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I knew she was a-talkin\
But I thought she was in fun, But I had to wear the ball and chain
Before I was twenty-one.
I'll play cards with a white man
And I'll play with him fair; I'll play the hat right off of his head,
And I'll play him for his hair.
I've gambled away my pocket book;
I've gambled away my comb; I've gambled away all the money I had,
And now I will go home.
There are simple dance times, such as "Citico," "Shady Grove," and "Muskrat," to which a mere shuffling step is measured, the couples dancing in an "eight-handed set."
Romantic love as a motif is almost altogether absent throughout the mountaineer's music. It is a subject of which he is very shy. His passion is not a thing to be proclaimed from the housetops. Once married, his affection is a beautiful thing, faithful to whatever end; but he does not sing of it.
The young men and maidens have, however, something that stands to them instead of love-songs—almost, one suspects, instead of wooing. These are the "kissing games," half dance, half romping child-play. They are next of kin to the old May-pole dance—real playing at love—games in which much choosing of partners takes place, and many kisses are taken openly, in wholesome lightness of heart as part of the game. These are such games as the children of more civilized societies play; but the mountain children rarely organize their frolics into games; their sport is scarcely more elaborate than the romping of colts in a pasture, or the imitative pranks of monkeys. They are half-grown lads and girls who sing these songs, and tall bachelors are not in the least ashamed of joining in with wholehearted abandon.
Hit's over the river to feed my sheep; Hit's over the river, Charley;