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FOLK-SONGS OF LOWER BRITTANY. 203
I am not subject to sickness, no, by the mercy of Jesus.
— The spider does well to spin his web,
To spin and to spread it and to dry it on the meadow.
A breath of wind will come and bear it away.
The hearts of young men are like it.
The most numerous producers of love songs in the Breton folk-poetry are the cloer, or young theological students, to whose title the English word clerk, as it was understood in the time of Chaucer, is the nearest equivalent. These young men, mostly the sons of peasants or persons in humble circumstances, are destined for the priesthood, for which they have manifested a vocation by their special intellectual brightness or devotional temperament. They are naturally the pride and hope of their families, to whom the office of priest is a position of worldly advancement and religious reverence, and the ballads tell touching tales of sacrifices by poor parents to enable their son to pursue his studies. They are sent to the seminaries attached to the abbeys in the various cathedral towns, from which they return in the vacation to mingle with the life of the people. Although destined for the priesthood, the instinct of youthful passion breaks out, as they meet the young maidens of the neighborhood in the fields or at the village fetes and gatherings, and there are struggles of love and longing, which sometimes end peacefully in the