Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH BALLADS. 91
Oh, oh, if my young babe was born, And set upon the nurse's knee ;
And I mysell were dead and gone, For a maid again I '11 never be.
The burden of this lament, its simple passion appealing to the popular heart and its melody holding the ear, has been perpetuated through the generations since it was first sung. It has been printed in all forms and variations in the broad­sides and penny song books, as well as in the criti­cal collections of poetry, solaced the sentimental feeling of the dairy maid as well as haunted the vision of Charles Lamb, and its refrain may be heard to-day in the burlesque choruses of the negro minstrel stage. A very interesting example is given by Professor Child of the way in which an old ballad of perfect form and construction may be made incoherent and shapeless in a broadside copy, mere matter of " silly sooth " for old age or primi­tive ignorance, without losing the fine flower of pathos and feeling, or the grace of expression, in its disconnected and ejaculatory stanzas. It is also interesting as an example, of which many others could be given, of the effect of oral tradition pass­ing from minds of native strength, if without edu­cation, down to and through those of a lower order of intelligence, from whom now only the debris of the ancient songs and ballads can be obtained.
Previous Contents Next







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