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              45
As I went on I cry an' say,
"The water's up to my knees! Oh, take me home! I 'm afeared to be drowned
In this salt water sea, water sea,
In this salt water sea."
He pull me on an' say, "Sweetheart,
Lay all your fears aside. We soon will be across it now
We 've reached the deepest tide, deepest tide,
We've reached the deepest tide."
I sank down in the stream an' cry,
"The water's up to my waist." He pull at me an' drug me on;
He say, "Make haste, make haste, make haste."
He say, "Make haste, make haste."
I cry to him, "The water's up to my neck."
"Lay all your fears aside. We soon will be across it now,
We 've reached the deepest tide, deepest tide,
We've reached the deepest tide."
I caught hoi' of de tail of my milk-white steed,
He was drowned wid his apple bay. I pulled out of de water an' landed at my mother's house
An hour befo' de day, de day,
An hour befo' de day.
My mother say, "Pretty Polly, who is dat,
A-movin' softily?" An' I say to my Polly, "Pretty Polly,
Don't you tell no tales on me, on me,
Don't you tell no tales on me."
An' my mother say, "Is dat you, Polly?
Up so early befo' day?" "Oh, dat mus' be a kitty at yo' door,"
Is all my Polly say, Polly say,
Is all my Polly say.
There were gaps in the singing, for she said she could not remember it all, she was "so ol' now." I asked her where she learned it; she told me, "My mammy used to sing hit when I was a child. I doan' know where she larned hit."
She could not read or write, nor could her mother, and so this was