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Las brencos de rouzè toumbon apatoucâdos that with slight modifications it is to this day Sur de gros pès de senissou,
spoken in thirty-seven departments, and still is the Et sas aléyos tan bantâdos
mother tongue, as far as regards the peasantry, Soun claoufidos de mourillou.
throughout a population of fourteen millions ; lastOh! quaoucoumet se passo ? Oun és la fillo alerto ? ly, and what as regards our present subject is Soun oustal lambrejo à-trabès
more important, that it is a copious, rich, and Lous brens feilluts d'abelanès;
melodious tongue, and one which, if inferior to the A prouchen ; la porto és ouberto,
French in grammatical structure and scientific Fasquen pas brut car entendron Ah! bezi sul faoutul sa menino
polish, far surpasses it in its capabilities as a lanBezi tabé darrè la finestreto,
guage for a poet. La fillo d'Estanquet; mais se plan! qu'es acò? It is true that Jasmin has done much for his De plous toumbon sur sa maneto,
favorite dialect. He has refined, polished and Es-que fay negre dins soun co?
established it; he has purged out of it the exWe subjoin the literal translation into French pressions and terms which it had borrowed from which accompanies the original in the edition be- the French, replacing them by genuine Gascon fore us; by its aid any one acquainted with that substitutes, or at least moulding them to the genius language will readily follow the Gascon.
of his idiom ; he has restored its former freshness
and elegance; he has fixed by his writing the unAu tour du hameau d'Estanquet, sur les bords de ce ruisseau si frais, dont l'eau' limpide, toute certainty of a speech long committed only to oral l'année à l'ombre, sur le caillou, caquette, une jolie tradition; he has thrown lustre on it by his genius, fille, en cueillant des fleurs, l'été dernier, sur la and he has given it authority by his success. pelouse, au bruit de son humeur joyeuse, de sa voix, Agen is thus enabled to reclaim her ancient title et de ses chansons, rendait les oiselets jaloux. of the “eye of Guienne," and thanks to her
Pourquoi ne chante-t-elle plus ? Haies et prairies faithful son, the Agenais is now the Attic of the verdoient, les rossignols qui chansonnent viennent southern dialects. Jasmin, of course, regards it l'agacer jusque dans son jardin ; est-ce qu'elle an- with the strongest affection ; and in none of his rait quitté sa maison ? Non ; son chapeau de paille fine est la-bas sur son banc ; mais il n'est smaller pieces does he exhibit more power and plus orné d'un ruban ; son petit jardin non plus vigor than in the eloquent ode in which he den'a plus si bonne mine ; son rateau, son arrosoir, fends it against his friend M. Dumon, and other sont à travers les jonquilles renversées ; les “Francimans who have condemned it to death." branches de rosiers tombent pêle-mêle sur de gros A vain effort; for, according to the poet, his pieds de seneçon, et ses allées si vantées sont mother-tongue has a vitality which will triumph toutes pleines de mouron. Oh ! quelque chose se passe ?
On est la fille over all attacks, and through all time. But it is alerte? “Sa maison scintille à travers les branches time to leave the garb, and turn to the body of touffues des noisetiers; approchons; la porte est Jasmin's poetry. The “ Abuglo de Castèl-Cuille" ouverte, ne faisons pas de bruit, on entendrait. of his longer pieces first claims our attention ; for Ah! je vois sur la fauteuil sa grand’-mère qui the Chalibari, his earliest poem of any length, dort ; je vois aussi, derrière la fenëtre, la fille though containing fine passages, has been far surd'Estanquet ; mais elle se plaint! qu'est-ce ? Des pleurs tombent sur sa petite main, est-ce qu'il fait passed by his subsequent efforts, and is, after all, noir dans son caur ?
