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Slave Songs of the United States:
Electronic Edition.

Allen, William Francis, 1830-1889, Charles Pickard Ware, 1840-1921,
and Lucy McKim Garrison 1842-1877.


Funding from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition supported the electronic publication of this title.


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First edition, 2000
ca. 275K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
2000.

        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Source Description:
(title page) Slave Songs of the United States.
William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison
xliv, 115 p.
New York
A. Simpson & Co.
1867

Call Number M1670 .A42 (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

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SLAVE SONGS
OF THE
UNITED STATES.

New York:
A. SIMPSON & CO.,
1867.


Page verso

ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by A. SIMPSON & CO.,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the Southern District of New York.

AGATHYNIAN PRESS, 60 Duane Street, New York.


Page i

        The musical capacity of the negro race has been recognized for so many years that it is hard to explain why no systematic effort has hitherto been made to collect and preserve their melodies. More than thirty years ago those plantation songs made their appearance which were so extraordinarily popular for a while; and if "Coal-black Rose," "Zip Coon" and "Ole Virginny nebber tire" have been succeeded by spurious imitations, manufactured to suit the somewhat sentimental taste of our community, the fact that these were called "negro melodies" was itself a tribute to the musical genius of the race. *

        * It is not generally known that the beautiful air "Long time ago," or "Near the lake where drooped the willow," was borrowed from the negroes, by whom it was sung to words beginning, "Way down in Raccoon Hollow."

        The public had well-nigh forgotten these genuine slave songs, and with them the creative power from which they sprung, when a fresh interest was excited through the educational mission to the Port Royal islands, in 1861. The agents of this mission were not long in discovering


Page ii

the rich vein of music that existed in these half-barbarous people, and when visitors from the North were on the islands, there was nothing that seemed better worth their while than to see a "shout" or hear the "people" sing their "sperichils." A few of these last, of special merit,*

        * The first seven spirituals in this collection, which were regularly sung at the church.

soon became established favorites among the whites, and hardly a Sunday passed at the church on St. Helena without "Gabriel's Trumpet," "I hear from Heaven to-day," or "Jehovah Hallelujah." The last time I myself heard these was at the Fourth of July celebration, at the church, in 1864. All of them were sung, and then the glorious shout, "I can't stay behind, my Lord," was struck up, and sung by the entire multitude with a zest and spirit, a swaying of the bodies and nodding of the heads and lighting of the countenances and rhythmical movement of the hands, which I think no one present will ever forget.

        Attention was, I believe, first publicly directed to these songs in a letter from Miss McKim, of Philadelphia, to Dwight's Journal of Music, Nov. 8, 1862, from which some extracts will presently be given. At about the same time, Miss McKim arranged and published two of them, "Roll, Jordan" (No. 1) and "Poor Rosy" (No. 8)--probably on all accounts the two best specimens that could be selected. Mr. H. G. Spaulding not long after gave some well-chosen specimens of the music in an article entitled "Under the Palmetto," in the Continental


Page iii

Monthly for August, 1863, among them, "O Lord, remember me" (No. 15), and "The Lonesome Valley" (No. 7). Many other persons interested themselves in the collection of words and tunes, and it seems time at last that the partial collections in the possession of the editors, and known by them to be in the possession of others, should not be forgotten and lost, but that these relics of a state of society which has passed away should be preserved while it is still possible. *

        * Only this last spring a valuable collection of songs made at Richmond, Va., was lost in the Wagner. No copy had been made from the original manuscript, so that the labor of their collection was lost. We had hoped to have the use of them in preparing the present work.

        The greater part of the music here presented has been taken down by the editors from the lips of the colored people themselves; when we have obtained it from other sources, we have given credit in the table of contents. The largest and most accurate single collection in existence is probably that made by Mr. Charles P. Ware, chiefly at Coffin's Point, St. Helena Island. We have thought it best to give this collection in its entirety, as the basis of the present work; it includes all the hymns as far as No. 43. Those which follow, as far as No. 55, were collected by myself on the Capt. John Fripp and neighboring plantations, on the same island. In all cases we have added words from other sources and other localities, when they could be obtained, as well as variations of the tunes wherever they were of sufficient importance to warrant it. Of the other hymns and songs


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we have given the locality whenever it could be ascertained.

        The difficulty experienced in attaining absolute correctness is greater than might be supposed by those who have never tried the experiment, and we are far from claiming that we have made no mistakes. I have never felt quite sure of my notation without a fresh comparison with the singing, and have then often found that I had made some errors. I feel confident, however, that there are no mistakes of importance. What may appear to some to be an incorrect rendering is very likely to be a variation; for these variations are endless, and very entertaining and instructive.

        Neither should any one be repelled by any difficulty in adapting the words to the tunes. The negroes keep exquisite time in singing, and do not suffer themselves to be daunted by any obstacle in the words. The most obstinate Scripture phrases or snatches from hymns they will force to do duty with any tune they please, and will dash heroically through a trochaic tune at the head of a column of iambs with wonderful skill. We have in all cases arranged one set of words carefully to each melody; for the rest, one must make them fit the best he can, as the negroes themselves do.

        The best that we can do, however, with paper and types, or even with voices, will convey but a faint shadow of the original. The voices of the colored people have a peculiar quality that nothing can imitate; and the intonations and delicate variations of even one


Page v

singer cannot be reproduced on paper. And I despair of conveying any notion of the effect of a number singing together, especially in a complicated shout, like "I can't stay behind, my Lord" (No. 8), or "Turn, sinner, turn O!" (No. 48). There is no singing in parts,*

        * "The high voices, all in unison, and the admirable time and true accent with which their responses are made, always make me wish that some great musical composer could hear these semi-savage performances. With a very little skilful adaptation and instrumentation, I think one or two barbaric chants and choruses might be evoked from them that would make the fortune of an opera."--Mrs. Kemble's "Life on a Georgian Plantation," p. 218.

as we understand it, and yet no two appear to be singing the same thing--the leading singer starts the words of each verse, often improvising, and the others, who "base" him, as it is called, strike in with the refrain, or even join in the solo, when the words are familiar. When the "base" begins, the leader often stops, leaving the rest of his words to be guessed at, or it may be they are taken up by one of the other singers. And the "basers" themselves seem to follow their own whims, beginning when they please and leaving off when they please, striking an octave above or below (in case they have pitched the tune too low or too high), or hitting some other note that chords, so as to produce the effect of a marvellous complication and variety, and yet with the most perfect time, and rarely with any discord. And what makes it all the harder to unravel a thread of melody out of this strange network is that, like birds, they seem not infrequently to strike sounds that cannot be precisely represented by the gamut, and abound in
Page vi

"slides from one note to another, and turns and cadences not in articulated notes." "It is difficult," writes Miss McKim, "to express the entire character of these negro ballads by mere musical notes and signs. The odd turns made in the throat, and the curious rhythmic effect produced by single voices chiming in at different irregular intervals, seem almost as impossible to place on the score as the singing of birds or the tones of an Æolian Harp." There are also apparent irregularities in the time, which it is no less difficult to express accurately, and of which Nos. 10, 130,131, and (eminently) 128, are examples.

