|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
224 THE FOLK-SONGS OF POITOU.
of "woven paces and waving hands," with or without the note of a primitive reed to accent the melody, are reproduced in the grosser spirit of the laboring peasant, but equally instinctive with life and gayety, and the natural expression of youthful existence in the open air and under balmy skies.
One of the most characteristic features of the Poitevin peasant is his cunning, his fondness for rustic ruses, and the sharp repartee or trick, which puts to shame the person of a station above his own. The heroines of many of his favorite ballads and songs are endowed with this quality, and he chuckles with a hearty zest at the simple wit with which the shrewd shepherdess puts down the amorous gallant learned in the schools, or escapes the dangerous importunity of a gentleman on the highway or a seignorial hunter in the fields. The folksongs of Poitou are full of such examples, and M. Bugeaud, and M. Leon Pineau, who has followed him in gleaning in the same field (Le Folk-Lore du Poitou), have given a number of specimens. The following shows what simple repartee appeals to the rustic sense of humor: —
What is there, Nanon,
In these valleys green ? There is a fool, kind sir,
When you are therein.