Location: Sacramento, California

I am a retired lawyer and administrative law judge, aged but active, with a variety of interests.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Adieu, an Imagined Letter from François Villon


5 January 1463

Dr. Guillaume de Villon
Église de Saint-Benoît-le-Bétourné
Rue Saint-Jacques

Most Revered Father,

You will have heard from your sources of the mitigation
of my sentence of death by the gibbet to exile from the City,
equivalent to my demise by inches. That judgement, although
rendered by a secular court I had hoped would be more just
than the known venality of the chancellery of your friend the
Bishop, has proved to me - again - the folly of expecting that
anything but injustice will be meted to the likes of your
adopted son. I am no criminal, despite the law’s success in
showing otherwise. You know well the catalog of crimes which
society has visited upon me, beginning with the prejudices
which I have suffered of the Church and its offices, the law
and its institutions, and the well-born and their minions, because
I am base-born, although possessed of the degree of master of
arts and undeniable genius. Those religious who knew me best,
and you are in that company, although recognizing my worth,
proved friends of fair weather, failing to understand the
temptations to which a student at the Sorbonne was exposed,
companions who proved to be bad, and women of the street.
That I killed a priest is a fact, but that he invited his own death
is equally true. The matter of the theft, so-called, of the five
hundred gold écus of the College of Navarre was vastly overblown,
and I had agreed to repay the faculty, as you well know. As to
the Coquillards, I became associated with them only by chance,
which would not have offered but for the necessity of fleeing the
City to escape the Provost’s officers in the matter of the aforesaid
Père Sermaise. But I have written nothing not known to you.

Know this, however: you, who failed to understand my needs,
and Thibault d’Aussigny, the tyrant Bishop of Orléans, who
imprisoned me in Meung-sur-Loire with scant cause, and Robert
d’Estouteville, the corrupt Provost of Paris, who persecuted me,
share equally in the crime of destroying one who, believing in his
merit, aspired to nothing but the pleasures which come to you by
virtue of your birth.

Having set the record right, I bid thee adieu.

François Villon, né Montcorbier

-James M. Moose


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