Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

A Biography Of America's Folk-Song Composer By Harold Vincent Milligan

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66               STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER
evidence is a statement in Stephen Foster's own hand­writing of the amounts received on thirty-six of his com­positions, including many of the most popular ones. This statement, which is now in the Congressional Library at Washington, is dated January 27th, 1857, and contains the following foot-note:
In the amounts received I have included $15 on the two songs "Old Folks at Home" and "Farewell, Lilly," from E. P. Christy, also SIO on each of the songs, "Old Dog Tray," "Oh Boys," [sic] "Massa's in de Cold, Cold Ground," and "Ellen Bayne."
As the amount received for "Oh Boys, Carry Me 'Long" is correct, it seems hardly probable that Stephen would have been so far wrong concerning the sum he received for selling the authorship of "The Old Folks at Home." At any rate, whatever Christy may have paid for the privilege of being known even for a short time as the composer of "The Old Folks at Home," it was an honor which did not long remain his, as later editions of the song contained the name of the real com­poser, and there has never been any doubt as to its true authorship.
The other songs of this year (1851) are fair examples of the sentimental song of the period, but are not of great interest to-day. One of them, "Wilt Thou Be Gone, Love," is in the form of a duet, the words being paraphrased from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet":
Wilt thou be gone, love, gone, love, from me? Stay, 'tis the nightingale that sings in yonder tree, Deem not 'tis the lark, love, day is not yet near, Believe me, 'tis the nightingale whose song hath pierced thine ear.
This is one of the most elaborate of Foster's composi­tions, and was no doubt warbled tenderly by ante­bellum Romeos and Juliets.
Another song copyrighted in this year is "I Would Not Die in Summer Time," "an answer to the new and beautiful song, 'I Would Not Die in Spring Time',







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