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262 The National Music of America.
own; it is the wild-brier rose of music, springing up by the wayside of art; seldom can we ascertain who planted it, rarely can we discover how it grew into its final shape, yet, when the greatest composers try to imitate its directness and simple power, they frequently fail.
Sometimes, too, the tender or playful folksong unaccountably becomes a war-song. In the Crimean War the simple love-song called "Annie Laurie" became the song of every English camp, every British soldier joining in its simple measures :
" And each one thought a different name While all sang • Annie Laurie.' "
During the Spanish-American War our soldiers, with the usual American devil-may-care spirit, elevated " There'll be a hot time in the old town to-night" into the domain of national music, pro tempore, — a quaintly fit selection for the tropics.
The antiquity of the folk-song is remark-