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You remember that we have spoken in a previous chapter of a song La Glu, by Richepin. The song told us of a woman who sent out her lover to kill his mother and to bring his mother's heart to her dog.
However tragically the song may be inter­preted, the tragic episode must appear before us as a vision of the interpreter; he will not, because he could not, impress us as if the trag­edy he visualizes were his own action.
Now to illustrate the difference in the ex­terior and interior form of expression of tragedy, I shall discuss with you the interpretation of two songs. Both belong to my old repertoire, though they are modern songs. They treat of two Parisian types, low types of the Paris slums.
I have chosen these two songs because they give me the opportunity, the supreme oppor­tunity, of a tragic episode which could hardly be surpassed in tragic intensity. It is Death! Not the natural death which relieves from ill­ness, not the natural death which concludes peacefully a long life — useful to ourselves or to others. It is violent death, not the sudden death of accident either, but the violent death by the guillotine, the premeditated, sudden, pitiless ending of a strong, youthful life pushed

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