        Still, the chief part of the negro music is civilized in its character--partly composed under the influence of association with the whites, partly actually imitated from their music. In the main it appears to be original in the best sense of the word, and the more we examine the subject, the more genuine it appears to us to be. In a very few songs, as Nos. 19, 23, and 25, strains of familiar tunes are readily traced; and it may easily be that others contain strains of less familiar music, which the slaves heard their masters sing or play.*

        * We have rejected as spurious "Give me Jesus," "Climb Jacob's Ladder," (both sung at Port Royal), and "I'll take the wings of the morning," which we find in Methodist hymn-books. A few others, the character of which seemed somewhat suspicious, we have not felt at liberty to reject without direct evidence[.]

        On the other hand there are very few which are of an intrinsically barbaric character, and where this character does appear, it is chiefly in short passages, intermingled


Page vii

with others of a different character. Such passages may be found perhaps in Nos. 10, 12, and 18; and "Becky Lawton," for instance (No. 29), "Shall I die?" (No. 52) "Round the corn, Sally" (No. 87), and "O'er the crossing" (No. 93) may very well be purely African in origin. Indeed, it is very likely that if we had found it possible to get at more of their secular music, we should have come to another conclusion as to the proportion of the barbaric element. A gentleman in Delaware writes:

        "We must look among their non-religious songs for the purest specimens of negro minstrelsy, It is remarkable that they have themselves transferred the best of these to the uses of their churches--I suppose on Mr. Wesley's principle that 'it is not right the Devil should have all the good tunes.' Their leaders and preachers have not found this change difficult to effect; or at least they have taken so little pains about it that one often detects the profane cropping out, and revealing the origin of their most solemn 'hymns,' in spite of the best intentions of the poet and artist. Some of the best pure negro songs I have ever heard were those that used to be sung by the black stevedores, or perhaps the crews themselves, of the West India vessels, loading and unloading at the wharves in Philadelphia and Baltimore. I have stood for more than an hour, often, listening to them, as they hoisted and lowered the hogsheads and boxes of their cargoes; one man taking the burden of the song (and the slack of the rope) and the others striking in with the chorus. They would sing in this


Page viii

way more than a dozen different songs in an hour; most of which might indeed be warranted to contain 'nothing religious'--a few of them, 'on the contrary, quite the reverse'--but generally rather innocent and proper in their language, and strangely attractive in their music; and with a volume of voice that reached a square or two away. That plan of labor has now passed away, in Philadelphia at least, and the songs, I suppose, with it. So that these performances are to be heard only among black sailors on their vessels, or 'long-shore men in out-of-the-way places, where opportunities for respectable persons to hear them are rather few."

        These are the songs that are still heard upon the Mississippi steamboats--wild and strangely fascinating--one of which we have been so fortunate as to secure for this collection. This, too, is no doubt the music of the colored firemen of Savannah, graphically described by Mr. Kane O'Donnel, in a letter to the Philadelphia Press, and one of which he was able to contribute for our use. Mr. E. S. Philbrick was struck with the resemblance of some of the rowing tunes at Port-Royal to the boatmen's songs he had heard upon the Nile.

        The greater number of the songs which have come into our possession seem to be the natural and original production of a race of remarkable musical capacity and very teachable, which has been long enough associated with the more cultivated race to have become imbued with the mode and spirit of European music--often, nevertheless, retaining a distinct tinge of their native Africa.


Page ix

        The words are, of course, in a large measure taken from Scripture, and from the hymns heard at church; and for this reason these religious songs do not by any means illustrate the full extent of the debasement of the dialect. Such expressions as "Cross Jordan," "O Lord, remember me," "I'm going home," "There's room enough in Heaven for you," we find abundantly in Methodist hymn-books; but with much searching I have been able to find hardly a trace of the tunes. The words of the fine hymn, "Praise, member" (No. 5), are found, with very little variation, in "Choral Hymns" (No. 138). The editor of this collection informs us, however, that many of his songs were learned from negroes in Philadelphia, and Lt.-Col. Trowbridge tells us that he heard this hymn, before the war, among the colored people of Brooklyn.*

        * We have generally preserved the words as sung, even where clearly nonsensical, as in No. 89; so "Why don't you move so slow?" (No. 22). We will add that "Paul and Silas, bound in jail" (No. 4) is often sung "Bounden Cyrus born in jail," and the words of No. 11 would appear as "I take my tex in Matchew and by de Revolutions--I know you by your gammon,"&c.; so "Ringy Rosy Land" for "Ring Jerusalem."

For some very comical specimens of the way in which half-understood words and phrases are distorted by them, see Nos. 22, 23. Another illustration is given by Col. Higginson: +

        + Atlantic Monthly, June 1867.

        "The popular camp-song of 'Marching Along' was entirely new to them until our quartermaster taught it to them at my request. The words 'Gird on the armor' were to them a stumbling-block, and no wonder, until


Page x

some ingenious ear substituted 'Guide on de army,' which was at once accepted and became universal. 'We'll guide on de army, and be marching along,' is now the established version on the Sea Islands."

        I never fairly heard a secular song among the Port Royal freedmen, and never saw a musical instrument among them. The last violin, owned by a "worldly man," disappeared from Coffin's Point "de year gun shoot at Bay Pint."*

        * i e., November, 1861, when Hilton Head was taken by Admiral Dupont--a great date on the islands.

In other parts of the South, "fiddle-sings," "devil-songs," "corn-songs," "jig-tunes," and what not, are common; all the world knows the banjo, and the "Jim Crow" songs of thirty years ago. We have succeeded in obtaining only a very few songs of this character. Our intercourse with the colored people has been chiefly through the work of the Freedmen's Commission, which deals with the serious and earnest side of the negro character. It is often, indeed, no easy matter to persuade them to sing their old songs, even as a curiosity, such is the sense of dignity that has come with freedom. It is earnestly to be desired that some person, who has the opportunity, should make a collection of these now, before it is too late.

        In making the present collection, we have only gleaned upon the surface, and in a very narrow field. The wealth of material still awaiting the collector can be guessed from a glance at the localities of those we have, and from


Page xi

the fact, mentioned above, that of the first forty-three of the collection most were sung upon a single plantation, and that it is very certain that the stores of this plantation were by no means exhausted. Of course there was constant intercourse between neighboring plantations; also between different States, by the sale of slaves from one to another. But it is surprising how little this seems to have affected local songs, which are different even upon adjoining plantations. The favorite of them all, "Roll, Jordan" (No. 1), is sung in Florida, but not, I believe, in North Carolina. "Gabriel's Trumpet" (No. 4) and "Wrestle on, Jacob" (No 6) probably came from Virginia, where they are sung without much variation from the form usual at Port Royal; No. 6 is also sung in Maryland.*

        * It is worthy of notice that a song much resembling "Poor Rosy" was heard last Spring from the boat hands of an Ohio River steamboat--the only words caught being "Poor Molly, poor gal."

