Thursday, August 14, 2008

Song of the Week: Paquet d’Épingles (i.e. "Packet of Pins" or "Paper of Pins")

I know two basic versions of the folksong "Paper of Pins": the one with the happy ending where the person to whom the singer repeatedly proposes says in essence, "Don't offer me material possessions, offer me your love and affection," and the sad version where the singer laments, "And now I see money is all, and woman's love is nothing at all," when the object of the singer's affection says, "Oh, yes, I'll accept the key to your chest, That I may have gold at my request." Of course, the woman may have planned all along to cool the singer's ardor, for she sings at the end, "I'm determined to be an old maid, take my stool and live in the shade, and marry no one at all, and marry no one at all."

Fair enough.

However, I'm a fan of the happier version, and even more so of the version in Cajun French called "Paquet d'Épingles," sung by Michael Doucet with family and friends on the album Le Hoogie Boogie: Louisiana French Music For Children. The tune is different too. You can listen to a a music sample of Paquet d'Épingles vis the link. But don't stop there! I like most of the songs on the album, including the title track which is a French version of "The Hokey Pokey"-- and for me, that's saying something. (I revised my opinion of the song after a colleague of mine let me off the hook for, "You put your back side in." I simply refuse to do it. I acknowledge that I am a stick in the mud. I don't wiggle my waggles away either!)

For those of you who want to try playing and singing "Paquet d'Épingles" on the guitar, the good news is that you only have two chords to manage, thereby freeing up your brain to remember all of the lyrics in French. Bon chance! I'm sharing the French lyrics with chords plus the English translation. I've added little pictures next to the verses to help you keep your place:


Click on the graphic in order to enlarge it

Here is the English translation:

If you will marry me, I’ll give you a packet of pins,
I’ll give you a packet of pins if you will marry me
No, I will not marry you, no I will not marry you.

If you will marry me, I’ll give you a little white cat,
I’ll give you a little white cat to go walking with you.
No, I will not etc.

If you will marry me, I’ll give you a beautiful house,
I’ll give you beautiful house all lined in white satin.
No, I will not etc.

If you will marry me, I’ll give you a wedding dress,
I’ll give you a wedding dress all sewn with silver thread.
No, I will not etc.

If you will marry me, I’ll give you the keys to my coffers,
I’ll give you the keys to my coffers and all my gold and all my silver.
No, I will not etc.

If you will marry me, I’ll give you the keys to my heart,
I’ll give you the keys to my heart, and all my soul and all my love,
I’ll gladly marry you, I’ll gladly marry you.

If that’s the way your love begins, I accept your packet of pins,
I accept your packet of pins, if that’s the way your love begins,
I’ll gladly marry you, etc.

If that’s the way your love begins, I accept your little white cat,
I accept your little white cat to go walking with me.
I’ll gladly marry you, etc.

If that’s the way your love begins, I accept your beautiful house,
I accept your beautiful house all lined in white satin.
I’ll gladly marry you, etc.

If that’s the way your love begins, I accept your wedding dress,
I accept your wedding dress all hemmed in silver thread.
I’ll gladly marry you, etc.
If that’s the way your love begins, I accept the keys to your coffers,
I accept the keys to your coffers and all your gold and all your silver.
I’ll gladly marry you, etc.

If that’s the way your love begins, I accept the keys to your heart,
I accept the keys to your heart and all your soul and all your love.
I’ll gladly marry you, etc.

3 comments:

Lone Star Ma said...

I do wiggle my waggles and put my backside in...and mine's huge(:

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

LSM: I think with me it's a Mennonite thing. ;)

Lady K said...

I can't stand the Hokey Pokey. I won't even put my left foot in.

That song looks like quite a challenge, but I think I'm up for it. David Gilmour sings a song in French on his "in concert" DVD. Now I have to break it out! If I can find it online, I'll post it, as it's quite beautiful.