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              41
" Hangman, hangman, slack on the line, Slack on the line a little while. I think I see my true love coming With money to pay my fine.
" Oh, True Love, True Love, did you bring me any money, Money to pay my fine? Or did you just come here to see me die Upon this hangman's line? "
" True Love, I got gold and silver, Money to pay your fine. How could I bear to see you die Upon this hangman's line?"
I found another version which differs somewhat in minor details from Mr. Swain's, but like his has the central character a man in­stead of a woman. This was given to me by Mrs. Esther Finlay Hoevey, of New Orleans, through the courtesy of Miss Richardson, of Sophy Newcomb College. This was remembered from the singing of an old Negro woman, who had in her youth been put up on the slave block in Mobile and sold down the river. In this, as in Mr. Swain's version, the condemned is a man and True Love a woman.
" Hangman, hangman, slack the rope, Slack the rope a while; For I think I see my father coming, Coming for many a mile.
" Oh, my father, have you paid my fine, Brought your gold along? Or have you come here to-night for to see me hung, Hung on the gallows tree? "
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No, my son, I have not paid your fine,
I've brought no gold along, But I 've just come to see you hung,
Hung on the gallows tree."
Hangman, hangman, slack the rope,
Slack the rope a while; For I think I see my mother coming,
Coming for many a mile.
Oh, my mother, have you paid my fine,
Brought your gold along? Or have you come here to-night for to see me hung,
Hung on the gallows tree? "
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