Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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84                      FOLK SONG OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO.
The tune is more plaintive than the lay of the whippoorwill or the call of the sorrowing dove. Such is the meaning of "moan and never tire/' and it seemed to inspire the preacher with heavenly zeal and celestial vision. It is not likely that this shout sprang complete from the soul of any single creator, as Minerva from the brain of Jupiter. This is unthinkable, for it is too comprehensive, too full of meaning, too purposeful and too finished to be of extemporaneous birth. The beginnings and essentials were doubtless of a moment's inspiration, but most assuredly the song complete is a product of development. This process of evolution is clear. While this song is apparently a picture of Heaven created by the Negro's imagina�tion, it is more than that; it is a consolation to the slaves in their distress and the expression of the firm expectation that freedom was coming.
The song, "Bright Sparkles in the Church Yard," is the inco�herent wailing of a delirious soul suffering from the remorse of way�wardness. The most authentic and reliable history names a wayward girl as the producer of this song. She has left the paths laid out for her by her sainted mother, and the wild, riotous fires have con�sumed her life forces and brought her down through sickness, pain, and sorrow to the brink of death. In her delirium she cries out:
"May the Lord, He will be glad of me, In the Heaven, He'll rejoice."
Her loneliness with the thought that the world cares little or nothing for her, brings her to the last resort. The Lord cares for her, maybe; maybe, He'll be glad to see her, even if the world is cold and cruel. The fireflies flashing in the darkness of the graveyard add to her loneliness in the summer night.
"Bright sparkles in the churchyard,
Give light into the tomb; Bright summer, spring's over� Sweet flowers in their bloom/'
The springtime of her life has passed into summer, and summer, with its flowers, has withered and gone.
"My mother once, my mother twice, my mother, she'll rejoice, In the Heaven once, in the Heaven twice, she'll rejoice."








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