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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46
NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
undoubtedly a case of oral transmission. Her use of such expressions as "apple bay" for "dapple gray" is naively interesting. This is more like version H, No. 4 in Child's Collection, than any other.
The change to the first person here is noteworthy. While one dis­tinguishing trait of a ballad is its impersonality, the Negroes are fond of the dramatic "I."
In the course of my search for u ballets and reels," I was given a song learned from black mammies, which is obviously not of Negro origin, but dates back to England centuries ago. I located it through the aid of the " Analytical Index to the Ballad Entries in the Register of the London Company of Stationers," by Professor Hyder E. Rollins, of New York University, as having been registered Novem­ber 21, 1580, and spoken of as A Moste Strange Weddinge of the Frogge and the Mouse. Professor Kittredge, of Harvard, mentions its antiquity and interest in the Journal of American Folk-lore, xxxv, 394. This lively old tale of the Frog Went A-Courtiri is widely current among colored people in the South, used by many a ban-dannaed mammy to reconcile her restless charge to slumber. The version was given me by Dorothy Renick, of Waco, Texas, as sung for her often in her childhood, by Negro mammies who, she said, never sang the stanzas twice in the same of order, but varied them to suit the whim the moment.
Frog Went A-Courtest'
Frog went a-courtin', he did ride,
Uh — hum! Frog went a-courtin', he did ride, Sword and pistol by his side,
Uh — hum!
Rode up to Lady Mouse's hall,
Uh — hum! Rode up to Lady Mouse's hall, Gave a loud knock and gave a loud call,
Uh — hum!
Lady Mouse come a-trippin' down,
Uh — hum! Lady Mouse came a-trippin' down, Green glass slippers an' a silver gown,
Uh — hum!
Froggie knelt at Mousie's knee,
Uh — hum! Froggie knelt at Mousie's knee, Said, "Pray, Miss Mouse, will you marry me?"
Uh —humf