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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NEGRO BALLADS
95
The following sorrowful lines were given by Mrs. Busbee, of North Carolina, who says that they are sung by both whites and Negroes in her state. The diction and sentence arrangement do not seem par­ticularly negro in type, though it might be the composition of some colored preacher who loved high-sounding words and stilted sentence structure, while on the other hand, the intense emotion and the strong religious sentiment are characteristic of Negroes, and so the ballad may be theirs. At all events, it is theirs by adoption.
The Lost Youth
I saw a youth the other day,
All in his bloom look fair and gay;
He trifled all his time away And dropped into eternity. Oh, my soul! my soul!
While lying on his dying bed,
Eternity he seemed to dread. He said, "Oh, Lord, I see my state,
But I'm afraid I'm come too late. Oh, my soul! my soul!"
His kindly sisters standing by
Saw their dear brother groan and die.
He said, "Oh, sisters, pray for me, For I am lost in eternity. Oh, my soul! my soul!"
His loving parents standing round,
Their tears were falling to the ground.
He said, "Oh, parents, farewell! By deeds I am drug to hell. Oh, my soul! my soul!"
I think I heard some children say
They never heard their parents pray.
And think, dear parents, you must die, And like this youth, you, too, may cry, "Oh, my soul! my soul!"
Numerous other ballads of the Negroes might be given if space permitted, but these wiU serve to illustrate the types, both of the slavery-time ballads and of the present. The subjects of song change as social and economic changes come, but the spirit of song persists, and the Negro to-day, as before the war, loves to preserve in picturing lines the events and characters that take his fancy, whether they be







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III