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The Old Songs.—There are no songs like the old songs. In ancient times, that is to say, in the half-forgotten days of our youth, a species of song existed which exists no more. It was not as the mournful ballads of these days, which seem to record the gloomy utterances of a strange young woman who has wandered into the magic scene in " Der Frei-schutz," and who mixes up the moanings of her pas­sion with descriptions of the sights and sounds she there finds around her. It was of quite another
stamp. It dealt with a phraseology of sentiment peculiar to itself, a "patter," as it were, which came to be universally recognized in drawing rooms. It spoke of maidens plighting their troth, of Phillis enchant­ing her lover with her varied moods, of marble halls in which true love still remained the same. It apostrophized the shells of ocean; it tenderly de­scribed the crises of a particular heroine's life; it told of how the lover of pretty Jane would have her meet him in the evening. Well, all the world was
content to accept this conventional phraseology, and, behind the paraphernalia of "enchanted moonbeams," and "fondest glances," and "adoring sighs," per­ceived and loved the sentiment that could find no simpler utterance. Some of us, hearing the half-for­gotten songs again, suddenly forget the odd language, and the old pathos springs up again as fresh as in the days when our first love had just come home from boarding-school; while others, who have noold-stand-ing acquaintance with these memorable songs, have
somehow got attracted to them by the mere quair.tness of their speech and simplicity of their airs.—Black. Our unconsciousness is no proof of the absence of sound. There are, doubtless, sounds in Nature ol which we have no conception. Could our sense be quickened, what celestial harmony might thrill us! Professor Cooke beautifully says: "The very air around us may be resounding with the hallelujahs of the heavenly host, while our dull ears hear nothing but the feeble accents of our own broken prayers."

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