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Charley he is the very one
That sold his hat for brandy. Your weevily wheat isn't fit to eat,
Nor neither is your barley; We'll have some flour in half an hour
To make a cake for Charley.
It is not improbable that the "Charley" of these songs is the Prince Charlie of Jacobite ballads. "Over the River, Charley," may or may not be an echo of "Over the Waters to Charlie," for a large proportion of the mountain people are descended from Scotch Highlanders who left their homes on account of the persecutions which harassed them during Prince Charlie's time, and began life anew in the wilderness of the Alleghenies.
The mountaineers sing many ballads of old England and Scotland. Their taste in music has no doubt been guided by these, which have come down from their ancestors. Indeed, so prone are they to cling to tradition that it is often difficult to distinguish these from their own modern compositions, especially as many have been recast, words, names of localities, and obsolete or unfamiliar phrases having been changed to fit their comprehension—Chester town being substituted for London town, and the like. Here is one exactly as it was sung to me by two young girls in the mountains:
The Ladie Bright
It was a ladie bright;
Each child she had was three; She sent them off to a Northern State
For to learn their gramarie.
They had been gone but a little time— Two months, perhaps, or three—
Till sickness spread all over the land And swept her babes away.
She prayed if there was a King in Heaven
Who chose to wear a crown, That He would send them home that night
Or in the morning soon.