Sunday, 22 July 2012

Angelique's Farewell

 Lyrics and music by Marion Parsons © 2008

Marie-Joseph Angelique was a slave who was hanged in 1734 for setting her mistress' house on fire; the fire spread and destroyed most of old Montreal. It was apparently part of an attempt to escape with her lover Claude Thibault, who did get away successfully. After being hanged, Angelique's body was burned and the ashes thrown to the wind.  Please see further notes below the lyrics.



Farewell Montreal, I make my amends
Before my accusers, my foes and my friends
And beg for the pardon of God and the Crown
For striking the fire that swallowed the town.

Farewell to Ti-Claude, mon seul bien-aimé
But I cannot follow and you could not stay
So if you should come to the land of the free
The blackened Atlantic will tell you of me.

Farewell mes enfants, I leave you alone
With wet clay to suckle and blankets of stone
My love gave me one and le Sieur gave me two
But none doomed to linger the cold winter through.

Farewell ma Maîtresse, you devil of whores
Who fed by the labour that never was yours
So when you grow feeble, to heaven you plead
May God show you mercy as you showed to me.

Farewell mon esprit, perhaps you shall rise
As smoke from my pyre escapes to the skies
Perhaps you shall vanish like ash in the wind
No stone left to mark me, no name and no kin.

Notes:
mon seul bien-aimé - my only beloved
mes enfants - my babies
le Sieur - the Lord, i.e., her late owner Lord Francheville
ma Maîtresse - my mistress
mon esprit - my spirit

I have written another song about Angelique: Summer's Longest Day

This song is based on Afua Cooper’s book: The Hanging of Angelique
Wikipedia has an article about her as well: Marie-Joseph Angelique

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