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AFRICAN MUSIC.
253
seem to enjoy an immunity which seems to be restricted to themselves and blacksmiths; and while a stranger is anxiously shading his eyes from the shower of hard maize grains, the threshers themselves do not give a thought to the safety of their eyes, but sing at the top of their voices, pound away at the corn cobs, and make the grains fly in all directions, as if the chorus of the song were the chief object in life, and the preser-vatipn of their eyesight were unworthy of a thought."*
The war-songs of the Kaffirs are fiery and exciting, though in a less degree than those of New Zealand.
Their poetry is full of metaphor, and alliter­ative enough to be admitted into the opera of the future. The participants sit in a circle, sometimes three or four deep, with their knees well drawn up, and sing, beating rhythmic accom­paniment upon the ground, twirling their assagais (javelins), and occasionally enlivening the pro­ceedings with an ear-piercing whistle, or deafening shout.
We give an English version (Mr. Shooter's) of two of these, merely premising that much of the native beauty is said to be lost in the transpo­sition to a foreign tongue.
•Wood's Nat. History, t. 2, p. 288.






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