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THE RELATION OF STORY AND SONG.
The rise of our music and poetry is lost in an irrevocable past; but, as the operation of psychical laws is universal, it may be that some of the influ­ences that have been operative in the growth of these arts can be discovered through the study of native American story and song, born of a race living in a state of culture antecedent to that in which our earliest literature and music flourished.
Within a generation diligent search has begun among some of the Indian tribes, to ascertain, through a sympathetic study of rites, ceremonies, and customs, what were the red man's ideals, what his beliefs, and what his actual attainments. Already this labour is bearing fruit. Scholars are recog­nising that the aboriginal conditions on this conti-ment throw light on the slow development of human society and its institutions; and the time seems not distant when students of man's culture will turn hither for evidence needed to fill gaps or to explain phases in the development of art,— art in form, in colour, and in melody, — for, it has been well said, America is the "fossil bed'' where are preserved stages of progress unrecorded in written history.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III