Acadian Tradition: Le Rosier Blanc
Marie Deveaux. Photograph by Ronald Caplan. Cape Breton's Magazine, Issue 30: 12. © 1972/2010 Ronald Caplan.
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About This Song

A young girl gets an offer of marriage, but can't accept it as she is hired to work for six years. He offers to double what she is earning - an offer, it appears, she will not resist. The story is framed with white roses and nightingales that give good advice.

This recording of Mrs. Marie Deveaux, age 75, was collected by Dr. Elizabeth Beaton in Belle Marche, August 1978.

Le Rosier Blanc, 1978. Marie Deveaux. T-1166. Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

About The Artist

For a period of thirty years, Marie Deveaux of Chéticamp worked tirelessly in the local rug-making economy. Due to her enthusiasm, devotion and talent, this Chéticamp industry underwent a new and phenomenal expansion. Her individual specialty was five-square-feet rugs featuring a sailing ship at sea by night.

In the 1940s, Marie à Luc would get a ten percent commission of the sales of the rugs which exhibited at her place during the summer for sale to tourists. For large rugs which she would commission, she would pay one dollar per square foot. She also accepted to buy rugs, at the same price as for the ones commissioned, from the ladies who wanted to sell to her directly, particularly in the wintertime because they needed the money.

She was an intelligent person, a woman of taste who was very adept at dealing with people. She was such a likeable woman and the rugs sold were of such beauty that the tourists who dealt with her, in effect, became her publicity agents. She sold only quality rugs, often retouching sections of the rugs that had been brought to her because they were not up to standards.

Marie à Luc bought jute canvas by the roll which she cut up in various sizes as required by the rugs to be made. She would stamp the designs on these canvases herself. She did this for most of the 200 people whom she represented.

Lyrics

1. Je m'en vais cueillier la rose,
Je m'en vais cueillir la rose
Qui pendait au rosier blanc, Belle rose,
Qui pendait au rosier blanc,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

2. Je la cueillie feuille à feuille,
Je la cueillie feuille à feuille
Mis dans mon beau tablier blanc, Belle rose,
Mis dans mon beau tablier blanc,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

3. Je l'ai porté à ma mère,
Je l'ai porté à ma mère
Entre Paris et Rouen, Belle rose,
Entre Paris et Rouen,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

4. Là je ne trouvais personne,
Là je ne trouvais personne
Que le rossignol chantant, Belle rose,
Que le rossignol chantant,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

5. Il disait dans son langage,
Il disait dans son langage,
«Mariez-vous, fille de quinze ans», Belle rose,
«Mariez-vous, fille de quinze ans,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

6. Comment t'i(l) que j'm'y marisse?
Mais comment m'y mari'rai-je?
J'suis engagé pour six ans, Belle rose,
J'suis engagé pour six ans,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

7. Combien gagnez-vous, la belle,
Combien gagnez-vous, la belle,
Combien gagnez-vous par an, Belle rose?
Combien gagnez-vous par an,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

8. Je gagne bien cent pistoles,
Je gagne bien cent pistoles,
Cent pistoles en argent blanc, Belle rose,
Cent pistoles en argent blanc,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

9. Venez m'y servir, la belle,
Venez m'y servir, la belle,
Je vous en donn'rai deux cents, Belle rose,
Je vous en donn'rai deux cents,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

10. Puis nous irons à l'église,
Puis nous irons à l'église,
Et devant tous nos parents, Belle rose,
Et devant tous nos parents,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.

11. Nous nous marions, la belle,
Nous nous marions, la belle,
Pour être heureux longuement, Belle rose,
Pour être heureux longuement,
Belle rose du rosier blanc.»