Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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and longing, of yearning over the happiness of days gone by;
They hunt no more for the possum and the coon,
On the meadow, the hill and the shore, They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by the old cabin door. The day goes by, like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow where all was delight, The time has to come when the darkies have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!
The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the darkey must go, A few more days and the trouble all will end
In the field where the sugar-canes grow. A few more days for to tote the weary load,
No matter, 'twill never be light, A few more days till we totter on the road,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!
Weep no more, my lady,
Oh, weep no more to-day, We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home.
For the old Kentucky home, far away !
It will be observed that Foster has forsaken the crude negro dialect of the early songs. Although this is a negro song, and the words ate supposed to issue from the lips of a negro, the language is the white man's language. It is a noteworthy fact that from this time on, Stephen Foster never again made use of the negro dialect, with the exception of the songs, "Glendy Burke," written in il860, and "Don't Bet Your Money on the Shanghai," n 1861. "Old Black Joe," one of the most successful of the negro songs, like "My Old Kentucky Home," is in the language of the white man. It should also be observed that the word "nigger" has been supplanted by "darkey." This change had taken place gradually, and for a time he used both words, but now he had defi­nitely given up "nigger" and never used it again.
In this connection it is interesting to note that the Foster family were all ardent Democrats and heartily opposed to the Abolition movement.

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