"John, John of the Holy Order" (No. 22) is traced in Georgia and North Carolina, and "O'er the Crossing" (No. 93) appears to be the Virginia original, variations of which are found in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. As illustrations of the slowness with which these songs travel, it may be mentioned that the "Graveyard" (No. 21), which was frequently sung on Capt. John Fripp's plantation in the winter of 1863-4, did not reach Coffin's Point (five miles distant) until the following Spring. I heard it myself at Pine Grove, two miles from the latter place, in March. Somewhere
Page xii

upon this journey this tune was strikingly altered, as will be seen from the variation given, which is the form in which I was accustomed to hear it. Nos. 38, 41, 42, 43, 118, 119, 122, 123, were brought to Coffin's Point after Mr. Ware left, by refugees returning to the plantation from "town" and the Main. No. 74, likewise, "Nobody knows the trouble I see," which was common in Charleston in 1865, has since been carried to Coffin's Point, very little altered.

        These hymns will be found peculiarly interesting in illustrating the feelings, opinions and habits of the slaves. Of the dialect I shall presently speak at some length. One of their customs, often alluded to in the songs (as in No. 19), is that of wandering through the woods and swamps, when under religious excitement, like the ancient bacchantes. To get religion is with them to "fin' dat ting." Molsy described thus her sister's experience in searching for religion: "Couldn't fin' dat leetle ting--hunt for 'em--huntin' for 'em all de time--las' foun' 'em." And one day, on our way to see a "shout," we asked Bristol whether he was going:--"No, ma'am, wouldn't let me in--hain't foun' dat ting yet--hain't been on my knees in de swamp." Of technical religious expressions, "seeker," "believer," "member," &c., the songs are full.

        The most peculiar and interesting of their customs is the "shout," an excellent description of which we are permitted to copy from the N. Y. Nation of May 30, 1867:

        "This is a ceremony which the white clergymen are inclined to discountenance, and even of the colored elders


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some of the more discreet try sometimes to put on a face of discouragement; and although, if pressed for Biblical warrant for the shout, they generally seem to think 'he in de Book,' or 'he dere-da in Matchew,' still it is not considered blasphemous or improper if 'de chillen' and 'dem young gal' carry it on in the evening for amusement's sake, and with no well-defined intention of 'praise.' But the true 'shout' takes place on Sundays or on 'praise'-nights through the week, and either in the praise-house or in some cabin in which a regular religious meeting has been held. Very likely more than half the population of the plantation is gathered together. Let it be the evening, and a light-wood fire burns red before the door of the house and on the hearth. For some time one can hear, though at a good distance, the vociferous exhortation or prayer of the presiding elder or of the brother who has a gift that way, and who is not 'on the back seat,'--a phrase, the interpretation of which is, 'under the censure of the church authorities for bad behavior;'--and at regular intervals one bears the elder 'deaconing' a hymn-book hymn, which is sung two lines at a time, and whose wailing cadences, borne on the night air, are indescribably melancholy. But the benches are pushed back to the wall when the formal meeting is over, and old and young, men and women, sprucely-dressed young men, grotesquely half-clad field-hands --the women generally with gay handkerchiefs twisted about their heads and with short skirts--boys with tattered shirts and men's trousers, young girls barefooted,


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all stand up in the middle of the floor, and when the 'sperichil' is struck up, begin first walking and by-and-by shuffling round, one after the other, in a ring. The foot is hardly taken from the floor, and the progression is mainly due to a jerking, hitching motion, which agitates the entire shouter, and soon brings out streams of perspiration. Sometimes they dance silently, sometimes as they shuffle they sing the chorus of the spiritual, and sometimes the song itself is also sung by the dancers. But more frequently a band, composed of some of the best singers and of tired shouters, stand at the side of the room to 'base' the others, singing the body of the song and clapping their hands together or on the knees. Song and dance are alike extremely energetic, and often, when the shout lasts into the middle of the night, the monotonous thud, thud of the feet prevents sleep within half a mile of the praise-house."

        In the form here described, the "shout" is probably confined to South Carolina and the States south of it. It appears to be found in Florida, but not in North Carolina or Virginia. It is, however, an interesting fact that the term "shouting" is used in Virginia in reference to a peculiar motion of the body not wholly unlike the Carolina shouting. It is not unlikely that this remarkable religious ceremony is a relic of some native African dance, as the Romaika is of the classical Pyrrhic. Dancing in the usual way is regarded with great horror by the people of Port Royal, but they enter with infinite zest into the movements of the "shout." It has its


Page xv

connoisseurs, too. "Jimmy great shouter," I was told; and Jimmy himself remarked to me, as he looked patronizingly on a ring of young people, "Dese yere worry deyseff--we don't worry weseff." And indeed, although the perspiration streamed copiously down his shiny face, he shuffled round the circle with great ease and grace.

        The shouting may be to any tune, and perhaps all the Port Royal hymns here given are occasionally used for this purpose; so that our cook's classification into "sperichils" and "runnin' sperichils" (shouts), or the designation of certain ones as sung "just sittin' round, you know," will hardly hold in strictness. In practice, however, a distinction is generally observed. The first seven, for instance, favorite hymns in the St. Helena church, would rarely, if ever, be used for shouting; while probably on each plantation there is a special set in common use. On my plantation I oftenest heard "Pray all de member" (No. 47), "Bell da ring" (No. 46), "Shall I die?" (No. 52), and "I can't stay behind, my Lord" (No. 8). The shouting step varied with the tune; one could hardly dance with the same spirit to "Turn, sinner," or "My body rock 'long fever," as to "Rock o' Jubilee," or "O Jerusalem, early in de morning." So far as I can learn, the shouting is confined to the Baptists; and it is, no doubt, to the overwhelming preponderance of this denomination on the Sea Islands that we owe the peculiar richness and originality of the music there[.]


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        The same songs are used for rowing as for shouting. I know only one pure boat-song, the fine lyric, "Michael row the boat ashore" (No. 31); and this I have no doubt is a real spiritual--it being the archangel Michael that is addressed. Among the most common rowing tunes were Nos. 5, 14, 17, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 36, 46. "As I have written these tunes," says Mr. Ware, "two measures are to be sung to each stroke, the first measure being accented by the beginning of the stroke, the second by the rattle of the oars in the row-locks. On the passenger boat at the [Beaufort] ferry, they rowed from sixteen to thirty strokes a minute; twenty-four was the average. Of the tunes I have heard, I should say that the most lively were 'Heaven bell a-ring' (No. 27), 'Jine 'em' (No. 28), 'Rain fall' (No. 29), 'No man' (No. 14), 'Bell da ring' (No. 46), and 'Can't stay behind;' and that 'Lay this body down' (No. 26), 'Religion so sweet' (No.17), and 'Michael row' (No. 31), were used when the load was heavy or the tide was against us. I think that the long hold on 'Oh,' in 'Rain fall,' was only used in rowing. When used as a 'shout' I am quite sure that it occupied only one measure, as in the last part of the verse. One noticeable thing about their boat-songs was that they seemed often to be sung just a trifle behind time; in 'Rain fall,' for instance, 'Believer cry holy' would seem to occupy more than its share of the stroke, the 'holy' being prolonged till the very beginning of the next stroke; indeed, I think Jerry


Page xvii

often hung on his oar a little just there before dipping it again."*

        * For another curious circumstance in rowing, see note to "Rain fall," No. 29.

