Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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NEGRO FOLK RHYMES
lowing our Civil War, it was common for a young Negro child, about to engage in a doubtful venture, to hear his mother call out to him the Negro Rhyme recorded by Joel Chandler Harris, in the Negro story, "The End of Mr. Bear":
"Tree stan' high, but honey mighty sweet— Watch dem bees wid stingers on der feet."
These lines commonly served to recall the whole story, it being the Rabbit's song in that story, and the child stopped whatever he was doing. Other and better examples of such Rhymes are "Young Master and Old Master," "The Alabama Way," and "You Had Better Mind Master," found in our collection.
The warnings were commonly such as would help the slave to escape more successfully the lash, and to live more comfortably under slave conditions. I would not for once intimate that I entertain the thought that the ignorant slave carefully and philo­sophically studied his surroundings, reasoned it to be a fine method to warn children through poetry, composed verse, and like a wise man proceeded to use it. Of course thinking preceded the making of the Rhyme, but a conscious system of making verses
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