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Twas twelve long months, about Christmastide,
The night being cold and long, The three little ones came running home,
And into their mother's arms.
She set a table before them soon,
On it spread bread and wine, "Now, come along my little babes,
Come, eat and drink of mine." "I may not eat of your bread, my mother,
Nor drink none of your wine."
She fixed a bed in the back room side,
On it spread a clean sheet, And over the top spread a golden skirt
For to make a sweeter sleep.
"Awake, awake," said the oldest one,
Now soon the cock will crow. I see our Saviour smiling down,
And to Him we must go."
Some of the best instrumental music is of a descriptive nature, reflecting vividly the incidents of every-day life. Peculiar fingerings of the strings, close harmonies, curious snaps and slides and twangs, and the accurate observations of an ear attuned to all the sounds of nature, enter largely into the composition of these. In the "Cackling Hen" the cackle, hard, high, and cheerfully prosaic, is remarkably well rendered, as may be easily seen.
"Big Jim" is a dance tune in which the major melody drops suddenly into a running repetition of two or three minor notes, beautifully like the drumming of rain on a cabin roof.
In the "Fox-Chase," the baying of the hounds, from the eager start of the pack as they take up the trail to the last lingering yelp, after the quarry is treed, is given by the banjo accompaniment. The spoken "patter" runs along irrespective of rhythm, interpolated irregularly with the hunting-cry. It is almost impossible to reduce the effect to musical notation; the emphasis is all on the hound's deep note; the thumb-string, while almost imperceptible to the ear, still plays an important part in producing the rhythm.