Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: In ballades things always contrive to get lost
Last Line: Who was the man in the iron mask.
Subject(s): Villon, Francois (1431-1463)

IN Ballades things always contrive to get lost,
And Echo is constantly asking where
Are last year's roses and last year's frost?
And where are the fashions we used to wear?
And what is a "gentleman," and what is a "player"?
Irrelevant questions I like to ask:
Can you reap the tret as well as the tare?
And who was the Man in the Iron Mask?

What has become of the ring I tossed
In the lap of my mistress false and fair?
Her grave is green and her tombstone mossed;
But who is to be the next Lord Mayor?
And where is King William, of Leicester Square?
And who has emptied my hunting flask?
And who is possessed of Stella's hair?
And who was the Man in the Iron Mask?

And what became of the knee I crossed,
And the rod and the child they would not spare?
And what will a dozen herring cost
When herring are sold at three halfpence a pair?
And what in the world is the Golden Stair?
Did Diogenes die in a tub or cask,
Like Clarence, for love of liquor there?
And who was the Man in the Iron Mask?

Poets, your readers have much to bear,
For Ballade-making is no great task,
If you do not remember, I don't much care
Who was the man in the Iron Mask.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net