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The National Music of America. 97
with a gloomy background, is the " Ca Ira." It was sung to many a scene of massacre and bloodshed; it was warbled and trilled out when the mob carried the head of the beautiful Princess de Lamballe, on a pike, through the streets of Paris, and thrust it up for the unhappy queen to look at. Yet this melody was a light vaudeville tune, entirely innocent in its origin, and even patriotic in its second phase. The melody was composed by a certain M. B^court, a side-drum player at the Opera. It very soon became popular as a contra-dance, and frequently appeared in the French cotillions. We give a reproduction of this, as a lively dance, from a collection of cotillions (in the possession of the author) of the year 1791, before the melody had been steeped in blood.
The title of the work was suggested by no less a person than Benjamin Franklin, who, during his stay in Paris, continually