Songs & Ballads Of The Maine Lumberjacks

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

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The Twa Sisters
Taken down by H. M. R., in Calais, Maine, and printed by Barry, with another version, with the music, in the Journal of American Folk-Lore, 1905, XVIII, 130-132. This ballad is incomplete; but corresponds in plot, except in minor details, to the first part of "The Twa Sisters," No. 10, in Child's collection of English and Scottish Popular Ballads. The complete ballad is probably not yet extinct as tradition in the British Isles. It has been found, Child affirms, in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, There are also Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Faroe, and Swedish versions. In all complete and uncorrupted forms of the ballad, according to Child, "either some part of the body of the drowned girl is taken to furnish a musical instrument, a harp or a viol, or the instrument is wholly made from the body." The frame of the harp, for instance, is made of the breast-bone and the pins of the finger joints. In the more felicitous version, the girl's lover takes three locks of her yellow hair with which to string his harp. Two variants and a fragment are printed by Belden, Journal of American Folk-Lore y tqo, XIX, 233-235. For other American texts, see Campbell and Sharp, English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, pp. 16-19; Sharp, Folk-Songs of English Origin, 2d Series, pp. 1821; Cox, The School Journal and Educator (West Virginia), 1916, XLIV, 428, 441-442; Child, I, 137; Pound, American Ballads and Songs [1922], pp. 11-13.
I There was a man lived in the West,
Bow down, bow down. There was a man lived in the West,
The bow is bent to me, There was a man lived in the West, He loved his youngest daughter best.
Prove true, prove true,
Oh, my love, prove true to me!

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