only a burlesque composition, or rather, as Nodier
says, the converse of one. The Abuglo-the It will at once be observed how frequently, in blind girl-is a simple story, founded on a local the above extract, feminine or double rhymes oc- tradition; it might be told in two words ; let us cur; this is distinctive of all Jasmin's poetry, see what it becomes in Jasmin's hands. and arises from the genius of the language in which
At the foot of that height on which is perched he writes. For we call it a language, and not a
Castèl-Cuillè, at the season when the apple, the patvis. This representative of the langue d'oc is plum, and the almond were growing white through no dialect of the langue d'oui. It is a sister of ihe country, this song was heard one eve of St. the now dominant speech, and no bastard child—Joseph's day. it is the elder sister to boot. No doubt the Parisian badaud regards as a patois, a tongue in which
This fragment, preserved by Jasmin, is, by the way,
of the troubadours thought and sung, and the posses
ancient date :
very sion of which Tasso is said to have envied the Pro- All the paths should flower and bloom, vençals ; no doubt municipal authorities and rectors Soon a lovely bride will come. of schools proscribe it—no doubt it is now confined
All the paths should bloom and flower, to the people, and shocks politer ears, even in its
Morning brings her nuptial hour. native province-no doubt it is unintelligible to And this old Te Deum of our humble marriages foreigners, while French is spoken from Lisbon to seemed to reëcho from the clouds, as suddenly a Moscow. But there is no doubt, either, that this numerous swarm of maidens, fresh and tidy, each. so-called patois is an ancient and independent accompanied by her swain, advanced to the edge of idiom ; that it springs from the language which the rock, chanting the same words and air, looking was once common to all the south of France ; They take their start, and speedily descending by
there, so near the sky, like so many angels at play. that it was the medium through which that dis- the narrow ways of the steep hill-side, they come trict contributed so largely to the revival of letters ; ! on in a long chain towards Saint-Amant. And the
gleesome things, by the small footways, go like their spirits, " and the gleesome things, by the inadcaps, still singing,
small footways go like madcaps, singing louder All the paths should flower and bloom, Soon a lovely bride will come. All the ways should bloom and flower,
Let the paths be flower and bloom, Morning brings her nuptial hour.
Soon a lovely bride will come.
Let the paths be bloom and flower, All this was because Baptiste and his betrothed Morning brings her nuptial hour.” were about to collect the jonchée.
So ends the first canto. At the opening of the That is to say, that according to the custom of second we find Marguerite, emaciated by her the country, they were about to gather, in the sufferings, but still fair as an angel, sitting alone woods, branches, and particularly laurel branches, in her cottage, and soliloquizing on her forlorn to strew on the road to the church, and at the
condition. doors of those invited to their approaching mar- extent of her misfortune, but, though hoping, she
As yet she is ignorant of the full riage.
has doubts. This passage is of exquisite beatity ; The sky was all blue, not a cloud was to be nothing can be more true and more touching than seen, a fine March sun was beaming, and through its pathos, and we shall be pardoned if we give it the air a light breeze scattered his breaths of per- almost entire. fume. The party of course are gay as gay can
He has returned, and he does not come to see
me! And he knows that of my night he is the star, Gambolling and singing, they sport about, like
the sun! And he knows that for six months, alone, happy lads and lasses as they are. The arch bride here, I hope for him! Oh, that he would come to runs off, crying, " The girls who catch me will be keep what he has promised me! For without him, married this year ;" all pursue her, all soon come in this world whai can I do, what pleasure have I? up with her, and then all press round her “ to Sorrow crushes my life, and makes it horrible ! touch her fine new apron or her pretty cotton Day for the rest, day for others always ; and for petticoat.” But how does it happen that amidst me, unhappy girl, ever night, ever night! How
dark it is far from him! Oh! how sad is my soul ! all their mirth, and laughter, and fun, Baptiste the When will Baptiste come? When he is beside me bridegroom is silent and sad?
• What a couple I think no more the day. What has the day? are he and Angela ! To see them so indifferent A blue sky: but the blue eyes of Baptiste are a to each other, one would think them great folks" heaven of love that brightens for me, a heaven full
— people in high life—a sore sarcasm, Jasmin ; of happiness, like the one up there above--no more “what is the matter with Baptiste to-day-what sorrow, no more weariness. I forget earth, sky,
all, all that I have lost, when he presses my hand is weighing on his mind ?'' Why is he so
and is beside me. But when I am alone I rememdepressed?
