Friday, 6 September 2013

Mots d'Heures: Gousse, Rames

One of the delights of our holiday, which I forgot to mention in my previous post, was that the cottage in which we were staying had a copy of Mots d'Heures: Gousse, Rames.

For anyone who has not come across it, this is an extraordinary collection of early French Poetry (or so it seems).

For example, the first poem in the collection is:

Un petit d'un petit
S'étonne aux Halles
Un petit d'un petit
Ah! degrés te fallent
Indolent qui ne sort cesse
Indolent qui ne se mène
Qu'importe un petit d'un petit
Tout Gai de Reguennes

If your French is a little rusty, or if you find the archaic and poetic language a little obscure, there are helpful footnotes: eg 'Un petit d'un petit - The inevitable result of a child marriage.' The other footnotes may be read here.

To enjoy these poems as they should be enjoyed, you really need to get somebody else to read them to you - ideally a French person (who will be completely mystified).

You will fall about laughing.

Failing that, try reading it to somebody else, and watch him or her fall about laughing (assuming you have a tolerable ability to read French).

For, on hearing the above poem, one hears something entirely familiar, in a beautiful French accent: and the net result is hilarity.   The rest are just as good.


I have found that four of the poems are online, and can be accessed from here.

Further Update:

Thanks to the irrepressible Bruvver Eccles, who found some more online here.


Ttony said...

I have the German version as well - both are in work at the moment as I was at a Conference during which I had a Frenchman and a German reading them out.

Ze Breeteesh sense of humeur.

Eccles said...

There was a very religious one that I remember. It's about the evils of allowing women to say Mass.

Lit-elle Messe, ma fête,
Satan ne te fête.

Patricius said...


Idle Rambler said...

Oh, these are fantastic Ben. Thank you for introducing us to them. How did I not know about them before?!

I have been chuckling all day and repeating to myself 'Un petit d'un petit'!

I look forward to seeing and hearing the German versions too Ttony :-)

Ben Trovato said...

I'd not heard of German versions either, so am awaiting Ttony's revelations with scarcely concealed excitement...

Londiniensis said...

Thanks for reminding me of these. Truly gems!