Le Testament du Garçon Empoisonné un Lord Randal Français en Acadie

How to Cite

Paquin, R. (1979). Le Testament du Garçon Empoisonné un Lord Randal Français en Acadie. MUSICultures, 7. Retrieved from https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/MC/article/view/21840


Versions of a French ballad collected on the east coast of Canada (Acadie) are compared to Child No. 12, Lord Randal. The French ballad, Le testament du garçon empoisonné, is shown to be a popular translation resulting from the folk cultural exchanges that occurred in Canada, either in lumbercamps or among mixed (i.e. French-English) families. This French ballad has no ancestor in France, but a French Lord Randal does exist among the displaced “ Cajuns” of Louisiana. While it is impossible to identify a unique source for the French Testament, the Louisiana version seems to be the work of a literate craftsman whose source can be clearly traced to Child D version, first published in Scotts Minstrelsy. The tight language barrier which usually stands between the French and the English folk cultures seems to have been crossed in this, and in other similar cases, thanks to the intrinsic characteristics of this beautiful: Anglo-Scottish ballad. The characteristic mode o f narration of Lord Randal, its economy of details and dramatic effectiveness, seem to have impressed a French audience, who then proceeded to adapt and then adopt this English ballad into its own French repertoire. It may be inferred that a similar process of translation, adaptation, and adoption may have occurred centuries ago, in old Europe, for many of the well known ballads that have equivalents in several European languages.
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