        As to the composition of these songs, "I always wondered," says Col. Higginson, "whether they had always a conscious and definite origin in some leading mind, or whether they grew by gradual accretion, in an almost unconscious way. On this point I could get no information, though I asked many questions, until at last, one day when I was being rowed across from Beaufort to Ladies' Island, I found myself, with delight, on the actual trail of a song. One of the oarsmen, a brisk young fellow, not a soldier, on being asked for his theory of the matter, dropped out a coy confession. 'Some good sperituals,' he said, 'are start jess out o' curiosity. I been a-raise a sing, myself, once.'

        "My dream was fulfilled, and I had traced out, not the poem alone, but the poet. I implored him to proceed.

        "'Once we boys,' he said, 'went for tote some rice, and de nigger-driver, he keep a-callin' on us; and I say, 'O, de ole nigger-driver!' Den anudder said, 'Fust ting my mammy told me was, notin' so bad as nigger-drivers.' Den I made a sing, just puttin' a word, and den anudder word.'

        "Then he began singing and the men, after listening a moment, joined in the chorus as if it were an old acquaintance,


Page xviii

though they evidently had never heard it before. I saw how easily a new 'sing' took root among them."

        A not inconsistent explanation is that given on page 12 of an "Address delivered by J. Miller McKim, in Sansom Hall, Philadelphia, July 9, 1862."

        "I asked one of these blacks--one of the most intelligent of them [Prince Rivers, Sergeant 1st Reg. S. C. V.] --where they got these songs. 'Dey make 'em, sah.' 'How do they make them?' After a pause, evidently casting about for an explanation, he said: 'I'll tell you, it's dis way. My master call me up, and order me a short peck of corn and a hundred lash. My friends see it, and is sorry for me. When dey come to de praise-meeting dat night dey sing about it. Some's very good singers and know how; and dey work it in--work it in, you know, till they get it right; and dat's de way.' A very satisfactory explanation; at least so it seemed to me."

        We were not so fortunate as Col. Higginson in our search for a poet. Cuffee at Pine Grove did, to be sure, confess himself the author of "Climb Jacob's Ladder;"-- unfortunately, we afterwards found it in a Northern hymn book. And if you try to trace out a new song, and ask, "Where did you hear that?" the answer will be, "One strange man come from Eding's las' praise-night and sing 'em in praise-house, and de people catch 'em;" or "Titty 'Mitta [sister Amaritta] fetch 'em from Polawana, where she tuk her walk gone spend Sunday. Some of her fahmly sing' em yonder." "But what does


Page xix

'Ringy rosy land' [Ring Jerusalem, No. 21] mean?" "Me dunno."

        Our title, "Slave Songs," was selected because it best described the contents of the book. A few of those here given (Nos. 64, 59) were, to be sure, composed since the proclamation of emancipation, but even these were inspired by slavery. "All, indeed, are valuable as an expression of the character and life of the race which is playing such a conspicuous part in our history. The wild, sad strains tell, as the sufferers themselves could, of crushed hopes, keen sorrow, and a dull, daily misery, which covered them as hopelessly as the fog from the rice swamps. On the other hand, the words breathe a trusting faith in rest for the future--in 'Canaan's air and happy land,' to which their eyes seem constantly turned."

        Our original plan hardly contemplated more than the publication of the Port Royal spirituals, some sixty in all, which we had supposed we could obtain, with perhaps a few others in an appendix. As new materials came into our hands, we enlarged our plan to the present dimensions. Next to South Carolina, we have the largest number from Virginia; from the other States comparatively few. Few as they are, however, they appear to indicate a very distinct character in different States. Contrary to what might be expected, the songs from Virginia are the most wild and strange. "O'er the Crossing," (No. 93) is peculiarly so; but "Sabbath has no end" (No. 89), "Hypocrite and Concubine" (No. 91),


Page xx

"O shout away" (No. 92), and "Let Gods saints come in" (No. 99), are all distinguished by odd intervals and frequent use of chromatics. The songs from North Carolina are also very peculiar, although in a different way, and make one wish for more specimens from that region. Those from Tennessee and Florida are most like the music of the whites.

        We had hoped to obtain enough secular songs to make a division by themselves; there are, however, so few of these that it has been decided to intersperse them with the spirituals under their respective States. They are highly characteristic, and will be found not the least interesting of the contents of this work.

        It is, we repeat, already becoming difficult to obtain these songs. Even the "spirituals" are going out of use on the plantations, superseded by the new style of religious music, "closely imitated from the white people, which is solemn, dull and nasal, consisting in repeating two lines of a hymn and then singing it, and then two more, ad infinitum. They use for this sort of worship that one everlasting melody, which may be remembered by all persons familiar with Western and Southern camp-meetings, as applying equally well to long, short or common metre. This style of proceeding they evidently consider the more dignified style of the two, as being a closer imitation of white, genteel worship--having in it about as little soul as most stereotyped religious forms of well instructed congregations." *

        * Mrs. H. B. Stowe, in Watchman and Reflector, April 1867.


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        It remains to speak of points connected with the typography of the songs.

        We have aimed to give all the characteristic variations which have come into our hands, whether as single notes or whole lines, or even longer passages; and of words as well as tunes. Many of these will be found very interesting and instructive. The variations in words are given as foot-notes--the word or group of words in the note, to be generally substituted for that which precedes the mark: and it may be observed, although it seems hardly necessary, that these variations are endless; such words as "member," " believer," "seeker," and all names, male and female, may be brought in wherever appropriate. We have not always given all the sets of words that we have received often they are improvised to such an extent that this would be almost impracticable. In Nos. 16, 17, 19, etc., we have given them very copiously, for illustration; in others we have omitted the least interesting ones. In spelling, we proposed to ourselves the rule well stated by Col. Higginson at the commencement of his collection: "The words will be here given, as nearly as possible, in the original dialect; and if the spelling seems sometimes inconsistent, or the misspelling insufficient, it is because I could get no nearer."

        As the negroes have no part-singing, we have thought it best to print only the melody; what appears in some places as harmony is really variations in single notes. And, in general, a succession of such notes turned in the


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same direction indicates a single longer variation. Words in a parenthesis, with small notes, (as "Brudder Sammy" in No. 21), are interjaculatory; it has not, however, been possible to maintain entire consistency in this matter. Sometimes, as "no man" and "O no man," in No. 14, interchangeable forms are put, for convenience sake, in different parts of the tune.

