Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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more and more zeal and success in every quarter of the world, under the appreciation of its great liter­ary as well as historical value. Professor Child has been governed by the strictest conscientiousness in giving his version of the popular ballads, not only going to the original sources like the Percy folio, the manuscript materials for The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border preserved at Abbotsford, Motherwell's note books, and other manuscripts and stall copies, but reprinting them with all their omis­sions and defects, not supplying the most obvious missing word or even letter without indicating it. He has not followed the example of the strictly faithful editors of the ancient ballads like Mother­well in presenting alone the most complete and perfect specimen, nor allowed himself like others, substantially faithful, like Scott and Jamieson, to collate a number of copies derived from different sources into a harmonious whole,-but gives each version distinct in itself, even to a solitary variant verse. It is one of the commonplaces of the his­tory of English and Scottish ballad poetry that most of its collectors and editors from Bishop Percy downward have felt themselves entitled to amend and correct the imperfect fragments to a greater or less degree, supplying missing lines or stanzas to connect or complete the story, and that this has re­sulted sometimes in the most incongruous patchwork
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