole earth, the country which you throng,
Possess you ought which you can call your own?
No! of all things you have there is not one.
Fair are the gifts of Nature and of grace;
But if by fortune or unlucky case
All treasures that you have are from you torn,
No wrong you suffer, right still holds its place,
For nothing did you have when you were born.

Your healthful sleep and pleasant dreams prolong
In the dark night, nor quit your bed o'er soon
To moil and toil for wealth with ardour strong;
Nor covet anything beneath the moon
From Paris may be gained to Pampelune;
But only that, nor more that life doth crave,
The simple nourishment which all must have;
Let it suffice you that good deeds adorn,
And that you carry virtue to the grave,
Since you did nothing have when you were born.

Glad fruits and apples that on branches hung
In the old time when all things common were--
Fine honey, acorns, gums from forests wrung--
Sufficed for women and for men to share;
And quest of these nor wars nor envy bare.
Be you alike content with cold or heat,
And fortune, whether sweet or sour, greet;
Do not for losses or misfortunes mourn,
Except in reason, time, and measure meet;
For you did nothing have when you were born.

ENVOY

If fortune do you any injury,
It is her right, and neither blame nor scorn,
Though even stript of raiment you should be:
For you did nothing have when you were born.





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