        It may sometimes be a little difficult, for instance in Nos. 9, 10, 20 and 27, to determine precisely which part of the tune each verse belongs to; in these cases we have endeavored to indicate it as clearly as is in our power. However much latitude the reader may take in all such matters, he will hardly take more than the negroes themselves do. In repeating, it may be observed that the custom at Port Royal is to repeat the first part of the tune over and over, it may be a dozen times, before passing to the "turn," and then to do the same with that. In the Virginia songs, on the other hand, the chorus is usually sung twice after each verse--often the second time with some such interjaculatory expression as "I say now," "God say you must," as given in No. 99.

        We had some thought of indicating with each the tempo of the different songs, but have concluded to print special directions for singing by themselves. It should be remarked, however, that the same tune varied in quickness on different occasions. "As the same songs," writes Miss McKim, "are sung at every sort of work, of course the tempo is not always alike. On the water, the


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oars dip 'Poor Rosy' to an even andante; a stout boy and girl at the hominy mill will make the same 'Poor Rosy' fly, to keep up with the whirling stone; and in the evening, after the day's work is done, 'Heab'n shall-a be my home' peals up slowly and mournfully from the distant quarters. One woman, a respectable house-servant, who had lost all but one of her twenty-two children, said to me: 'Pshaw! don't har to dese yer chil'en, missee. Dey just rattles it off--dey don't know how for sing it. I likes 'Poor Rosy' better dan all de songs, but it can't be sung widout a full heart and a troubled sperrit.

        The rests, by the way, do not indicate a cessation in the music, but only in part of the singers. They overlap in singing, as already described, in such a degree that at no time is there any complete pause. In "A House in Paradise" (No. 40) this overlapping is most marked.

        IT will be noticed that we have spoken chiefly of the negroes of the Port Royal islands, where most of our observations were made, and most of our materials collected. The remarks upon the dialect which follow have reference solely to these islands, and indeed almost exclusively to a few plantations at the northern end of St. Helena Island. They will, no doubt, apply in a greater or less degree to the entire region of the southeasterly slave States, but not to other portions of the South. It should also be understood that the corruptions and peculiarities here described are not universal, even here. There are


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all grades, from the rudest field-hands to mechanics and house-servants, who speak with a considerable degree of correctness, and perhaps few would be found so illiterate as to be guilty of them all.

        Ordinary negro talk, such as we find in books, has very little resemblance to that of the negroes of Port Royal, who have been so isolated heretofore that they have almost formed a dialect of their own. Indeed, the different plantations have their own peculiarities, and adepts profess to be able to determine by the speech of a negro what part of an island he belongs to, or even, in some cases, his plantation. I can myself vouch for the marked peculiarities of speech of one plantation from which I had scholars, and which was hardly more than a mile distant from another which lacked these peculiarities. Songs, too, and, I suppose, customs, vary in the same way.

        A stranger, upon first hearing these people talk, especially if there is a group of them in animated conversation, can hardly understand them better than if they spoke a foreign language, and might, indeed, easily, suppose this to be the case. The strange words and pronunciations, and frequent abbreviations, disguise the familiar features of one's native tongue, while the rhythmical modulations, so characteristic of certain European languages, give it an utterly un-English sound. After six months' residence among them, there were scholars in my school, among the most constant in attendance, whom I could not understand at all, unless they happened to speak very slowly.


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        With these people the process of "phonetic decay" appears to have gone as far, perhaps, as is possible, and with it an extreme simplification of etymology and syntax. There is, of course, the usual softening of th and v, or f, into d and b; likewise a frequent interchange of v and w, as veeds and vell for weeds and well; woices and punkin wine, for voices and pumpkin vine. "De wile' (vilest) sinner may return" (No. 48). This last example illustrates also their constant habit of clipping words and syllables, as lee' bro,' for little brother; plänt'shun, for plantation. The lengthening of short vowels is illustrated in both these (a, for instance, rarely has its short English sound). "Een (in) dat mornin' all day" (No. 56).

        Strange words are less numerous in their patois than one would suppose, and, few as they are, most of them maybe readily derived from English words. Besides the familiar buckra, and a few proper names, as Cuffy, Quash, and perhaps Cudjo, I only know of churray (spill), which may be "throw 'way;" oona or ona, "you" (both singular and plural, and used only for friends), as "Ona build a house in Paradise" ( No. 40); and aw, a kind of expletive, equivalent to "to be sure," as, "Dat clot' cheap." "Cheap aw." "Dat Monday one lazy boy." "Lazy aw--I 'bleege to lick 'em."

        Corruptions are more abundant. The most common of them are these: Yearde (hear), as in Nos. 3, etc. "Flora, did you see that cat?" "No ma'am, but I yearde him holler." "Sh'um," a corruption of see 'em, applied (as 'em is) to all genders and both numbers.


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"Wan' to see how Beefut (Beaufort) stan'--nebber sh'um since my name Adam." Huddy (how-do?), pronounced how-dy by purists, is the common term of greeting, as in the song No. 20, "Tell my Jesus huddy O." "Bro' (brother) Quash sen' heap o' howdy." Studdy, (steady) is used to denote any continued or customary action. "He studdy 'buse an' cuss we," was the complaint entered by some little children against a large girl. "I studdy talk hard, but you no yearde me," was Rina's defence when I reproved her for not speaking loud enough. When we left, we were told that we must "studdy come back." Here, however, it seems to mean steady. Titty is used for mother or oldest sister; thus, Titty Ann was the name by which the children of our man-of-all work knew their mother, Ann. Sic-a or sake-a, possibly a condensation of same and like. "Him an' me grow up sic-a brudder an' sister." Enty is a curious corruption, I suppose of ain't he, used like our "Is that so?" in reply to a statement that surprises one. "Robert, you have n't written that very well." "Enty, sir?" "John, it's going to rain to-day." "Enty, sir?" Day-clean is used for day-break. "Do, day-clean, for let me go see Miss Ha'yet; and de day wouldn't clean." Sun-up is also common. Chu' for "this" or "that there;" as "Wha' chu?" "See one knife chu?" Say is used very often, especially in singing, as a kind of expletive; "(Say) when you get to heaven (say) you 'member me." (No. 27.) "Ain't you know say cotton de-de?" In the last sentence "de-de" (accent on first syllable) means


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"is there;"--the first de, a corruption of does for is, will be explained presently; the other is a very common form for dere, there.

