Jacques Jasmin, a French Provencal poet, often called the barber poet and the last of the troubadours, born in Agen, March 6,1798, died there, Oct. 4,1864. He was the child of a hunchbacked tailor and a lame mother, from whom he inherited little besides poverty, and the prediction, founded on the experience of many generations, that the Jasmins must inevitably die in the almshouse. His childhood, the events of which are described in his piece entitled Mous soubenis (" My Souvenirs "), was one of privation and hunger; but these he might have endured with cheerfulness, of which he possessed an unfailing supply, had he not been tormented with an eager thirst for education. At about the age of 12 he gained admittance to a priests' seminary, where for 2 1/2 years he made rapid progress, until an act of youthful indiscretion caused his dismissal in disgrace. A few months later he was apprenticed to a barber and hair dresser in Agen. At 18 he was married and set up in business for himself. His leisure hours continued to be devoted to the acquisition of knowledge; and from reading plays and romances he took to verse writing, which so alarmed his wife that she persistently removed his pens and paper, and otherwise hindered him.
Jasmin obeyed the hint so far as to stick to his calling, which he steadily practised; but no discouragement could induce him to give up his passion for reading and writing verses; and gradually his rural songs, written in an idiom of the langue d'oc, the former tongue of the southern troubadours, which is still spoken by the peasantry of southern France, found warm admirers among his-friends and neighbors. In 1825 he ventured upon the publication of a burlesque poem, Lou chalibari (" The Charivari"). During the next ten years he produced his "Ode to Charity" (1830), "The Third of May" (1830), Soubenis (1832), and " Stanzas to the Scattered Remains of the Polish Nation " (1833). These were collected in 1885 and published in 2 vols, under the title of Las papillotos de Jasmin (" The Curl Papers of Jasmin"). His next piece, L'Abu-glo de Castel-Cuille ("The Blind Girl of Cas-tel Cuille "), founded on a pathetic legend of Guienne, is perhaps the most popular of all he wrote. During his only visit to Paris he recited it 26 times in 15 days, on the last occasion in presence of Louis Philippe and the royal family at Neuilly. The poem is familiar to English readers through the translation by Longfellow. Franconette, produced in 1840, is his longest and most ambitious piece.
Among his remaining works are a second series of the Papillotos (1843), Lous dus frays bessous ("The Two Twin Brothers," 1847), Maltro l'innoucento ("Mad Martha "), and many minor pieces.