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night. Such had been her suffering, anxiety,
and terror, that in those few hours her hair
had turned as white as snow.


I have lately met with a French book which
has interested me much; and, as it is now out
of print, and was never very extensively
known, I imagine some account of it may not
be displeasing to the readers of Household

It is called Chants Populaires de la Gr├Ęce
Moderne, par C. Fauriel.  M. Fauriel is a
Greek, in spite of his French name, and the
language in which he writes. The plan on
which he has collected these Chants
Populaires resembles that of Sir Walter Scott, in
his Border Minstrelsy. In both cases there
is a preliminary discourse explaining the
manners and peculiar character of the people
among whom these ballads circulate, and the
history of whose ancestors and popular heroes
they commemorate. This discourse and the
explanatory notes give the principal interest
to the book, as they tell of the habits and
customs and traditions of a people whom we
are apt to moan over, as having fallen low
from the high estate of the civilisation of their
ancestors. But, as there are four millions of
men who claim a direct descent from the
most polished people the world has ever
known, it becomes worth one's while to learn
something of their present state.

M. Fauriel divides the poetry of modern
Greece into two kinds; works of literature,
written down as composed, and corrected and
revised in strict accordance with the rules of
art; and the real balladspoems springing
out of the heart of the nation whenever it is
deeply stirred, and circulating from man to
man with the rapidity of flame: never written
down, but never forgotten. Some of these
songs relate to domestic, but the majority to
popular events.

Let us take the household songs. There
are two feasts which are celebrated in every
house. The first is on New Year's Day, the
feast of St. Basil in the Greek Church. The
account which M. Fauriel gives reminds me
much of a Scottish New Year's Day. The
young men pass from one house to another
until all their friends have been visited;
bringing with them presents, and going, in
glad procession, to salute all their acquaintances.
But instead of our "I wish you a
happy new year and many of them," the
young Greeks, on entering each house, sing
some verses in honour of the master or
head of the family; others in honour of the
mistress; the sons of the house have each
their song, nor are the daughters forgotten.
Those who are absent or dead receive this
compliment last of all. The key changes;
the remembrance of the lost is sung mournfully
and sadly; but none of the family are
left out on the feast of St. Basil. As they go
along the streets they sing in honour of the
saint. I was once, in England, most kindly
received by a Greek family, who allowed me to
witness their Easter-day ceremonies; which,
in the expression of good wishes and the glad
visits of congratulation paid by all the gentlemen
to their friends, must have resembled a
feast of St. Basil without the songs. The
family consisted of a Greek mother, a most
lovely daughter, and a son, who left his own
home on this day to visit his friends.

In one corner of the small English drawing-
room there was spread a table covered with
mellow-looking sweetmeats, all as if the glow
of sunset rested on their amber and crimson
colours; and there were decanters containing
mysterious liquids to match. In came one
Greek gentleman after another with some
short sentence, which burst forth as if it
contained the perfection of joy. It was the
Greek for "Christ is risen." Then all shook
hands; the visitors tasted of the jewel-like
sweetmeats, and rushed off to go somewhere
else, and to have their places taken by other
troops of friends. But we had no songs; nor
do I know if, in our cold northern climate,
the Greeks keep up the feast of the coming
Spring. In Greece this is held on the first of
March; the first of May would often be early
greeting to the spring in England. At this
pretty holiday, the children in their spring of
human life join the young men, and go singing
about the streets, and asking for small
presents in honour of the soft and budding
time; and every one gives them an egg, or
some cheese, or some other simple produce of
the country. The song they sing is one
which, for its grace and the breath of spring
and flowers which perfumes it, is known in
many countries, as well as in Greece, under
the name of the Song of the Swallow. The
children carry about with them the figure of
a swallow rudely cut in wood, and fastened
to a kind of little windmill, which is turned
by a piece of string fastened to a cylinder.

The modern Greeks are an essentially
commercial people. I have heard a saying which
shows the popular opinion of their bargaining
talents: "It takes two Englishmen to cheat
a Scotchman; two Scotchmen to cheat a Jew;
two Jews to cheat a Greek." This turn for
commerce, added to the poverty of their own
country, and the uncertain tenure of property
there, causes numbers of Greeks to become
merchants in other countries; but they suffer
acutely on first leaving their homes; the
nearer to the mountains the more they
mourn; and their sadness as well as their
joy is expressed by song.

When anyone is leaving his home to go
into a strange land, his friends and companions
meet together at his house to share
with him one final meal; and, after that, they
accompany him on a part of his way. as
Orpah and Ruth accompanied Naomi; as
Raphael's companions, for the great love they
bore him, went with him when he left the

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