        I do not remember any other peculiar words, but several words used peculiarly. Cuss is used with great latitude, to denote any offensive language. "Him cuss me 'git out." "Ahvy (Abby) do cuss me," was the serious-sounding, but trifling accusation made by a little girl against her seat-mate. Stan' is a very common word, in the sense of look. "My back stan' like white man," was a boast which meant that it was not scarred with the lash. "Him stan' splendid, ma'am," of the sitting of a dress. I asked a group of boys one day the color of the sky. Nobody could tell me. Presently the father of one of them came by, and I told him their ignorance, repeating my question with the same result as before. He grinned: "Tom, how sky stan'?" "Blue," promptly shouted Tom. Both they seldom use; generally "all-two," or emphatically, "all-two boff togedder." One for alone. "Me one, and God," answered an old man in Charleston to the question whether he escaped alone from his plantation. "Gone home one in de dark," for alone. "Heab'n 'nuff for me one" (i.e., I suppose, "for my part"), says one of their songs (No. 46.) Talk is one of their most common words, where we should use speak or mean. "Talk me, sir?" asks a boy who is not sure whether you mean him or his comrade. "Talk lick, sir? nuffin but lick," was the answer when I asked whether a particular master used to


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whip his slaves. Call is used to express relationship as, "he call him aunt." Draw, for receiving in any way--derived from the usage of drawing a specific amount of supplies at stated times. "Dey draw letter," was the remark when a mail arrived and was distributed among us whites. Meet is used in the sense of find. "I meet him here an' he remain wid me," was the cook's explanation when a missing chair was found in the kitchen. When I remarked upon the absurdity of some agricultural process--"I meet 'em so an' my fader meet 'em so," was the sufficient answer. A grown man, laboring over the mysteries of simple addition, explained the gigantic answer he had got by "I meet two row, and I set down two." "I meet you dere, sir," said Miller frankly, when convinced in an argument. Too much is the common adverb for a high degree of a quality; "he bad too much" was the description of a hard master. Gang, for any large number; "a whole gang of slate-pencils." Mash in the sense of crush; "mammy mash 'em," when the goat had killed one of her kids by lying on it. Sensibble and hab sense are favorite expressions. A scholar would ask me to make him "sensibble" of a thing. "Nebber sh'um since I hab sense" (i.e., since I was old enough to know). Stantion (substantial) was a favorite adjective at Coffin's Point. Strain is also a favorite word. "Dem boy strain me," explained Billy, when some younger boys were attempting to base him. "I don't want to give more nor fifty-five dollar for a horse," said Quash, "but if dey strain you, you may give fifty-six." "Dat tune so strainful," said Rose.


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        The letters n, r and y are used euphonically. "He de baddes' little gal from y'ere to n'Europe," said Bristol of his troublesome niece Venus; "ought to put him on a bar'l, an' den he fall 'sleep an' fall down an' hut heself, an' dat make him more sensibble." "He n'a comin', sir," was often said of a missing scholar. At first, I took the n for a negative. I set Gib one day to picking out E's from a box of letters. He could not distinguish E from F, and at last, discouraged with his repeated failures, explained, holding out an F, "dis y'ere stan' sic-a-r-um." (This looks like that.) It is suggested also that d is used in the same way, in "He d'a comin';" and s, in singing for instance, "'Tis wells and good" (No. 25). So the vowel a; "De foxes have-a hole" (No. 2), "Heaven bell a-ring" (No. 27).

        The most curious of all their linguistic peculiarities is perhaps the following. It is well known that the negroes in all parts of the South speak of their elders as "uncle" and "aunt,--"*

        * In South Carolina "daddy" and "maum" are more common.

from a feeling of politeness, I do not doubt; it seemed disrespectful to use the bare name, and from Mr. and Mrs. they were debarred. On the Sea Islands a similar feeling has led to the use of cousin towards their equals. Abbreviating this, after their fashion, they get co'n or co' (the vowel sound u as in cousin) as the common title when they speak of one another; as, C'Abram, Co' Robin, Co'n Emma, C'Isaac, Co'Bob. Bro' (brother) and Si' (sister) and even T' (Titty)
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are also often used in the same way; as, Bro' Paris, Si' Rachel, T' Jane. A friend insists that Cudjo is nothing but Co' Joe.

        Where and when are hardly used, at least by the common class of negroes. The question "Where did you spill the milk?" was answered only with a stare; but "which way milk churray?" brought a ready response. "What side you stayin', sir?" was one of the first questions put to me. Luckily I had been initiated, and was able to answer it correctly.

        There is probably no speech that has less inflection, or indeed less power of expressing grammatical relation in any way. It is perhaps not too strong to say that the field-hands make no distinction of gender, case, number, tense, or voice. The pronouns are to be sure distinguished more or less by the more intelligent among them, and all of these, unless perhaps us, are occasionally heard. She is rare; her still more so; him being commonly used for the third person singular of all cases and genders; 'em, if my memory serves me rightly, only for the objective case, but for all genders and both numbers. He, or 'e, is, I should think, most common as possessive. "Him lick we" might mean a girl as well as a boy. Thus we is distinguished from I or me, and dey or dem from him or dat; and these are, I think, the only distinctions made in number. "Dat cow," is singular, "dem cow" plural; "Sandy hat" would mean indifferently Sandy's hat or hats; "nigger-house" means the collection of negro-houses, and is, I suppose, really a plural.


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        I do not know that I ever heard a real possessive case, but they have begun to develop one of their own, which is a very curious illustration of the way inflectional forms grow up. If they wish to make the fact of possession at all emphatic or distinct, they use the word "own." Thus, they will say "Mosey house," but if asked whose house that is, the answer is "Mosey own." "Co' Molsy y'own " was the odd reply made by Mylie to the question whose child she was carrying. Literally translated, this is "Molsy's;" Co' is title, y euphonic. An officer of a colored regiment standing by me when the answer was made--himself born a slave--confessed that it was mere gibberish to him. No doubt this custom would in time develop a regular inflectional possessive; but the establishment of schools will soon root up all these original growths.

        Very commonly, in verbs which have strong conjugations, the forms of the past tense are used for the present; "What make you leff we?" "I tuk dem brudder" (No. 30). Past time is expressed by been, and less commonly done. "I been kep him home two day," was the explanation given for a daughter's absence from school. "I done pit my crap in de groun'." Present time is made definite by the auxiliary do or da, as in the refrains "Bell da ring," "Jericho da worry me." (Nos. 46, 47). "Bubber (brother) da hoe he tater." So did occasionally: "Nat did cuss me," complained one boy of another. It is too much to say that the verbs have no inflections, but it is true that these have nearly disappeared.


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Ask a boy where he is going, and the answer is "gwine crick for ketch crab" (going into the creek to catch crabs); ask another where the missing boy is, and the answer is the same, with gone instead of gwine. The hopeless confusion between auxiliaries is sometimes very entertaining: as "de-de," "ain't you know?" "I didn't been." "De Lord is perwide" (No. 2). "You'd better pray, de worl' da [is] gwine" (No. 14). "My stomach been-a da hut me."

        Some of these sentences illustrate two other peculiarities--the omission of auxiliaries and other small words, and the use of for as the sign of the infinitive. "Unky Taff call Co' Flora for drop tater." "Good for hold comb" was the wisest answer found to the teacher's question what their ears were good for. "Co' Benah wan' Mr.-- for tuk 'em down," was Gib's whispered comment when the stubborn Venus refused to step down from a bench. After school the two were discovered at fisticuffs, and on being called to account--"dat same Benah dah knock me," said Gib, while Venus retorted with "Gib cuss me in school."

        It is owing to this habit of dropping auxiliaries that the passive is rarely if ever indicated. You ask a man's name, and are answered, "Ole man call John." "Him mix wid him own fät," was the description given of a paste made of bruised ground-nuts, the oil of the nut furnishing moisture. "I can't certain," "The door didn't fasten," "The bag won't full," "Dey frighten in de dark," are illustrations of every-day usage.


