Jasmin's tours of philanthropy.

Appeals from the Poor and Distressed-- His Journeys to remote places-- Carcassone-- The Orphan Institute of Bordeaux-- 'The Shepherd and the Gascon Poet'-- The Orphan's Gratitude-- Helps to found an Agricultural Colony-- Jasmin Letter-- His Numerous Engagements-- Society of Arts and Literature-- His Strength of Constitution-- At Marseilles-- At Auch-- Refusal to shave a Millionaire-- Mademoiselle Roaldes-- Jasmin Cheerful Help-- Their Tour in the South of France-- At Marseilles again-- Gratitude of Mademoiselle Roaldes-- Reboul at Nimes-- Dumas and Chateaubriand-- Letters from Madame Lafarge

The poet had no sooner returned from his visit to Paris than he was besieged with appeals to proceed to the relief of the poor in the South of France. Indeed, for more than thirty years he devoted a considerable part of his time to works of charity and benevolence. He visited successively cities and towns so far remote from each other, as Bayonne and Marseilles, Bagnères and Lyons. He placed his talents at the service of the public from motives of sheer benevolence, for the large collections which were made at his recitations were not of the slightest personal advantage to himself.

The first place he visited on this occasion was Carcassonne, south-east of Toulouse,--a town of considerable importance, and containing a large number of poor people. M. Dugué, prefect of the Aude, wrote to Jasmin: "The crying needs of this winter have called forth a desire to help the poor; but the means are sadly wanting. Our thoughts are necessarily directed to you. Will you come and help us?" Jasmin at once complied. He was entertained by the prefect.

After several successful recitations, a considerable sum of money was collected for the relief of the poor of Carcassonne. To perpetuate the recollection of Jasmin's noble work, and to popularise the genius of the poet, the Prefect of the Aude arranged that Jasmin's poems should be distributed amongst all the schools of his department, and for this purpose a portion of the surplus funds was placed at the disposal of the Council-general.

Bordeaux next appealed to the poet. He had a strong love for Bordeaux. It was the place where he had first recited his Blind Girl, where he had first attracted public attention, and where he was always admired and always fêted. The Orphan Institution of the city was in difficulties; its funds were quite exhausted; and who should be invited to come to their help but their old friend Jasmin? He was again enthusiastically received. The Franklin Rooms were crowded, and money flowed quickly into the orphans' treasury. Among the poems he recited was the following :-


Aux Bordelais, au jour de ma grande Seance au Casino.

In a far land, I know not where,
Ere viol's sigh; or organ's swell,
Had made the sons of song aware
That music! is a potent spell:
A shepherd to a city came,
Play'd on his pipe, and rose to fame.
He sang of fields, and at each close,
Applause from ready hands arose.

The simple swain was hail'd and crown'd,
In mansions where the great reside,
And cheering smiles and praise he found,
And in his heart rose honest pride.
All seem'd with joy and rapture gleaming,
He trembled lest he was but dreaming.

But, modest still, his soul was moved;
Yet of his hamlet was his thought--
Of friends at home, and her he loved,
When back his laurel branch he brought.
And pleasure beaming in his eyes,
Enjoyed their welcome and surprise.
'Twas thus with me when Bordeaux deigned
To listen to my rustic song:
Whose music praise and honour gain'd
More than to rural strains belong.

Delighted, charm'd, I scarcely knew
Whence sprung this life so fresh and new,
And to my heart I whispered low,
When to my fields returned again,
"Is not the Gascon Poet now
As happy as the shepherd swain?"

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.