STANK BIZIEN (Kloarek Kerikuff)

L'étang du Bizien (Le clerc de Kericuff)

The Bizien Pond (The clerk of Kericuff)

Texte recueilli par Mme de Saint-Prix (1789 - 1869)

Manuscrit de Lesquivit (N°1, folios 62v-66r) conservé à l'abbaye de Landévennec
Déchiffré par M. Yvon LE ROL et publié dans sa thèse de doctorat
(en breton!) soutenue le 5 juillet 2013 à l'université de Rennes 2.
"La langue des gwerzioù à travers l'étude des manuscrits"



Ton
("La Mort du Jeune chasseur")
Publiée par l'Abbé François Cadic avec la version vannetaise du présent chant
dans "La Paroisse Bretonne de Paris" en février 1925. [1]

(Fond sonore de la page, arrangement Chr. Souchon, 2012)

STANK BIZIEN.

1. Me ho ped, Spered Santel, em daoulin, plezisset,*
Roit din, hoc'h assistañs, sklêrijenn d'am spered,
Evit galloud lavared ar kruel aksidañt
Erruet gant ur familh e-barzh ar bloavezh presañt.

2. Er bloavezh mil ha Seiz kant chwec'h ha pevar-uguent
E-barzh ar parrez Pleuzal eo ur malheur erruet [2]
En ul lignezh enorabl, enorabl deus an daou du:
Ar map henañ anezhe a oa a Gericuff.

3. Un devezh e savas goude dijuniet
Hag eñ o moned e kaer da glask kamaraded.
Pediñ a ra anezhe evit moned gantañ.
Hini anezhe na n'ez hag eñ da partiañ.

4. Kemer a ra an hent, mont gantañ penn da benn.
Chaseal a eure betec ar stank Bizien.
Pe erruet eno, en-eus prest remarket,
Un nombr bras a malsign war an dour o redeg. [3]

5.Neuze en-eus klasket an tu oa an aesañ
Da n'em lakaat e plas evit galloud tenañ.
War nije holl e ejont. E tenn prompt e loskas.
Hag en-eus tizhet unan. Mez en dour e kouezhas.

6. Un triwec'h, pe un naonteg e oant en ur vandenn.
Hag i da nijal ac'hane ha tremen a-us d'e benn.
Chom a eure ennañ beteg eur ar kreizteiz,
O soñjal gant amzer d'ar bord e tostaje.

7. Bez e oa chas gantañ alas ne ouient ket
Moned e-barzh an dour da tapoud lapoused.
Ha pa koñsiderer e-barzh ar rarete
Hag an niver immañs en-devoa ar sign kaer-se. [4]

8. Taol a res war an douar e arm hag e dilhad,
Pediñ a ra ar Werc'hez, pediñ a ra e ael mad.
Tud a oa e bord ar stank o-neveus dehañ laret:
"Ez oc'h aze en dañjer da vezañ siwazh beuzet."

9. Un amzer kriz, dinatur hag ur tempest a rae.
E c'houraj eñ dalc'has evit mond evelse.
Pa oa tapet ar sign ha deuet gantañ endro,
Ar skorn bras en harze da zont war e pachoù.

10. M'en-em gavas yenet, skornet, kalon ha gwad
Hag eñ komans da grial "sikour ur re bennag!"
An ozac'h, ar mevel deus ar milin Bizien
Pa klevjont e c'hervel a diredas souden.

11. P'int erruet eno, oa o koach gant an dour.
O possubl o-deus graet en aviz d'e sikour.
Ar skornenn dindane, siwazh, a zo torret
Aet eo da goueled an dour nag un tregont koured.

12. Mantret e oa o c'halon, ha sikour n'hellent ket:
Pellaet en-oa deus ar bord nag un triwec'h troadez. [5]
Etre divrec'h Jezus e rentas e ene.
Bez' oa 'n den a vertuz mar e oa er c'hontre.

13. Ur porteour yaouank a oa deus Koad-an-Nay
Ez eaz da Gerikuf da gas ar c'heloù-se.
Lared a reas da gentañ e oa beuzet un den
O chaseal malsign e-barzh stank Bizien.

