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the cry of the night watchman calling out the hours.
I began with: II est six heures! after the first verse, indicating that six long hours will still have to pass, before the Divine Mother will be relieved from her pains. The refrain after the second verse was: II est sept heures ! and so on. Sometimes, not to make it too monotonous, the call is heard after two verses.
Naturally the atmosphere will not be created by having the hours shouted out with a round, ample, generous voice, as a classic singer might be tempted to do. The call must come as if from far distance, drawn out, as you hear some­times in Oriental countries, the call to prayer from a minaret of a mosque.
The original version of my song contained, moreover, no final dramatic climax. It ended with Joseph finding the stable where he could shelter Mary.
The great poetic emotion was lacking, no bright or magnificent color of glory ended the pains of the Divine Mother; there was no triumphant apotheosis.
Neither the coloring of voice nor the creation of atmosphere proved to be sufficient. I had to amplify the original text by adding to it a verse of another legend of the same period, the

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