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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


From the French. Friar Lubin

  • (Le Frère Lubin)
    By Clement Marot
  • Mr. Longfellow gave this lyric in his paper on Origin and Progress of the French Language, and afterward printed it in The Poets and Poetry of Europe. In one of the scenes of Michael Angelo, which he appears to have set aside when revising that dramatic poem, he makes Rabelais sing it. The envoy which closes the poem here is omitted in the scene.

  • TO gallop off to town post-haste,

    So oft, the times I cannot tell;

    To do vile deed, nor feel disgraced,—

    Friar Lubin will do it well.

    But a sober life to lead,

    To honor virtue, and pursue it,

    That’s a pious, Christian deed,—

    Friar Lubin cannot do it.

    To mingle, with a knowing smile,

    The goods of others with his own,

    And leave you without cross or pile,

    Friar Lubin stands alone.

    To say ’t is yours is all in vain,

    If once he lays his finger to it;

    For as to giving back again,

    Friar Lubin cannot do it.

    With flattering words and gentle tone,

    To woo and win some guileless maid,

    Cunning pander need you none,—

    Friar Lubin knows the trade.

    Loud preacheth he sobriety,

    But as for water, doth eschew it;

    Your dog may drink it,—but not he;

    Friar Lubin cannot do it.

    When an evil deed’s to do

    Friar Lubin is stout and true;

    Glimmers a ray of goodness through it,

    Friar Lubin cannot do it.