14. N'ouife den lared pegement a zilans
Ha hirvoud, ha glac'har a oa 'barzh an noblans
Pa erruas e-barzh an ti, an arm hag an dilhad.
"Ar re-mañ, eme an aotroù, a zo dilhed va mab!"

15. Pa erruas an itron ha glevas ar c'heloù
Hag hi o semplout eno e divrec'h an aotroù:
"Aotroù Doue, emezi, pelec'h "ma va mab?
Marv eo va bugel kaer, pa welan e dilhad!"

16. Kaset e oad da Bontrev da gerc'hat ur vag nevez
Ha mont beteg stank Bizien da c'hout ar wirionez.
Kaset e oa meur a mesaj da vont da glask splujerien
Da denna ar c'horf paour demeus ar stank Bizien.

17. Ker kaer evel al loar, an heol hag ar stered
E oa korf an den yaouank deus ar stank pa oa tennet.
A war poull e c'halon un imaj benniget
Da vervel e Kristen mad he-deus hen sikouret.

18. Douget e oa ac'hane mab Kergezek-Kericuff.
Na zeuas ket ar justis demeus a Roc'h-Jagu [6]
Abalamour d'ar respekt en-doe douget er vro
D'ur familh ken honorabl e oa holl kañvioù.

19. Ar sav demeus e c'horf oa graet e vered Ploezal
An ofis e-barzh ilis hag interet raktal
Den a oa a kalite, karget deus a vertuz
Ha mab henan a oa demeus a Gerikuff. [7]

Le cygne resta près de la barre d'eau.
Kercuff et la Roche-Jagu sont en Ploézal.


Transcription KLT Christian Souchon

* "plezisset": v. fr. Plaissier=(faire) plier, accabler
L'ETANG DE BIZIEN.

1. Esprit Saint, à deux genoux, je Vous en conjure,
La triste aventure qui de deuil frappa tout
Un clan fort notoire, O, cette année. Permettrez-vous
Qu'à tous je la narre?

2. En mil sept cent quatre-vingt six en la paroisse,
L'horrible disgrâce, à Ploézal survint [2]
Chez les gens honnêtes, O, du château de Kerikuñv,
Lors d'une tempête.

3. L'aîné vient de déjeuner, au bourg se rend vite
Et là il invite ses amis à tirer
Chez lui la bécasse, O, Mais aucun d'eux n'a voulu.
Le suivre à la chasse.

4. Il se remet en chemin. Poursuivant sa route,
Il est pris d'un doute: sur l'étang du Bizien,
Sont-ce bien des cygnes? O, couvrant le bief du moulin
Une chance insigne! [3]

5. Il cherchait à quel endroit il faudrait qu'il aille
Tirer sa grenaille: Ils se sont envolés!
Et le fusil gronde! O Le plus beau cygne est touché,
Dans l'étang il tombe.

6. Les dix-huit oiseaux surpris, ou dix-neuf peut-être,
Survolent sa tête. Et lui, jusqu'à midi
Est sur le qui-vive, O. Je m'en vais attendre ici
Qu'au bord il dérive.

7. Il n'a pas les chiens qu'il faut: pas un seul qui sache
Au cours d'une chasse quérir le gibier d'eau.
Mais il considère O un si bel et grand oiseau
Une rare affaire. [4]

8. Il jette sur le chemin, son arme et ses hardes:
"La Vierge me garde, et mon ange aussi bien!"
Des gens sur la rive O dirent "Que vous vous noyiez
Notre crainte est vive."

9. C'était un jour de grand froid. Le vent faisait rage.
Mais avec courage, il va dans l'eau tout droit,
Du cygne s'empare. O Mais voilà que le froid,
A gelé la mare.

10. Quand il sent devenir gourds son corps et ses membres,
Tous peuvent entendre ses appels au secours
Le meunier, son aide O sortent du Moulin-Bizien...
Et la glace cède.

11. Ils accourent aussitôt, tandis qu'il s'enfonce,
Mais quelle assistance porteraient ces badauds?
Sous leur poids la glace, O, se brise. Il coule bientôt
Jusqu'à trente brasses.