ber all. What is Baptiste doing? He no more It is because in that neat cottage, half way up hears me calling him. A shoot of creeping įvy, I the hill, dwells the blind girl, the orphan of a veteran, have need of a branch to support me, or I die. the young and tender Marguerite, the fairest maiden Ah, in mercy that he would come, to lighten my of the hamlet, and because Baptiste had formerly burden! They say we love better when we are in been her lover. The altar had even been prepared sorrow what, then, when one is blind ! for them, but one day Marguerite was stricken with Who knows, perhaps he has abandoned me. measles, or some similar scourge, and lost her sight. Unhappy girl that I am, what do I say! It were All changes at the voice of an obstinate father; time, indeed, to bury me! What a dark thought ! their love but not their happiness continued ; perse- It terrifies me-let me banish it. Baptiste will cuted at home Baptiste left the place, and now, only come back to me, oh, he will come back. I have three days after his return, seduced by a little gold, nothing to fear. He could not come so soon. He he is about to marry Angela, thinking ever of is weary, he is ill, perhaps ; perhaps his affection is Marguerite.
preparing some surprise for me. But I hear some We have already a glimpse of the course the ceive me—it is he—it is Baptiste!
one-oh, no more sorrow—my heart does not detragedy will take. Suddenly, under the mulberrytrees, the bridal party espy old ne Jeanne the The door opens, but Paul, her liule brother, fortune-teller, whom every one likes“ because she enters alone. He has seen the bridal party; he always promises good luck-a lover to one, a good tells about it ; he asks, wondering, why they alone marriage to another, a fine infant to a third." | had not been invited. Angela about to be marThis time, however, the sibyl assumes a severe ried !” exclaims his sister, " what a secret they air, turns her look sternly on Angela, and taking have kept it! nobody has told me a word about her hand makes the sign of the cross on it with a the matter; and who is the bridegroom?" "
Why, reed, as she pronounces the inauspicious words, sister, your friend Baptiste," replies the uncon“ Heaven grant, giddy girl, that in espousing to- scious child. morrow the faithless Baptiste, you do not dig a The blind girl utters a sharp cry, and falls ingrave.” As she speaks two large tears roll from sensible. It is by the bridal
“ Let the paths her old eyes, and the evil augury checks, for a be flower and bloom,” that she is at length roused. moment at least, the merriment of all who hear Her little brother recommences his pratile, and it; “ but what matter two drops of troubled water she learns from him the hour fixed for the marriage falling on a silvery stream ?" All speedily regain I next day. “Good,” says the poor stricken maiden, as a terrible resolution takes possession of presently she and her companion have disappeared her. “Be consoled, Paul; we shall be there.” in the old church.
Jeanne, the good-hearted fortune-teller, enters, The ceremony is begun. The priest is at the and thinking the blind girl still ignorant of Bap- altar; the ring is blessed ; Baptiste holds it in his tiste's faithlessness, tries to weaken her love for hand. But before he places it on the small finger him preparatory to the discovery which must waiting to receive it, he has a word, one word, sooner or later come. Marguerite ac:s her part to pronounce. It is spoken ; at the instant a voice 80 well that the old woman is deceived. “ She exclaims, “ It is, indeed, he!” and suddenly, to knows nothing of it," she says, as she leaves the the confusion of all, the confessional opens, and cottage, “ I will save her;" and in this state of the blind girl comes forth. Hoping, perhaps, to dramatic uncertainty the canto ends.
the last, or refusing to believe anything but her The
own senses, she had waited to the end-uill she gray dawn slowly arriving, finds two young should hear, since she could not sze, the persidy of girls waiting for it very differently occupied. The
“ Holj! Bapone, the queen of a day, surrounds herself with her lover ; but now, all was over. flatterers, puts on her cross and her nuptial crown, tiste,” she cries, “since you have willed my decks her bosom with a large bouquet, and ambles death, let my blood serve you instead of holy and struts and admires herself with pleasure. The water at your bridal ;' and, as she speaks, she other, blind, is in her little room, with neither draws from her bosom the knife she had concealed crown nor bouquet, but she feels her way to a there. drawer where she knows something lies, and taking
But doubtless her guardian angel was watching it, she hides it in her boddice, sickening in her heart. The one, light and vain, forgets, amid the over her, for so great was her sorrow, that at the sound of kisses and songs, to repeat her morning moment she was about to strike herself, she fell prayer. The other, her forehead bathed in a cold dead. And that evening, in place of song3, the sweat, joins her hands, kneels down, and says in a De profundis was chanted ; a bier, with flowers low voice, as her brother unbars their door, “ Oh, on it, was carried to the cemetery, young girls my God, pardon me for it!”
