Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Vannes
The Mirrors
Anonymous
 
        
Translated by Louisa Stuart Costello
  Each Pierrot, on taking leave of his Marie, when the fête is concluded presents her with a bouquet, which is only sold on that occasion. It is composed of artificial flowers of fanciful shapes, whose cup is formed of a pearl, made of looking-glass, and little convex mirrors are disposed between the leaves and flowers. These bouquets are religiously preserved, by the young girls, as they are often a pledge of proposed marriage at All-Saints or Christmas. They are placed at the head of their beds, and are frequently looked at with great interest to see if the little mirrors remain untarnished, as, otherwise, it is a proof of the infidelity of the youth who was the giver of the tell-tale treasure.—A Summer among the Bocages.

LISTEN all and listen long
To the minstrel’s latest song;
’T is of Mary whom ye knew,
Flower that in our hamlet grew.
 
Oft her mother said apart,        5
“Mary, O, how fair thou art!”
 
“Ah! what boots it being fair?
Happier other maidens are!
I am withering on the stem,
For I may not wed, like them.        10
When the apple’s tender cheek
Blushes with its rosy streak,
It is sought and gathered free;
But, if left upon the tree,
Soon ’t will perish and decay,        15
And, like me, will fade away!”
 
“Pretty child, lament no more,
Wait but till a year be o’er.”
 
“If I die before the year
Thou wilt shed the fruitless tear.        20
Build a tomb, if I should die,
On it let three nosegays lie;
One must be of roses’ sheen,
And the rest of laurel green.
When two lovers pass that way        25
  Tender grief their hearts shall move;
Each shall choose a flower, and say,
  ‘’T is her grave who died for love:
For around her shining hair
  Was no marriage garland tied,        30
No bright mirrors, glittering there,
  Bade us hail her as a bride!’
 
“Ah! no bell for me shall sound,
Place me not in hallowed ground:
Dig my grave beside the way,        35
Never priest a prayer shall say:
None the flower-strewn grave shall see
Of a wretch who died like me!”
 
 
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