12. Ils avaient le cœur serré de leur impuissance
A cette distance d'à peine dix-huit pieds! [5]
Le garçon rend l'âme, O là, dans les bras de Jésus,
Un si bon jeune homme!

13. Un jeune de Coatannay porta la nouvelle,
Nouvelle cruelle, au Sire de Kerikuñv:
Une mort indigne O pour dans l'étang du Bizien
S'emparer d'un cygne!

14. Combien il y eut de chagrin et de peine immense,
Coupée de silences, l'histoire ne dit point.
On lui montre l'arme O ainsi que les vêtements
"C'est mon fils! Quel drame!"

15. La dame à son tour apprit le bruit qui galope
Et tombe en syncope aux bras de son mari:
"Quel est ce mystère? O, Où donc est passé mon fils?
Ce sont ses affaires!"

16. On fit venir de Pontrieux une barque neuve
Pour avoir la preuve de son sort malheureux.
Des plongeurs on mande O lesquels tirent de l'étang
Le corps du jeune homme.

17. Plus beau que le soleil, les étoiles, la lune
Etait sa peau brune au sortir du vivier.
Et sur sa poitrine O une médaille brillait,
Présence divine.

18. Fils de Kerguézec-Kercuñv, que l'on t'enfouisse!
Quant à la justice de la Roche-Jagu [6]
Pourquoi viendrait-elle O troubler le deuil de ces gens
Des plus respectables?

19. Après la levée du corps dans le cimetière,
Avant qu'on l'enterre, un office des morts
A la sainte table O fut célébré en l'honneur
D'un homme honorable. [7]

En français: Le cygne resta près de la barre d'eau.
Kercuff et la Roche-Jagu sont en Ploézal.


Traduction Christian Souchon (c) 2013.

THE POND OF BIZIEN.

1. Give me your mighty help, Holy Ghost, if you please,
Enlighten my spirit, I beg you on my knees,
So that I may recount the cruel adversity
That plunged into mourning, this year, a family!

2. In the year seventeen hundred and eighty six
In parish Plouezal, one of its naughty tricks [2]
On an honourable lineage on either side
Death played when the eldest son of Kericuffs' died.

3. After he had finished his breakfast, one morning,
He went to town and asked his friends to a hunting
Party, but since no one was in a mood to go
Out in the icy cold, he went back in the snow.

4. He went along the road, walked it from end to end.
Had put into his head to hunt at Pond Bizien.
And had the great surprise to find, what was beyond
His hopes: plenty of swans swimming there on the pond! [3]

5. He was considering which could be the best spot
For him to take his stand and have the safest shot.
When all the swans took flight. He fired at them so well
That one of them was hit, but on the pond it fell.

6. There were eighteen, perhaps nineteen of them that day
That flew over his head before they fled away.
He remained on the shore until a bell rang noon,
Hoping that his fair prey be drifted ashore soon.

7. His dogs were of no use. It's easy to conceive,
Since none of them was trained water fowl to retrieve.
But he could not resolve now, if he had withdrawn,
To give up this stately and most beautiful swan. [4]

8. He threw onto the ground his arm, some of his clothes,
Prayed to Mary and his angel, while the pond froze.
The strollers on the bank they told him in alarm:
"It's going to freeze hard. You're doing yourself harm!"

9. Loud blew the frosty breeze on that cruel cold day.
Yet he persisted in going that risky way.
When he had seized the swan and was on his way back,
A patch of ice gave way as opened a big crack.

10. He was chilled to the bone when he sank to the waist.
He started crying "Help, come to my help, in haste!"
The miller, his craftsman in the Bizien mill
They rushed out on hearing his scream, loud and shrill.

11. When they ran near to him his head only rose out.
Everything that they could they have done, without doubt,
But under them the ice irreparably broke.
He sank. Thirty fathoms. Death wrapped him in its cloak!

12. That they could not help him made them heartbroken sore:
He was by eighty feet still away from the shore. [5]
In the arms of Jesus the lad gave up the ghost,
One of the most decent men our country may boast.

