. Ballade for His Lady Deceased by Charles d’Orléans (1394–1465) Alas, Death, who made you so bold? My noble princess you possess; My life and comfort you enfold, My pleasure, wealth, and cheerfulness. Since you my mistress now oppress, Take me, her servant since we met, For I would soon die willingly Instead of living mournfully In pain, affliction, and regret. Alas for merit placed to mold In modest bloom of youthfulness! I beg, my God, swallow up cold Brutish Death so pitiless. Had she reached age’s helplessness, Such sorrow it would not beget, But she was seized too hastily, And I am left pathetically In pain, affliction, and regret. Alas! I bide here unconsoled. Lady, adieu, my happiness! Now for our love the bell has tolled, But for your soul I make redress With alms and fasts and prayerfulness. Though you are dead, I serve you yet, For I have loved you loyally, And think of you repeatedly, In pain, affliction, and regret. O God, above all sovereigns set, Command that by your grace her debt For lapses be paid speedily; May she not linger wearily In pain, affliction, and regret. . Translator's note: This poem may be about Bonne d’Armagnac, the second wife of Charles d’Orléans. The current Wikipedia article on Charles says erroneously that Bonne was divorced. Rather, Charles was taken prisoner by the victorious English at the Battle of Agincourt, and as a royal prince, held hostage in England for 25 years. During this time Bonne’s father was leader of the Orléans party in France (which became known as the Armagnac party). Bonne died 15 or 20 years after Charles was captured. The poem may, however, refer to an Englishwoman whom Charles came to love. Her identity is uncertain; she was probably the wife of a nobleman charged with the custody of the royal hostage. This lady too died before the English accepted a ransom to return the much-distraught Charles to France. . French original Las! Mort, qui t’a fait si hardie, De prendre la noble princesse Qui estoit mon confort, ma vie, Mon bien, mon plaisir, ma richesse! Puis que tu as prins ma maistresse, Prens moi aussi, son serviteur, Car j’ayme mieulx prouchainement Mourir que languir en tourment, En paine, soussi et douleur. Las! De tous biens estoit garnie Et en droite fleur de jeunesse! Je pry à Dieu qu’il te maudie, Faulse Mort, plaine de rudesse! Se prise l’eusses en vieillesse, Ce ne fust pas si grant rigueur, Mais prise l’a hastivement, Et m’a laissié piteusement En paine, soussi et douleur. Las! Je suis seul, sans compaignie. Adieu, ma Dame, ma liesse! Or est nostre amour departie; Non pour tant, je vous fais promesse Que de prieres, à largesse, Morte vous serviray de cueur, Sans oublier aucunement, E vous regretteray souvent, En paine, soussi et douleur. Dieu, sur tout souverain Seigneur, Ordonnez, par grace et doulceur, De l’ame d’elle, tellement Qu’elle ne soit pas longuement En paine, soussi et douleur. . . Margaret Coats lives in California. She holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. She has retired from a career of teaching literature, languages, and writing that included considerable work in homeschooling for her own family and others.