Songs & Ballads Of The Maine Lumberjacks

A Collection Of Traditional & Folk Songs of the area with Lyrics & Commentaries -online book

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xii                    Introduction
as in "The Flying Cloud"; or banter, as in "John Ferguson's Crew"; and love without tragedy, as in "Mary Aclon." Elemental emotions and simple interests, brave deeds, adventure, work, joy, sorrow, love, life's romance, life's tragedy — these are the burden of their songs. They are typical and descriptive of the lumberjack, the seaman, the warrior, and common folk. Thoroughly human, they touch all hearts. Sir Philip Sidney, referring to the old English and Scottish popular ballads, voices a widely held sentiment, frequently applicable to these American ballads, when he says: "Certainly I must confess my own barbarousness. I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet."
The sheaf of songs and ballads comprising this volume I gathered in Maine during a long residence there while professor in the State University. Their resemblance to the mediaeval English and Scottish popular ballads aroused my interest. At first thought, it seemed alto­gether unlikely that conditions in Maine would be fav­orable to the growth of ballads of the old type. Such favorable conditions, nevertheless, were found to have existed for over half a century. Maine, be it recalled, cov­ers a vast area: one of its counties, Aroostook, is as large as the State of Massachusetts. There are large portions of the state — wooded tracts, remote and somewhat iso­lated from civilization — where, particularly in the lum­ber districts, the people are crude and primitive, and withal, be it said, big-hearted and stalwart — an epic age, as it were, neighboring modern life only, with hills,

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