13. A young errand boy was sent from Coat-an-Nay
To Kericuff manor this bad news to convey.
He first said that someone was drowned by accident
As he was hunting swans on the pond of Bizien.

14. Nobody could express how much awkward silence
And wailing, and distress prevailed in that instance
When weapon and garment were displayed to their eyes.
"It was my son!" exclaimed the father in surprise.

15. The Lady had entered the room at that moment,
Heard these words and swooned in the arms of her husband:
"O my God said the Dame, tell me, where is my son?
My child is dead! I see his garment and his gun!"

16. To Pontrieux they have sent for a new-made barge
To come to Bizien Pond and sad duties discharge:
It was to be manned with divers who were trained
To salvage corpses from the depths where they are chained.

17. As fair as moon and sun and the stars in the skies
Was the young body that they had before their eyes .
Round his neck a medal a minister had blessed.
That he died as a true Christian it will attest.

18. From this dull place he was removed to Kericuff.
No constable was sent from La Roche-Jagu [6]
Because he had enjoyed an excellent repute.
This would have only made his kin's pain more acute.

19. The funeral started in Ploezal churchyard
The mass was read in church. He was buried at once
He was a nobleman to whom honour is due
He was the eldest son of the Lord Kericuff. [7]

(In French: The swan was left on the mill-dyke.
Kericuff and La Roche-Jagu are both in the Ploézal area.


Translated by Christian Souchon (c) 2013.


NOTES

[1] La mélodie que l'on entend est celle publiée par l'Abbé Cadic pour sa version vannetaise.
Elle ne convient pas à celle du manuscrit de Mme de Saint-Prix (même si j'ai essayé de la faire "coller" à ma traduction française, au prix de nombreux à-peu-près).

[2] Ploézal se trouve en Trégor, à mi-chemin entre La Roche-Jagu et Pontrieux à une vingtaine de kilomètres au sud de Tréguier.
Cette version est sans doute la version originale.
L'abbé François Cadic a publié dans "La paroisse bretonne" de février 1925 une version morbihannaise qui raconte le même fait divers. Elle est beaucoup plus courte: 18 vers de 13 et 12 pieds alternés. Collectée aux environs de Guémené par l'abbé Gahinet, ancien vicaire de Séglien, elle situe l'événement à l'étang de Brugat, sans cependant nommer le malheureux protagoniste, dont on dit seulement que c'était un jeune aristocrate qui "ne chassait que sur les terres de son père" ("nen dé de jiboésat meit ar zoareu é dad").
Autres différences: le jeune homme, s'il ôte ses vêtements malgré le froid, ne se jette pas à l'eau. Il s'aventure sur la glace pour aller ramasser ses prises, ce que ne fait, pour son malheur, le héros de la version de Mme de Saint-Prix qu'à son retour, alors que la couche de glace est en train de se former.
D'autre part, on ne fait pas venir une barge et des plongeurs pour récupérer le corps. C'est le meunier qui agit sur la vanne de son moulin: "Pe oé oeit er melinér aveit lezel en dour" ("quand vint le meunier pour laisser couler l'eau") et qui se charge de porter le fusil et les habits au manoir du père.

[3] Le cygne était chassé et élevé pour sa chair il y a quelques siècles.
Les "Carmina Burana" (Poèmes de Benediktbeuren, datant du haut moyen-âge) renferment un poème, "Olim lacus colueram" (jadis je hantais les lacs), dans lequel un cygne se lamente, alors qu'il rôtit à la broche: "Miser, modo niger et ustus fortiter!" (Malheureux que je suis, maintenant je suis noir et brûlé cruellement).
L'opéra de Wagner nous montre le jeune Parsifal perçant d'une flèche un cygne...
Si le roi d'Angleterre est encore aujourd'hui le propriétaire des cygnes de la Tamise et que l'on paye des fonctionnaires pour les recenser, ce n'était peut-être pas, à l'origine, sans arrière-pensées gastronomiques...
La Bretagne semble avoir conservé plus longtemps que les autres provinces des habitudes culinaires anciennes. On notera cependant que si la présente histoire est datée par la gwerz de 1786, trois ans avant la révolution, le site "Geneanet" date ce décès de 1709! Un autre chant vante les vertus nutritives d'un écureuil qu'on engraisse avant d'en faire un "fricot"!

