Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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§18            FOLK-SONGS OF ROUMANIA.
the mind at the time of the recital. As often in the old Scotch ballads, it adds a weird and touch­ing effect like a dominant note in music, or a sym­bolical background to a picture.
A marked feature in these folk-songs of Rouma-nia, as in those of all other nations, is the place which fighting has in them, the songs of the sol­diers who are going to battle for their native land, and the emotions of heroism, courage, and self-devotion ; but as in all these songs there is an underlying element of melancholy, mysticism, and refined and delicate feeling, quite different from the savage ferocity, heartiness, and humor of more northern nations, and there is no trace whatever of the farcical rudeness and cunning which is attached to some of the heroes of the Scandinavian ballads. The sentiments expressed are those of singular re­finement for a primitive people, and the general tone of the soldier songs is one of sadness and con­tent in death, rather than of the fierce joy and hope of the conflict, as in the following characteristic specimen: —
A spindle of hazel-wood had I ;
Into the mill-stream it fell one day
The water has brought it me back no more.
As he lay a-dying the soldier spake — " I am content.
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