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sung. Occasionally we get a tantalizing glimpse of another lyrical England, the folk dancing and singing their own lays; but no Autolycus brings these to us in his basket. Even the miracle plays had not despised folk-song; unfortunately the writers are content to mention the songs, like our Acts of Congress, only by title. In the comedy » called (The Longer Thou Livest the More Foole Thou Art,' there are snatches of such songs; and a famous list, known to all scholars, is given by Laneham in a letter from Kenilworth in 1575, where he tells of certain songs, «all ancient,” owned by one Captain Cox. Again, nobody ever praised songs of the people more sincerely than Shakespeare has praised them; and we may be certain that he used them for the stage. Such is the 'Willow Song' that Desdemona sings,- an “old thing,” she calls it; and such perhaps the song in (As You Like It,'—'It Was a Lover and His Lass.' Nash is credited with the use of folk-songs in his (Summer's Last Will and Testament'; but while the pretty verses about spring and the tripping lines, A-Maying,' have such a note, nothing could be further from the quality of folk-song than the solemn and beautiful Adieu, Farewell, Earth's Bliss.' In Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle, however, Merrythought sings some undoubted snatches of popular lyric, just as he sings stanzas from the traditional ballad; for example, his
Go from my window, love, go;
Go from my window, my dear;
You cannot be lodged here,
is quoted with variations in other plays, and was a favorite of the time, and like many a ballad appears in religious parody. A modern variant, due to tradition, comes from Norwich; the third and fourth lines ran:
For the wind is in the west,
From the time of Henry VIII. a pretty song is preserved of this same class :
Westron wynde, when wyll thou blow!
The smalle rain downe doth rayne;
Or I in my bed agayne!
This sort of song between the lovers, one without and one within, occurs in French and German at a very early date, and is probably much older than any records of it; as serenade, it found great favor
The music in Chappell, page 141.
with poets of the city and the court, and is represented in English by Sidney's beautiful lines, admirable for purposes of comparison with the folk-song:
«Who is it that this dark night Underneath my window plaineth ?”
«It is one who, from thy sight Being, ah, exiled! disdaineth
Every other vulgar light.” The zeal of modern collectors has brought together a mass of material which passes for folk-song. None of it is absolutely communal, for the conditions of primitive lyric have long since been swept away; nevertheless, where isolated communities have retained something of the old homogeneous and simple character, the spirit of folk-song lingers in survival. From Great Britain, from France. and particularly from Germany, where circumstances have favored this survival, a few folk-songs may now be given in inadequate translation. To go further afield, to collect specimens of Italian, Russian, Servian, modern Greek, and so on, would need a book. The songs which follow are sufficiently representative for the purpose.
A pretty little song, popular in Germany to this day, needs no pompous support of literary allusion to explain its simple pathos; still, it is possible that one meets here a distant echo of the tragedy of obstacles told in romance of Hero and Leander. When one hears this song, one understands where Heine found the charm of his best lyrics:
OVER a waste of water
The bonnie lover crossed,
But all his love was lost.
Fain were I now with thee;
Dear love, twixt thee and me!! Even more of a favorite is the song which represents two girls in the harvest-field, one happy in her love, the other deserted; the noise of the sickle makes a sort of chorus. Uhland placed with the two stanzas of the song a third stanza which really belongs to another tune; the latter, however, may serve to introduce the situation :
I HEARD a sickle rustling,
Ay, rustling through the corn:
Because her love was lorn. * Böhme, with music, page 94.
«Oh let the sickle rustle!
I care not how it go;
"And hast thou found a lover
Where clover and violets blow?
Two songs may follow, one from France, one from Scotland, bewailing the death of lover or husband. The Lowlands of Holland' was published by Herd in his Scottish Songs.)1 A clumsy attempt was made to fix the authorship upon a certain young widow; but the song belies any such origin. It has the marks of tradition:
My love has built a bonny ship, and set her on the sea,
My love he built another ship, and set her on the main,
There shall neither coif come on my head nor comb come in
my hair; There shall neither coal nor candle-light come in my bower
mair; Nor will I love another one until the day I die, For I never loved a love but one, and he's drowned in the sea.
«O haud your tongue, my daughter dear, be still and be con
1 Quoted by Child, (Ballads,' iv. 318.
The French song has a more tender note:-
The sea is rolling fair above;
Go, little bird, and fear no harm,-
Say that to him I stretch my arms.
BACK from the wedding-feast,
My favor had to pray! See Tiersot, "La Chanson Populaire,' p. 103, with the music. The final verses, simple as they are, are not rendered even remotely well. They run:
Que je suis sa fidèle amie,
Et que vers lui je tends les bras. · Tiersot, p. 90. In many versions there is further complication with king and queen and the lover. This song is extremely popular in Canada.
The corresponding Scottish song, beautiful enough for any land or age, is the well-known Waly, Waly':
OH WALY, waly, up the bank,
And waly, waly, down the brae,
Where I and my love wont to gae.
I lean'd my back unto an aik,
I thought it was a trusty tree;
Sae my true-love did lightly' me.
Oh waly, waly, but love be bonny
A little time, while it is new;
And fades away like morning dew.
Oh wherefore should I busk my head ?
Or wherefore should I kame my hair?
And says he'll never love me mair.
Now Arthur's Seat shall be my bed,
The sheets shall ne'er be fyled by me;
Since my true-love has forsaken me.
Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blaw
And shake the green leaves off the tree?
For of my life I am weary.
'Tis not the frost that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaw's inclemency;
But my love's heart grown cauld to me.
Lightly (a verb) is to treat with contempt, to undervalue. Compare the burden quoted by Chappell, p. 458, and very old:
The bonny broome, the well-favored broome,
The broome blooms faire on hill;
And I working her will ?