clothed in white and shedding tears accompanied Marguerite and Paul, the child leading his sis- it; nowhere was there any mirth'; on the contrary, ter by the hand, take their way to the church. every one now seemed to say, This day the sky is overcast, and there is a driz- On the paths be tears and sighs, zling rain ; as they go on, the wind bears down Low a lovely maiden lies. the perfume of the laurel strewed on the path, and
On the paths be sighs and gloom, the blind girl shudders as it reaches her. “ Paul,
Beauty passes to the tomb. pray be done with your rattle,” says Marguerite ; Such is the Abuglo. If the guardian angel “ where are we ?—we are surely going up who saves Marguerite from the guilt of suicide is hill.” “ And do you not see we are quite close something of a Deus ex machinâ, the knot, in the now ?" replies the boy. With what a bold and way the story is told, is certainly worthy of his successful touch do these few words portray the intervention. Jasmin might, indeed, have otherthoughtless impatience of the child, who asks his wise arranged his catastrophe; there is no necesblind sister if she does not see how near they are ; | sity for imputing to Marguerite the intention of and the excited sensibility of the poor girl, who suicide ; and we believe most manufacturers of can no longer endure the irksomeness of the noisy tales would have eschewed such a plot. We boy. What skill, or if it be not skill, what poet- leave it to be judged whether they would have ical instinct is displayed in the contrast the char- been in the right, or whether Jasmin is. acters in this situation yield ! Paul sees an mind, the whole conception of the poem, as well osprey. “Oh, the naughty bird !” he cries, “ he as the treatment of the subject, down to the mibrings bad luck, does he not? Do you not re-nutest detail, are perfect: plan, grouping, colormember, sister, when our brother said, the night we ing, light and shade, harmony, finish, effectwere watching by him, ' Ah, my little girl, I am nothing is wanting to complete this liule mastervery ill; take care of Paul, for I feel I am going.' piece. It falls on the heart like a song of willows You wept, and he wept, and I too; we were all by the Lady Ophelia ; and it leaves an impression weeping. Well, there was an osprey screaming like the music of Carrol, “sweet but mournful to on the roof at the time. And our father died, the soul, as the memory of joys that are past." and we carried him here. There is his grave; Some of its beauties will be perceived through the cross at his head is still there-tarnished, the medium of our translations ; to point them out though."
would be superfluous, those who cannot see them The words of the boy act strongly on poor will not. That such there be, we have no doubt ; Marguerite, she is shaken in her resolution. A there are always critics to sneer at writers like voice seems to call her from the tomb, “My the barber of Agen, whose muse, as he himself daughter, what are you about to do?” She recoils says, is but a peasant girl, and whose poetry is -but Paul, who is eager to see the ceremony, only the poetry of nature. But it is not for such draws her on ; and when the unhappy girl hears that we write. the laurel branches cracking under her feet, she is We pass to “ Françonette, ," the longest and no longer mistress of herself'; nothing now can most elaborate of all Jasmin's works. It is quite stop her, she advances eagerly, :s if to a fête, and of another character from the " Abuglo;" it is
more ambitious, more dramatic, and more vigor- whose praise is in every mouth, seems to regard the graceful simplicity of the other is her coldly-he even avoids her. She naturally replaced by a more artistic style of execution. has a spite at him for this, thinks she hates him, The composition and perfecting of these twelve" and in her terrible vengeance only awaits an hundred lines occupied two years; yet Jasmin is opportunity to dart him a bewitching glance that a ready writer. Perhaps there is too much polish shall enchain him forever :in the work; at all events, we like it less than the carlier one. We believe, however, that the general opinion tends the other way.