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        Proper names furnish many curious illustrations of the corruption in pronunciation. Many of them are impossible to explain, and it is still only a surmise that Finnick is derived from Phoenix, and Wyna from Malvina (the first syllable being dropped, as in 'Nelius for Cornelius, and 'Rullus for Marullus.) Hacless is unquestionably Hercules, and Sack no doubt Psyche; Strappan is supposed to be Strephon. All these are common names on the Sea Islands. Names of trades, as Miller, Butcher, are not uncommon. One name that I heard of, but did not myself meet with, was After-dark, so called because he was so black that "you can't sh'um 'fo' day-clean."

        In conclusion, some actual specimens of talk, illustrating the various points spoken of, may not be without interest. A scene at the opening of school:*

        * It is proper to state that most of the materials for this scene were furnished by Mr. Arthur Sumner, which accounts for the similarity of certain of the expressions to those in the dialogue given in the September number of the Boston Freedman's Record.

        "Charles, why did n't you come to school earlier?" "A-could n't come soon to-day, sir; de boss he sheer out clo' dis mornin'." "What did he give you?" "Me,sir? I ain't git; de boss he de baddest buckra ebber a-see. De morest part ob de mens dey git heaps o' clo'--more'n 'nuff; 'n I ain't git nuffin." "Were any other children there?" "Plenty chil'n, sir. All de chil'n dah fo' sun-up." "January, you have n't brought your book." " I is, sir; sh'um here, sir?" "Where is Juno?" "I ain't


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know where he gone, sir." "Where is Sam?" "He didn't been here." "Where is the little boy, John?" "He pick up he foot and run." A new scholar is brought: "Good mornin', maussa; I bring dis same chile to school, sir: do don't let 'em stay arter school done. Here you, gal, stan' up an' say howdy to de genlmn. Do maussa lash 'em well ef he don't larn he lesson." "Where's your book, Tom?" "Dunno, sir. Somebody mus' a tief 'em." "Where's your brother?" "Sh'um dar? wid bof he han' in he pocket?" "Billy, have you done your sum?" "Yes, sir, I out 'em." "Where's Polly?" "Polly de-de." Taffy comes up. "Please, sir, make me sensibble of dat word--I want to ketch 'em werry bad, sir, werry bad." Hacless begins to read. He spells, in a loud whisper,"g-o; g-o; g-o--can't fetch dat word, sir, nohow."

        The first day Gib appeared in school I asked him whether he could read, and received a prompt answer in the affirmative. So, turning to the first page of Willson's Primer, I told him to read. The sentence was "I am on," or something of that sort, opposite a picture of a boy on a rocking-horse. Gib attacked it with great volubility, "h-r-s-e, horse. De boy is on top ob de horse"--adding some remarks about a chair in the background. His eye then fell on a picture of an eagle, and without pausing he went on, "De raben is big bird." Next be passed to a lion on the opposite page, "D-o-g, dog;" but just then a cut above, representing a man and an ox, proved too strong for him, and he proceeded


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to give a detailed history of the man and the cow. When this was completed, he took up a picture of a boy with a paper soldiers' cap and a sword. "Dis man hab sword; he tuk 'e sword an' cut 'e troat." Here I checked him, and found, as may be expected, that he did not know a single letter.

        A scene at a government auction: Henry and Titus are rivals, bidding for a piece of "secesh" furniture. Titus begins with six dollars. "Well, Titus, I won't strain you--eight." "Seven," says Titus. "Ten," says Henry. "Twelve," says Titus. "And den," said our informant, "Henry bid fourteen an' tuk 'em for fifteen."

        One Day when we returned from a row on the creek, to make a call, Dick met us with his face on a grin: "You seen him? you seen Miss T? I seen him. I tole him you gone wid intention call on she, but de boat didn't ready in time. He cotch you at Mr. H., on'y de horse bodder him at de gate." One of the boys came to me one day with the complaint, "Dem Ma' B. Fripp chil'n fin' one we book," i. e., those children from Mr. T. B. Fripp's have found one of our books. "'E nebber crack 'e bret," i. e., say a word. "What make you don't?" "Mr. P. didn't must." "I don't know what make I didn't answer." "How do you do to-day?" "Stirrin;" "spared," "standin';" "out o' bed," (never "very well.") Or, of a friend, "He feel a lee better'n he been, ma'am."

        "Arter we done chaw all de hard bones and swallow all de bitter pills," was part of a benediction; and the


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prayer at a "praise-meeting" asked "dat all de white bredren an' sister what jine praise wid we to-night might be bound up in de belly-band ob faith." At a funeral in a colored regiment: "One box o' dead meat gone to de grave to-day--who gwine to-morrow? Young man, who walk so stiff--ebery step he take seem like he say, 'Look out dah, groun', I da comin'." The following is Strappan's view of Love. "Arter you lub, you lub, you know, boss. You can't broke lub. Man can't broke lub. Lub stan'--'e ain't gwine broke. Man hab to be berry smart for broke lub. Lub is a ting stan' jus' like tar; arter he stick, he stick, he ain't gwine move. He can't move less dan you burn him. Hab to kill all two arter he lub 'fo' you broke lub."

        It would be an interesting, and perhaps not very difficult inquiry, to determine how far the peculiarities of speech of the South Carolina negroes result from the large Huguenot element in the settlement of that State. It would require, however, a more exact acquaintance than I possess with the dialects of other portions of the South, to form a judgment of any value upon this point. Meanwhile, I will say only that two usages have struck me as possibly arising from this source, the habitual lengthening of vowel sounds, and the pronunciation of Maussa, which may easily have been derived from Monsieur. After all, traces of Huguenot influence should by right be found among the whites, even more than the blacks.

        [W. F. A.]


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        IT remains for the Editors to acknowledge the aid they have received in making this compilation. To Col. T. W. HIGGINSON, above all others, they are indebted for friendly encouragement and for direct and indirect contributions to their original stock of songs. From first to last he has manifested the kindest interest in their undertaking, constantly suggesting the names of persons likely to afford them information, and improving every opportunity to procure them material. As soon as his own valuable collection had appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, he freely made it over to them with a liberality which was promptly confirmed by his publishers, Messrs. TICKNOR& FIELDS. It is but little to say that without his co-operation this Lyra Africana would have lacked greatly of its present completeness and worth. Through him we have profited by the cheerful assistance of Mrs. CHARLES J. BOWEN, Lieut.-Colonel C. T. TROWBRIDGE, Capt. JAMES S. ROGERS, Rev. HORACE JAMES, Capt. GEO. S. BARTON, Miss LUCY GIBBONS, Mr. WILLIAM A. BAKER, Mr. T. E. RUGGLES, and Mr. JAMES SCHOULER. Our thanks are also due for contributions, of which we have availed ourselves, to Dr. WILLIAM A. HAMMOND, Mr. GEO. H. ALLAN, Lt.-Col. WM. LEE APTHORP, Mr. KANE O'DONNEL, Mr. E. J. SNOW, Miss CHARLOTTE L. FORTEN, Miss LAURA M. TOWNE, and Miss ELLEN MURRAY; and for criticisms, suggestions, communications, and unused but not unappreciated contributions, to Mr. JOHN R. DENNETT, Miss ANNIE MITCHELL, Mr. REUBEN TOMLINSON, Mr. ARTHUR SUMNER, Mr. N. C. DENNETT, Miss MARY ELLEN


