Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Country of the Camisards

The Cévennes of France are to the Camisards as the Highlands of Scotland are to the Covenanters -- final resting place for martyrs, whose remembrance flowers, like those poppies of Flanders Fields, grow and flourish on blood-soaked "rocky heather-filled hillsides."

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote one of first modern travelogues in 1879, titled Travels With a Donkey in the Cévennes. In that pioneering work, he toured the land where almost two centuries before French Camisards died for the cause of Christ under the persecution of dragoons sent by the 'Sun King,' Louis XIV, of 'The Man in the Iron Mask' fame.

Under the pen-name of W. P. Bannatyne, Stevenson wrote a poetic tribute to those heroic Camisards with whom he felt, like the Covenanters, a kinship, which he included in this book. 'How deep the corn,' indeed.

The Country Of The Camisards

We travelled in the print of olden wars;
Yet all the land was green;
And love we found, and peace,
Where fire and war had been.

They pass and smile, the children of the sword—
No more the sword they wield;
And O, how deep the corn
Along the battlefield!

--W. P. Bannatyne

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