What then? We see that every day
She was beginning the coquette to play;
Her old grandmother, as in duty bound, gave her sage counsels: "You know you are promised to the soldier-Marcel loves you, and counts on your marrying him-go, girl, restrain your flighty disposition;" but the excellent dame's words had little effect, and Françonette continued to be the cause of much jealousy, heart-burning, and unhappiness.
Nevertheless, merry-making and love-making were not altogether unknown; and one Sunday, in the month of August, there was as fine a fête as ever was seen. The rustic holiday is described with picturesque and appropriate homeliness; we have before us various local amusements-the However, the swains in that quarter made none cosmopolitan Punch, a man beating a cymbal, of those odes, so learned and so tender, which lemonade, the dance on the green to the music of others, elsewhere, go and carve upon a poplar or fifes, everywhere a crowd. Amongst the dancers a willow, and then die. Oh, no! they could not is Françonette, "the queen of the fields, she write; and what is more, those innocent fellows, whom all the country round-for, as well as the whose heads were turned by their love, much town, the country has its pearl of love-had sur- preferred suffering and-living. But how many named the fairest of the fair."" The fairest tools were handled the wrong way! how many of the fair" but do not suppose, Moussus, that vines were ill-dressed! how many branches badly she was sad, sighing, pale as a lily, with die-pruned! how many furrows unevenly ploughed! away eyes, half closed and blue, and a feeble At the fête, Françonette was of course in full frame bending with languor, like the willow that glory, and had no lack of suitors for her hand in weeps on the bank of a limpid stream"-Jas- the dance, especially as it was the custom then, min has no mercy either on those who think and may be yet, for all we know, that he who can health vulgar and disease attractive, or on the succeed in tiring out his partner has the right to sickly school whose writings are nothing but claim a kiss from her. Françonette, however, "words, words, words"-you would be much is not easily tired; on the contrary, she outlasts mistaken if you did; "Françonette has a pair of all who come, and half a dozen youths have retired eyes bright as two bright stars; one would think out of breath without having gained the prize. roses by handfuls might be culled from her plump Marcel, her lover, at last comes forward; he is a cheeks; her hair- But it is easier to soldier and a favorite of Montluc's; in person satirize the descriptions of others than to achieve powerful and handsome, but awkward; in characa happy one ourselves, and we therefore omit the ter, a braggart, quarrelsome, and unscrupulous. rest of the portrait; for, with all our partiality He advances with a confident smile, but he has for Jasmin, we do not think it a successful one. displeased Françonette by boasting that he is beThe truth is, that no conception of female loveli-loved by her, and she is resolved to punish his ness is ever to be realized from an analysis of features, and a catalogue of charms; it is by simply relating the effect produced by it on others that attempts of this kind are most successful; and Homer taught us this long ago, when he represented to us the perfection of Helen by tell ing the impression her appearance made on even the old men of Troy.
insolence. It is, therefore, in vain that he exerts
To return to Françonette. "Her beauty made many a maiden angry, made many a man sigh, for these latter all contemplated her and adored her as the priest adores the cross." This is better than saying that "her lips were like cherries, and finish" his fallen adversary; but the young man, her teeth whiter than snow." The young girl though bleeding from a wound in the wrist, received rejoiced at it, and her brow was radiant at the no one knew exactly how, acts generously, and at homage paid her. But one thing is wanting to that moment the appearance of Montluc prevents her; Pascal, the handsomest youth in the country, any outrage on the part of the rest. Pascal is
conducted away in triumph, and Marcel rises with | by the cries of " There goes the girl who is sold murmured threats of vengeance.
