December 24th, 2008

French Ballads...

I'm trying to find a french ballad for a story I'm writing.

I'm hoping for something similar to La Belle Françoise [note: this is not the version I learned; the last verse on this page is different, and in the version I had the song was a verse longer. It's also badly translated.] I like it, I have it in audio form, but it's just not quite right.

However, I need something early... preferably before 1820s or 30s. Also, I'd prefer no references to war... the simplicity of the song is good, though, and the length.

A lot of old ballads use... poetic sentence structure craziness. Since I'm hoping this will someday see the light of day, extremely old French would not be good. Something haunting would be good, and if you could help me out with a link to an audio version, that'd be awesome, because I'd like to have the tune in my head while writing.

I'd like something that wouldn't be well-known in Britain at the time, if possible, so not something that would be in French textbooks of the era.

Second request: anyone know some comparably-old french songs that have a risqué air? Something that if sung in the right way, with winks along the way, would get lots of laughs? Something that might be sung by someone who was a bit tipsy, but probably not around the ladies? I think this is more of a long shot.

Thanks!