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Music Cape Breton's Diversity in Unity

Acadian Dessus La Fougere

A song of unrequited love. A young man, wandering through lovely woods, comes upon a shepherdess pasturing her flock of sheep under the shade of oak trees. He courts her but she rejects him in favour of a religious life. The suitor sadly leaves and goes off to war.

The singer, Reverend Charles Aucoin, recorded this song fragment in 1977 as part of an extended interview with freelance radio producer, Bill Doyle.

Dessus La Fougere, 1977. Rev. Charles Aucoin. T-892, Beaton Institute, Cape Breton University.

Rev. Charles Aucoin

Rev. Charles Aucoin, known to many as “Father Charlie,” was born in Chéticamp, February 19, 1911, a son of the late Moise Aucoin and Mathilde Leblanc. He was ordained priest at the Eudist Seminary in Charlesbourg, Quebec in 1936. He later moved to Halifax where he served as a professor of Canon Law at Holy Heart Seminary (1938-1958 and 1961-1967) and as Superior of the Seminary (1956-1962).

Upon retirement in 1973, he returned home to Chéticamp where he became an important leader within the culture and heritage community for the next 25 years. With a particular passion for Acadian history and genealogy, Rev. Aucoin transcribed, by hand, over 200 years of church records and prepared over 100,000 personal records. He was a vocal advocate and promoter of the resurrection of La Société Saint-Pierre and the construction of the cultural centre, Les Trois Pignons.

He died September 6, 1999 in Chéticamp.

Dessus La Fougere

1. L’autre jour, en m’y promenant
Le Long de ces jolis bois charmants,
J’ai rencontré bergère
Soignant son blanc troupeau
Dessus la fougère
A l’ombre des ormeaux.

Additional verses:

2. Alors j’ai levé mon chapeau,
C’est pour la saluer comme il faut,
En lui disant, «Bergère,
Si tu voulais m’aimer
Dessus la fougère,
Je serais ton berger.

3. Oh, aimez-moi, amiez-moi pas,
De tout cela je m’en souci’ pas;
Je suis trop jeun’ bergère,
A l’âge de quinze ans,
Dessus la fougère,
Pour avoir un amant.

4. Mais quand j’aurai mes dix-huit ans,
Je m’en irai dedans un couvent;
Je serai religieuse
Pour y passer mon temps
Et ma vie heureuse.
J’n’ai pas besoin d’amant!»

5. J’ai mis mon chapeau sous mon bras,
En lui disant, «Belle, je m’en vas,
Je m’en vas à la guerre,
Combattre l’ennemi.
Si Dieu me préserve,
Je r’viendrai-au pays.»