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198 FOLK-SONGS OF LOWER BRITTANY.
with untaught eloquence and strength, the occasional vulgarity by the side of an equally great delicacy, the simple and powerful melody, and all the characteristics of popular poetry, which are as unmistakable as the perfumes of the flowers of the field. Their collection has been the work of forty-five years, in which M. Luzel has indefatigably traversed the provinces of Lower Brittany, visiting the solitary huts of the sabot makers and hemp-weavers, colloquing with wandering beggars, listening to the songs and stories at the kitchen firesides of lonely farms in winter, gathering the singers at the Fair around him in the tap-rooms, taking down the songs of nursing mothers, the sailors on shipboard and the soldiers in the barracks, the shepherds on the plains and the laborers in the fields, and, in short, gathering every form of verse which is the expression of the popular thoughts and emotions. They are naturally of less purely literary merit than the ballads of the Barzaz Breiz, which are carefully arranged, trimmed, and decorated for poetical effect. It is always a sign for suspicion when folk-poetry is too good. The picturesque garments of the Breton peasantry must show the signs of actual wear and even the stains of grease and dirt, if they are to have the genuine effect, and when they are of too fine material, too carefully arranged, and shining and spotless, the impression is that they