[4] La version de l'Abbé Cadic ne parle pas de cygne, mais indique que le chasseur "naù pé dek kanar en doé bet diskaret" (avait abattu neuf ou dix canards).
Quoi qu'il en soit, dans la présente version, le cygne est désigné par les seuls mots connus des dictionnaires: "sign" et "malsign", avant que le collecteur du fameux "An Alarc"h", La Villemarqué, n'introduise cet équivalent gallois dans celui de Le Gonidec, qu'il avait rédigé lui-même en grande partie! "Alarc'h" est désormais souvent le seul mot donné par les dictionnaires usuels...

[5] Si, à la strophe précédente, la profondeur de l'étang (30 brasses= 49 m) semble exagérée, compte tenu des plongeurs en apnée qu'on y envoie, la distance du bord du point où le jeune homme a coulé semble réaliste (18 pieds= 6m).
L'étang de Stang-Bizien jalonne le ruisseau du même nom, long de 10 km qui prend sa source sur la commune de Pommerit-Jaudy et rejoint l'estuaire du Jaudy en Pouldouran.

[6] Cette anecdote montre que l'habitude de diligenter une enquête judiciaire en cas d'accident mortel remonte à l'ancien régime et qu'elle était déjà très mal vécue par les familles concernées. Gageons que, de nos jours, le meunier exploitant une retenue d'eau sans disposer d'une barque en état d'intervenir en cas d'accident aurait les pires ennuis!
On remarque combien le texte insiste (strophes 2, 17, 18, 19) sur le fait que le jeune homme était issu d'une honorable famille aristocratique en dépit de sa mort rocambolesque.
On a même l'impression que ce texte qui vante tant les mérites de l'intéressé, son courage et son endurance, sa dextérité (il atteint le plus beau cygne au vol parmi vingt autres!), sa piété et sa détermination qu'on se garde bien de qualifier d'entêtement, est une commande de cette honorable famille, destinée à réhabiliter 77 ans après sa mort, la mémoire de ce jeune étoudri.
"Dès 1400, le domaine de Kericuff appartient aux sieurs de Kerguézec. La famille de Kericuff incarne, en 1735, l'opposition au pouvoir et à l'autorité royaux. Le comte Guillaume de Kericuff s'illustre comme volontaire à la bataille de Saint-Cast. Il est membre des états de Bretagne, comme son frère, le chevalier Guy de Kerguézec (1646 - 1716, époux de Françoise Le Merdy). Celui-ci, redoutable orateur, est président de la noblesse. Un récit populaire illustre le destin tragique de son jeune fils Toussaint René Hyacinthe de Kerguézec (1690 - 1709): «mort noyé étant à la chasse dans l'étang du Bizien " (source: Topic-Topos Communes de France)

[7] Le Barzhaz Breizh fournit, lui aussi, un exemple frappant de gwerz composée à partir d'un fait divers tragique: Une bonne leçon
[1] The tune used as a sound background was published by the Rev. François Cadic to accompany a Vannes dialect version of the present lament.
It does not scan when sung to the Mme de Saint-Prix MS version (even though I tried to make a French translation to match this melody, but much to the detriment of accuracy).

[2] Ploézal is in Tregor, halfway between La Roche-Jagu Castle and Pontrieux, a score of kilometres south of Tréguier.
The version at hand is certainly the original.
The Rev. François Cadic published in "La paroisse bretonne", in February 1925, a Morbihan dialect variant recording the same trivial event. It is much shorter: 18 alternate lines of 13 and 12 feet. It was collected in the Guémené area by the Rev. Gahinet, former curate of Séglien. It locates the event at the nearby pond of Brugat, but does not name the unfortunate young man. It just states that he was an aristocrat who "never hunted but on the lands of his father" ("nen dé de jiboésat meit ar zoareu é dad").
Other differences: the young man, even if he takes off (part of) his clothes in spite of the cold, does not plunge into the water. He already treads on the thin ice on his way to fetch his catch, unlike the protagonist in the present version who wades and swims his way to the swan, but, on his way back, has no other possibility than walking on the hazardous half-frozen surface.
On the other hand, a brand new punt with divers is not needed to salvage the corpse. It is the miller who performs it by lowering his watermill hatch: "Pe oé oeit er melinér aveit lezel en dour" ("when the miller came and let the water run out") and took it upon himself to carry gun and clothes to the father's mansion.

