The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXXI. Non-English Writings I

§ 33. Alexandre Latil

Alexandre Latil, in his Éphémèes (1841), a protest against the modern school, produced verses of delicacy and felicity which make him seem, on the whole, one of the most memorable as well as the most pathetic of the Louisiana poets. A lifelong invalid, he addressed to his father and mother a tender lament from which a few lines should be quoted as an illustration of the elegiac verse in which his state has done perhaps its finest work:

  • Encore un dernier cnant, et ma lyre éphémère
  • S’échappe de mes mains, et s’éteint en ce jour,
  • Mais que ces sons mourants, ô mon père, ma mère,
  • Soient exhalés pour vous, objets de mon amour.
  • De cet hymne d’adieu si la note plaintive
  • S’envole tristement pour ne plus revenir,
  • Vous ne l’oublîrez pas: votre oreille attentive
  • L’empreindra pour jamais dans votre souvenir.
  • Dr. Mercier and Charles Testut, the novelists, both turned their hands to poetry. Mercier’s Rose de Smyrne and Erato were printed in Paris in 1842: the first is an Oriental tale; the second a collection of pleasant pieces in praise of love and Louisiana. The merest mention can be made here of Barde, Guirot, Calogne, and of Madame Emilie Evershed, the only poetess produced by French Louisiana.