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Music from the West.                   203
regulate the proceedings of those who contrive such mysterious matters as the music and the doings of our Christmas pantomimes, because among these occur such directions as ' Hurry,' ' Lively Trips,' and others.
If something such as has been described was the ancient harp—if such may have been the traditions by which it was ruled- -what were the harpers? A great number of them were blind men : the harp has always been an instrument dear to the blind, because there is an intimacy in its strings to the player, and it is one among the thousand admirable compensa­tions in this unequal world of ours, that the blind seem to be born musicians. And many of these Irish harpers, Bunting tells us, were poor relations belonging to good families, who had to make out their livelihoods in a fashion more independent than was the life of the 'Led Captain,' who sat at the foot of the squire's table to laugh at the squire's jokes, to carve the squire's haunch, and to live by the squire's bounty. These Irish harpers could give an equivalent for shelter, food, and countenance. They could give a grace to the festivities of rough queer carousal by their music. They were in request everywhere, more than I con-

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