[3] Swans were hunted and raised for their flesh a few centuries ago.
The "Carmina Burana" (the "Benediktbeuren poems" dating from the early middle ages) include a song, "Olim lacus colueram" (Once I swam about ponds and lakes), in which a swan bemoans its fate, while it's being roasted on a spit: "Miser, modo niger et ustus fortiter!" (Wretched, now I am black and burning fiercely).
Wagner in one of his operas stages young Parsifal piercing a swan with an arrow...
If the king of England is to the present day the proprietor of the Thames swans causing government officers to be paid to count them, maybe there were originally culinary reasons for this strange wont...
This old-inherited gastronomy was apparently preserved longer in Brittany than elsewhere. It is however noticeable that, unlike the present gwerz that dates the event to 1786, three years before the French revolution, the genealogy site "Geneanet" dates the young man's death to 1709! (late reign of Louis XIV). Breton dancers in another song extol the nutritional value of a squirrel from whom they draw their dancing skills and that they cram to stand their friends a treat ("fricot")!

[4] The Rev. Cadic's version does not mention a swan, but states that the hunter had hit nine or ten ducks: "naù pé dek kanar en doé bet diskaret".
Anyway, in the present version, the swan goes by the only words known of the old dictionaries: "sign" and "malsign", until the collector of the famous Barzhaz Breizh song "An Alarc"h", La Villemarqué, introduced this Welsh loanword into Le Gonidec's dictionary, which is mostly his own work! Nowadays "Alarc'h" often is the only word set forth in usual modern dictionaries...

[5] If, in the foregoing stanza, the depth of the pond (30 fathoms= 49 m) seems to be exaggerated, if it was to be reached by divers in apnoea, the distance from the bank to the spot where the young lad sank is plausible ( 18 feet= 6m).
The pond Stang-Bizien is on the course of the homonymous 10 km long brook that springs up in the parish Pommerit-Jaudy and comes out into the estuary of the Jaudy river near Pouldouran.

[6] This anecdote demonstrates that the habit of ordering a forensic inquiry when accidental death occurs is inherited from the monarchy and always was considered a loathsome experience by the families concerned. I bet you that, nowadays, a miller who, being entitled to exploit public water resources, could not provide apt rescuing equipment in case of emergency, would run the risk of the worst prosecution!
It is noticeable that the text stresses (stanzas 2, 17, 18 and 19) the fact that the young man is the offspring of an honourable gentry family in spite of the fantastic circumstances of his death.
One could even vindicate that this eulogy emphasizing the young lad's merits, his courage and endurance, his dexterity (he hits the most beautiful swan in full flight amidst a flock of twenty fowls!), his piety and his determination, which is by no means dubbed "pigheadedness", was in fact composed on orders of this honourable family, with a view to rehabilitating, 77 years after his death, this young scatterbrain's memory.
"As from 1400, the Kericuff domain belongs to the Lords Kerguezec. The Kericuff family is, in 1735, the embodiment of the opposition to royal power and government. Count Guillaume de Kericuff wan fame in the regiment of volunteers who took part in the batle of Saint-Cast. He was a member of the States of Brittany, as was his brother, Chevalier Guy de Kerguezec (1646 - 1716, husband of Françoise Le Merdy). The latter was a formidable orator as the speaker of the nobility. A folk tale features the tragic fate of his young son Toussaint René Hyacinthe de Kerguezec (1690 - 1709): «who was drowned when hunting on Bizien pond". (source: Topic-Topos Communes de France)

[7] The "Barzhaz Breizh" also provides an instance of a gwerz elaborating on a trivial event: Let that be a lesson to all of us




Mme de Saint-Prix (1789-1869)

Mme de Saint-Prix (1789-1869)



Ur gentel vad (Une bonne leçon)

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