to the demon !" The second canto opens with a scene between We have already quoted, with the French transPascal and his mother, who, though with some lation, some of the opening lines of the third difficulty, dissuades him from going to a merry-canto, in which are finely described the desolation making at which he had hoped to meet Françonelte. of poor Françonette, and the biller change she We next have a lively picture of this merry- experiences from the former idolatry, and the making. Françonette is there, triumpliant and present abandonment of all around her. The enchanting as usual. A certain Thomas sings a poem goes on to tell how, nevertheless, thero very pretty song, entitled “ To the Siren with the remains to her one ray of consolation : Pascal, she heart of ice;' and it turns out that the author of learns, defends her against all the malicious reports it is the absent Pascal—a discovery of course of which she is the victim. Marcel, lov, secretly highly pleasing to Françonette, who was evidently informs her grandmother that his love for Franthe siren alluded 10. She has conquered the in- çonette has not abated, and that he will make her different Pascal, and it is rather a satisfaction than his wife whenever she will; but she shows no otherwise that he complains of her being cold. inclination to take him at his word. A hope rises
A game of forseits follows. In the course of in her breast. At the suggestion of her old relait, Laurent, a rich wooer of Françonette's, gains tive, she resolves to attend church on Easter Sunthe right to a kiss from her—there is always much day, and to bring home as a charm some of the kissing in your French forfeits—and, on her run- consecrated bread. She trusis “that so IIeaven ning off to avoid him, pursues her with more will restore her the happiness she has lost, and eagerness than success ; for just as he catches the prove on her countenance that she is ever amongst fugitive, he slips, falls, and breaks his arm. This, its children." of course, threw a gloom over the party, but there
The festival arrives, and she appears in the was worse to come ; and if, in these days, we sacred edifice, to the great astonishment of all. should not be much alarmed at the apparition or But her late friends inflict a terrible affront on her the words of “ an old man with a beard reaching by withdrawing from the place where she kneels, to his girdle, who enters like a phantom at the and leaving her alone in the midst of the largo bottom of the hall,” we must remember in what circle they so form ; while the uncle of Marcel age and in what locality it was that “ the sorcerer completes the outrage by passing before her with of the black wood” paid his unwelcome visit. out giving her a share of the consecrated bread,
which it was his office to offer to all the faithful. Ye imprudent,” said the wizard to the affrighted It was a terrible trial for her ; but Pascal, who assembly, “ I have come down from my rock to open had seen all, interrupts for an instant the collection your eyes, for your fate affects me. Ye love Françonette, ye say. But learn, unhappy people, that of the alms-offering which he had been making, her wretched father, whilst she was yet in the cradle, and presents her with the “crown” itself," adorned passed over to the Huguenots, and sold her to the with a fine bouquet." devil; and now the demon watches over his purchase, and follows her everywhere, though invisibly.
What a sweet moment for Françonette? But Ye saw how he punished Pascal, ye see
ow he why is her forehead covered with red! It is behas punished Laurent, at the moment they were
cause the angel of love has at last kindled a spark about to salute her: ye are warned. Woe to him
of his flame in her bosom. It is because something who shall wed her! For on the bridal night the strange and new grows in her palpitating heartevil one will take possession of her--nay, he will something quick as fire, soft as honey. It is beappear in person and strangle her husband.”
cause she now lives with another life. She carries
the consecrated bread—the piece of honor--to her Having so said, the bearded man withdrew as grandmother, and then shuts herself up in her lithe came, leaving universal consternation behind tle chamber, alone with her love. First drop of him. Françonette, however, does not immediately winter! ye are not so sweet to the breast of the
dew in time of drought! first ray of the sun in succumb to the blow dealt her. She hopes for a earth, in sadness, as that first flame was to the spirit moment that her companions will treat the matter of the softened girl! She allows herself to be as a joke ; she smiles to them, poor thing, in a carried away by the happiness of loving; she does confident way, and takes two steps forward amongst what we all do-she indulges in a delicious daythem. But all recoil at her approach ; cries of dream, and, without stone or hammer, builds her“ Keep back!” are addressed to her from every self a little castle, where, round Pascal, all is side : the impression made is but too apparent; bright, all is radiant and streaming with joy. she can bear up no longer against her situation,
moment after, the recollection of the and falls senseless on the floor.
sorcerer's prediction demolishes all her airy work. The next day the affair was known everywhere, " She had dreamed of love; she, unhappy girl, and every one of course offered confirmation of the to whom love was forbidden ! she, whose bridesorcerer's words, some going so far as to recollect, groom must, in their nuptial chamber, find his that always when the rest of the country was tomb !” With a bursting heart she kneels before smitten with frost or hail, Françonette's fields an image she had ; ag she prays, a new hope prewere spared. All believe the terrible story, and sents itself, if she could offer a taper to the Virsoon she cannot venture forth without being assailed gin on Lady-day, and if her offering should be