The Fifth Feed of the Furrier

François Villon
1431 – 1463?


A furrier once, as one reports,
Espoused a lady young and fair
Who craved that best of indoor sports
And made him run the gamut there,
Who, though he blamed her not, could bear
Only a little, so ‘twas said,
And loved a jug of wine to share
Better than any woman’s bed.

A curate, seeing how things stood,
Of the said wife grew amorous,
And thought that to his house he would
Invite this beggar of Bacchus.
Wherefore he sought him, all joyous,
Because he’d found the way to tup her,
Saying: “Neighbor, I am desirous
Of having you this night to supper.”

The furrier liked this well enough,
Who always liked a fine free feast,
And took his belly there to stuff
And make good cheer with this said priest,
Who, using compliments for yeast,
Said: “Since the lining’s worn away,
I wish you’d mend my robe—at least
Tell me what I shall have to pay.”

“Ah well,” replied the furrier,
“I’ll do so since you wish it done;
Provided that you pay me, sir,
I’m yours: I never work for fun.”
With bargain made the work’s begun,
It being agreed, as you may think,
That, more than ten sous, such a one
Would ask sufficient wine to drink.

In order there be no delay,
Because he needed it to wear,
It was arranged he’d start straightaway,
The priest’s clerk for his fellow there.
He was content of this affair,
And master curate locked them up
(To drink and labour, not for prayer),
Then left the house and went to tup.

The curate to the furrier’s house
Came thus by way of sterling debts,
And found so fine a chance to chouse
He sang right well in love’s duets.
In all shirts do with chemisettes
He bore his part well, so it seems,
And parting then without regrets,
Went out and home to pleasant dreams.

And thus the furrier, for his feed,
Was made a cuckold, as was meant;
And his good wife, who’d found her need,
Begged curate be not indolent,
And charged him, by the Sacrament,
That he remember her and do
As much again, expedient,
Whenever he’d a fancy to.

Nevertheless, a man should guard,
Who’s got a wife that’s young and fair,
Lest he acquire some plumage hard
For a free feed: they’re ill to wear:
The scandal’s gossiped everywhere
And shames a man through all his days.
Remember and avoid the snare,
For feeds are found in divers ways.

One thought on “The Fifth Feed of the Furrier

  1. I don’t remember this being recited in The Vagabond King. Unpardonable oversight, that.

    Google tells me that “tup” literally means a ram, but as used here is “vulgar slang.” It’s a bit embarrassing at age 45 to find that there are English words that I didn’t even know were naughty.


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