Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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FOLK-SONGS OF LOWER BRITTANY. 191
about them at Fairs and Pardons, or lightened the gloom of the winter evenings in the farm kitchens with song and legend. The character of the bal­lads in Villemarque's collection was singularly well adapted to produce this belief. They were simple in construction, impregnated with the character­istics of the people, their faith, their loyalty, their purity and gravity of thought, their subjec­tion to the influence of the supernatural, and their devoted patriotism, and, aside from their genuine strength and elevation as poetry, were a faithful reflection of the thoughts and habits of their peo­ple/ and of the authentic facts of their history. There were no signs of such incongruous piecing of the thoughts of a later civilization and the style of a later literature upon an ancient substance, as were visible in Bishop Percy's emendations and completions of the English and Scottish ballads, but they were complete and homogeneous in the very spirit and language of ancient poetry. As a consequence, they were not only accepted as gen­uine and authentic, but there was an immense interest created in the study and revival of the Breton language and literature, and an appreciation of the characteristics and influence of the Celtic race in France, which has continued and deepened to the present time. An academy was founded, with M. de Villemarque for its president, and as-
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III