Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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by tears, and recalls the constant repetition of familiar images and descriptions. So in the Breton folk-songs the lover constantly declares that he has worn out three pairs of sabots in coming to see her without being able to find out her thought, and that he has watched in the wind and rain through the night with no consolation but the sound of her soft breathing through the key-hole of the door; to which the cruel or coquettish damsel replies that she has no objection to tell him her thought, which is that he should buy a new pair of shoes, or that he should take himself home as soon as possible. The piece entitled In the White Cabin at the Foot of the Mountain is a characteristic specimen of these songs, whose effect of simplicity can only be retained by an absolutely literal translation: —
In the white cabin at the foot of the mountain Is my sweet, my love.
Is my love, is my desire, And all my happiness.
Before the night I must see her Or my little heart will break.
My little heart will not break For my lovely dear I have seen.
Fifty night I have been
At the threshold of her door ; she did not know it.
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