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A Poor Man’s Mountain

Ou temps qu’Alixandre regna,
Ung horns nommé Diomedès
Devant luy on luy amena
Engrillonné poulces et des
Comme ung larron, car il fut des
Escumeurs que voions courir;
Si fut mis devant ce cadès,
Pour estre jugié a mourir.

L’empereur si l’araisonna:
«Pourquoi es tu larron en mer?»
L’autre responce luy donna:
«Pourquoy laron me faiz clamer?
Pour ce qu’on me voit escumer.
En une petiote fuste?
Se comme toy me peusse armer,
Comme toy empereur je feusse.»

In the days of Alexander’s reign,
a man called Diomedes
was brought before the monarch,
his thumbs and fingers in irons
like a thief, for having been
a pirate on high seas;
thus he came before this judge
to be condemned to die.

The Emperor said to him,
“Why are you a robber on the sea?”
The other answered him,
“Why am I being called a robber?
Because some men have seen me
sail a little pirate ship?
If I could arm myself like you,
like you I’d be an emperor.”

—François Villon, lines from Le Testament

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