(CHANSONS). ~ Recueil de chansons. [France, c. 1860s].
Manuscript on paper, 4 vols, large 8vo (200 × 135 mm), pp. , 40, ; , 43, ; , 40, ; , 40, , one manuscript sheet inserted with words and music to one song. Calligraphic title pages and headings, neat text in French, contents tables at end of each vol. Contemporary cloth backed marbled boards, manuscript labels to upper covers.
A very neat collection of popular songs, most from the 1850s, of the sort circulated in ephemeral printed and manuscript song sheets. Highlights include: Est-ce le hatchich qui t’a mis comme ça: an uncommon reference to hashish in this context, and a song (in common with several others in the manuscript) for which we can find no printed source. Sung to the tune of ‘Aÿ chiquita’, this is a woman’s complaint to her suitor, with the chorus:
‘Est-ce l’absinthe, ou bien encore,
Le hatchich qui t’as mis, dis-moi,
Dans cet état que j’aborre,
Et tu veux m’aimer! Ah! Tais-toi.’
This is hardly Baudelaire, but a pleasing contemporary parallel to Les Paradis artificiels.
Others include Les Cris de Paris, Les Chemins de fer and Les Anges de la charité ou les inondés de 1856 and there are songs attributable to Pierre Dupont and Charles Durand, both popular in the 1850s and 60s. Some are in dialect and typically, the subjects tend towards love, drink and gastronomy, but there are also a couple alluding to the language of flowers. The compilation is scrupulously neat—and is presumably, in part, an exercise in penmanship.