Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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and since Memory works largely through Associa­tion ; one readily sees that the putting of the Rhymes into a story, descriptive, or striking thought form, was the only thing that could cause their being kept alive. It was only through their being composed thus that Association was able to assist Memory in recalling them. Those carrying another form carried their death warrant.
Now let us look a little more intimately into how the Rhymes were probably composed. In collecting them, I often had the same Rhyme given to me over and over again by different individuals. Most of the Rhymes were given by different individuals in fragmentary form. In case of all the Rhymes thus received, there would always be a half stanza, or a whole stanza which all contributors' versions held in common. As examples: in "Promises of Freedom," all contributors gave the lines—
"My ole Mistiss promise me Wen she died, she'd set me free."
In "She Hugged Me and Kissed Me," the second stanza was given by all. In "Old Man Know-Ail," the first two lines of the last otanza came from all w7ho gave the Rhyme. The writer terms these parts of the individual Rhymes, seemingly known to all