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FOLK-SONGS OF THE CIVIL WAR. 69
Go to the field where honor calls
And win your lady there. Remember that our brightest smiles
Are for the true and brave, And that our tears are all for those
Who fill a soldier's grave.
The folk-songs of the civil war, in which millions were engaged and which lasted for four years, do not compare in quality with those which much lighter struggles have produced, notably the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland. The Americans were not a singing people in the bent of their genius, and the conditions of life and civilization were not favorable to this form of expression. The newspaper had taken the place of the ballad as a means of influencing the public mind, and poetry had passed from the people to the literary artists. So when the great crisis of the civil war came, affecting all minds and all hearts, the people were unfamiliar with this mode of expression, and the literary artists had not the power to interpret their feelings except in their own artificial forms without touching the heart or giving vital meaning to the voice. The accident of the combination of genius with this sincerity, which produced La Marseillaise and Der Wacht am Rhein, did not occur, so that the great struggle is without an equally great song embodying and interpreting the