A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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the money was paid to him, and the daughter of the woodman pledged her word that the tree should stand as long as she lived.
11 This incident made a deep impression on me, and I suggested it to Morris as a fine subject for poetic treatment. He took the hint and wrote the now well-known poem :—
Oh, woodman, spare that tree,
Touch not a single bough ! In youth it sheltered me,
And I'll protect it now—
which I immediately set to music."
The song caught on with startling rapidity in America, and afterwards in England, becoming immensely popular. But if Russell's assertion that he sold the song for a couple of dollars is correct, he was considerably out of pocket over the transaction !
As an instance of how this song impressed people who heard it, Russell relates an occasion when he was singing it in the North of England. At the close a gentleman in the audience got up and said excitedly, "Was the tree spared, sir?' " It was," said Russell. " Thank God for that! " the other answered with a sigh of heartfelt relief as he sat down again.
"Woodman, spare that tree" was followed by "A life on the ocean wave," which also enjoyed a good deal of popularity. The words were
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