Chanson pour l’auvergnat

Georges Brassens expresses his gratitude to those who stood by him. During his youth, Brassens had a traumatic experience, when he brought disgrace on himself and his family after being convicted of petty theft. There are references in this poem that seem to reflect these events. However the most immense debt of gratitude of Brassens life was due to a couple whom he met later, Marcel Planche and his wife, Jeanne.
At great risk to themselves, they hid him and looked after him after Brassens had absconded from a forced labour camp in Germany in 1944. Marcel Planche came originally from the Auvergne.
http://brassenswithenglish.blogspot.ie/2008/02/chanson-pour-lauvergnat_08.html

Chanson Pour L’auvergnat .

Elle est à toi, cette chanson,
Toi, l’Auvergnat qui, sans façon,
M’as donné quatre bouts de bois
Quand, dans ma vie, il faisait froid.

Toi qui m’as donné du feu quand
Les croquantes et les croquants,
Tous les gens bien intentionnés,
M’avaient fermé la porte au nez…

Ce n’était rien qu’un feu de bois,
Mais il m’avait chauffé le corps,
Et dans mon âme il brûle encor’
A la manièr’ d’un feu de joi’.

Toi, l’Auvergnat quand tu mourras,
Quand le croqu’-mort t’emportera,
Qu’il te conduise, à travers ciel,
Au Père éternel.

Elle est à toi, cette chanson,
Toi, l’hôtesse qui, sans façon,
M’as donné quatre bouts de pain,
Quand dans ma vie il faisait faim:

Toi qui m’ouvris ta huche quand
Les croquantes et les croquants,
Tous les gens bien intentionnés,
S’amusaient à me voir jeûner…

Ce n’était rien qu’un peu de pain,
Mais il m’avait chauffé le corps,
Et dans mon âme il brûle encor’
A la manièr’ d’un grand festin.

Toi l’hôtesse quand tu mourras,
Quand le croqu’-mort t’emportera,
Qu’il te conduise à travers ciel,
Au Père éternel.

Elle est à toi cette chanson,
Toi, l’Etranger qui, sans façon,
D’un air malheureux m’as souri
Lorsque les gendarmes m’ont pris:

Toi qui n’as pas applaudi quand
Les croquantes et les croquants,
Tous les gens bien intentionnés,
Riaient de me voir emmené…

Ce n’était rien qu’un peu de miel,
Mais il m’avait chauffé le corps,
Et dans mon âme il brûle encore
A la manièr’ d’un grand soleil.

Toi l’Etranger quand tu mourras,
Quand le croqu’-mort t’emportera,
Qu’il te conduise, à travers ciel,
Au Père éternel.

Song for the man from the Auvergne.

It is for you this little song
Man of Auvergne who without fuss,
Once gave to me four bits of wood
When in my life there was real cold.

You who gave fire to warm me when
Staid members of the upper crust
All the people with good intent
Had slammed their doors shut in my face.

It was merely a fire of sticks
But it had warmed my body through
And in my soul it burns on still
In the way a bonfire would do.

You man from Auvergne, when you die
When the mortician bears you off
May he take you across heaven,
To the God everlasting.

It is for you this little song
You the hostess who, without fuss,
Once gave to me four bits of bread
When in my life there was hunger .

You who opened your larder when
Staid members of the upper crust
All the people with good intent
Enjoyed seeing me go without.

It was merely a bit of bread
But it had warmed my body through
And in my soul, it burns on still
In the way a great feast would do.

You, the hostess, when you will die
When the mortician bears you off,
May he take you across heaven,
To God everlasting.

It is for you this little song
You, the stranger, who, without fuss,
Looking dejected, smiled at me,
When the policemen took me off.

You who didn’t join the applause when
Staid members of the upper crust
All the people with good intent
Laughed to see me be led away.

T’was merely a touch of honey
But it had warmed my body through
And in my soul it burns on still
In the way bright sunshine would do …

You, the stranger, when you will die
When the mortician bears you off
May he take you across heaven,
To God everlasting.

Biographical Note:
In March 1943, Georges Brassens was conscripted to a German work camp at Basdorf. The friends he made there were his friends for life. Among them was a particularly close friend, Pierre Onténiente.

When Brassens returned to Paris on leave in March 1944, he went into hiding, sheltered by a married couple, Marcel and Jeanne Planche, who lived in a slum house in Paris. They were to play a big part in his life. Brassens’ temporary stay in this insalubrious quartier extended until 1966.

The Auvergnat who is thanked in this song is Marcel Planche and the hostess who served him his food is Jeanne. He wrote other songs for Jeanne, the most famous are “Jeanne” and “La cane de Jeanne”. I suspect too that Jeanne was the real heroine of his song “La femme d’Hector”

Jeanne was Brassens’ mother and companion. But there was a stronger emotional tie. Speaking long after the death of Brassens, Pierre Onténiente, confided that Jeanne was in love with Georges and was jealous about him. Marcel was either indifferent or unaware, as his habit was to start to get drunk from eight in the morning

It was a great loss for Brassens when Jeanne died in 1968.