American Ballads and Songs

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xxii                       INTRODUCTION
some of those found in this country, seems to have retained integrity better in its New World form. The Romish Lady, dating from the era of Protestant martyrs, remains very close in its American derivatives to the broadside text of the time of Charles II, which is the earliest text of it preserved in England. It seems to play little or no role in later British traditional song but has found a good deal of currency on this side of the Atlantic. Since colonial times, folk-songs have been brought over by nearly every influx of newcomers. Immigrants from Ireland especially have brought over many songs. One "classic" from this source, much adapted and disguised, is The Dying Cowboy.
Nothing indigenous lives from colonial times, so far as is known. Nor does anything live from the Revolu­tionary War and the days following, except Yankee Doodle, which is sung to an Irish melody, and a few patriotic songs. These have an established popularity quite apart from the traditional and the oral. They have entered into traditional currency but are far from dependent on it. A still recognizable indigenous piece from the eighteenth century is Springfield Mountain, which has had astonishing vitality in view of its inferior quality. From the War of 1812 remain a few fragments like the children's game song "We're Marching on to Old Quebec" and a song concerning the British ship, the Boxer. The Civil War left us John Brown, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, Marching through Georgia, etc., but these, like America and Hail, Columbia, though they are usually called "American folk-songs," are not dependent for perpetuation upon oral tradition. Some battle and campaign songs, songs of special events, and elegiac pieces have survived from the Civil War. A number hvae been salvaged in Missouri by Professor H. M. Belden, and in the Cumberland Moun­tains by Professor H. G. Shearin. But songs of this






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III