Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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196 FOLK-SONGS OF LOWER BRITTANY.
ries, and the dwarfs, and the spirits of the sea and air still survive, and are dreaded or invoked in the same spirit, if with less fervency than the saints and powers of the Church. Thus M. Paul Sebillot, in his Contes des Marins, gathered in Upper Brit­tany, tells that the sailors shake their fists at and threaten with their knives an unfavorable wind, and there are numerous actual customs as well as traditions among the Breton people which are evi­dent survivals from heathen ages, while the rites of the Church itself have many traces of the adoption of forms of nature worship. This element of the supernatural, like the traditions of actual history, is fading away in Brittany as in all other countries, but enough remains to throw a strong light on the ancient customs, as well as the fundamental charac­ter of the race, and to inform its folk-poetry with this element to a degree which that of few modern nations possesses.
The interest of modern folk-poetry is, however, mainly in quality as poetry, its expression with eloquence and feeling of the emotions of the hu­man heart, and the representation which it gives of the quality of the mind, the temperament, the degree of intelligence, and the habits and customs of the people who produced it. In this view the two latest volumes of the collection of Breton folk­songs by F. M. Luzel, Sonniou Breiz-Izel (Paris.
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