ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLK-SONGS

A Collection Of Negro Traditional & Folk Songs with Sheet Music Lyrics & Commentaries - online book

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TRADITIONAL SONGS AND BALLADS              37
(Sister to Brother) Yes, I 've come, I 've come. I have not brought your gold. I will not pay your fee. 'T is my intention to see you hung Here all under this willow tree.
(Spies Lover) Lover, have you come? And have you come at last? And have you brought my gold? And will you pay my fee? Or is it your intention to see me hung Here all under this willow tree?
(To the Loved One, his Answer) Yes, I 've come, I 've come. I Ve brought your gold, I'll pay your fee.
'T is not my intention to see you hung Here all under this willow tree.
(Locked arms and walked happily away)
I asked?Lucy where she learned that, and she said, "Oh, the col-ed folks sing it. We've known it always." When I inquired if she got it from a book or from hearing some lite person sing it, she answered:" No, us colored folks jes' know it. 's jes' been sorter handed down amongst us. I don't know when I irned it."
She told me that Negro children sometimes made a little play of it Ld acted it out in parts. I was interested in her dramatic and vivid esentation of it, and in the fact that it was obviously not a natu-1 part of the Negro repertoire; but the significance of the general lowledge of it among the Negroes did not impress me so much then later. She could not give me any explanation for the girl's sentence the gallows. "It jes'happened so." Nor did she know any plau-Dle reason why her relatives should spurn her, and her True Love ■ove faithful when her own mother rejected her. All she knew was iat it was an old song that they had always sung. Students of folk-song will readily recognize this as the old English illad, The Maid Freed from the Gallows, the American version of hich has the title, The Hangman's Tree. The English version, o. 95 in Child's Collection, is from the "Percy Papers," given by ie Reverend P. Parsons, of Wye, in 1770, from oral tradition. The