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PEIRCE, Maj-Gen. WAGER SWAYNE, Miss MARIA W. BENTON, Prof. J. SILSBY, Rev. JOHN L. MCKIM, Mr. ALBERT GRIFFIN, Mr. A. S. JENKS, Mr. E. H. HAWKES, Rev. H. C. TRUMBULL, Rev. J. K. HOSMER, Rev. F. N. KNAPP, Brev. Maj.-Gen. TRUMAN SEYMOUR, Maj.-Gen. JAMES H. WILSON, Mr. J. H. PALMER, and others; and, finally, to the editors of various newspapers who gratuitously announced the forthcoming volume.

        Conscious of many imperfections in this, the result of not inconsiderable joint labor for nearly a year, the Editors submit it, nevertheless, to the public judgment, in the belief that it will be pronounced deserving of even greater pains and of permanent preservation.

WILLIAM FRANCIS ALLEN,

CHARLES PICKARD WARE,

LUCY MCKIM GARRISON.


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CONTENTS.


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DIRECTIONS FOR SINGING.

        IN addition to those already given in the Introduction, the following explanations may be of assistance:

        Where all the words are printed with the music, there will probably be little difficulty in reading the songs; but where there are other words printed below the music it will often be a question to which part of the tune these words belong, and how the refrain and the chorus are to be brought in.

        It will be noticed that the words of most of the songs arrange themselves into stanzas of four lines each. Of these some are refrain, and some are verse proper. The most common arrangement gives the second and fourth lines, to the refrain, and the first and third to the verse; and in this case the third line may be a repetition of the first, or may have different words. Often, however, the refrain occupies only one line, the verse occupying the other three; while in one or two songs the verse is only one line, while the refrain is three lines in length. The refrain is repeated with each stanza: the words of the verse are changed at the pleasure of the leader, or fugleman, who sings either well-known words, or, if he is gifted that way, invents verses as the song goes on.

        In addition to the stanza, some of the songs have a chorus, which usually consists of a fixed set of words, though in some of the songs the chorus is a good deal varied. The refrain of the main stanza often appears in the chorus. The stanza can always be distinguished from the chorus, in those songs which have more than one stanza, by the figure "1" placed before the stanza which is printed with the music; the verses below being numbered on "2," "3," "4," &c. In a few cases the first verse below the music is numbered "3;" this occurs when two verses have been printed above in the music, instead of the first verse being repeated. When the chorus has a variety of words, the additional verses are printed below without numbers.

        In the following list the first fifty tunes in the collection are classified according


Page xliv

to the peculiarity of their division into verse and refrain. It is hoped that this will help to remove all obscurities with which the reader may be embarrassed.

        No explanation is needed for Nos. 2, 12, 13, 18, 22-26, 34, 36, 38-43.

        Single line and refrain, 27, 35.

        Single line and refrain with chorus, 6, 29.

        Stanza of 4 lines:

        No refrain; chorus, 11.

        4th line refrain; introduction, 7

        4th line refrain; chorus, 8, 9, 10, 15, 37, 45.

        1st and 2d lines verse, 3d and 4th refrain; chorus, 1, 4.

        1st and 3d lines verse, 2d and 4th refrain, 14, 17, 20, 28, 31, 32, 33, 47, 48, 49, 50.

        1st and 3d lines verse, 2d and 4th refrain; double, 21.

        1st and 3d lines verse, 2d and 4th refrain; chorus, 3, 30, 44.

        1st and 3d lines verse, 2d and 4th refrain; introduction, 46.

        1st line verse; chorus, 5.

        1st line verse; (double); chorus, 19.

        3d line verse, 16.

        As regards the tempo, most of the tunes are in 2-4 time, and in most of these [quarter note] = 100--(say)100-120. The spirit of the music will determine the tempo within these limits. The slower tunes are 1, 3, 9, 17, 21, etc. No. 2 is about [quarter note] = 160-180, and perhaps had better have been written in 3-8. So No. 13 would be better in 2-4; as it is, the [quarter note] = 160-170. No. 24 should be read as if divided in 2-4, with [quarter note] = 100. The tempo of the rowing tunes has been already indicated.

        The pitch has generally been accommodated to voices of medium range.


Page xlv

Slave Songs of the United States.


Page xlvi

I.
SOUTH-EASTERN SLAVE STATES:
INCLUDING SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND THE SEA ISLANDS.


Page 1

SLAVE SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES.

I.

1. ROLL, JORDAN, ROLL.

        


[1. My brudder* sittin' on de tree of life,
An' he yearde when Jordan roll;
Roll, Jordan, Roll, Jordan, Roll, Jordan, roll!
O march de angel march,
O march de angel march;
O my soul arise in Heaven, Lord,
For to yearde when Jordan roll.]

2. Little chil'en, learn to fear de Lord,
And let your days be long;
Roll, Jordan, &c.

3. O, let no false nor spiteful word
Be found upon your tongue;
Roll, Jordan, &c.

        * Parson Fuller, Deacon Henshaw, Brudder Mosey, Massa Linkum, &c.

        [This spiritual probably extends from South Carolina to Florida, and is one of the best known and noblest of the songs.]


Page 2

2. JEHOVAH, HALLELUJAH.

        


[Jehoviah, Hallelujah, De Lord is perwide,*
Jehoviah, Hallelujah, De Lord is perwide.
De foxes have a hole, an' de birdies have-a nest,
De Son of Man he dunno + where to lay de weary head.]

        * Will provide.

        + Hanno.

I HEAR FROM HEAVEN TO-DAY.

        


[Hurry* on, my weary soul,
And I yearde from heaven to-day,
Hurry on, my weary + soul,
And I yearde from heaven to-day.

1. My sin is forgiven and my soul set free,
And I yearde from heaven to-day,
My sin is forgiven, and my soul set free,
And I yearde from heaven to-day.]

2 A baby born in Bethlehem, And I yearde, &c.

3 De trumpet sound in de oder bright land. ^

4 My name is called and I must go.

5 De bell is a-ringin' in de oder bright world.

        * Travel.

        + My brudder, Brudder Jacob, Sister Mary.

        ^ World.


Page 3

4. BLOW YOUR TRUMPET, GABRIEL.

        


[1. De talles' tree in Paradise,
De Christian call de tree of life;
And I hope dat trump might blow me home
To de new Jerusalem.
Blow your trumpet, Gabriel,
Blow louder, louder;
And I hope dat trump might blow me home
To de new Jerusalem.]

2 Paul and Silas, bound in jail,
Sing God's praise both night and day;
And I hope, &c.

        [This hymn is sung in Virginia in nearly the same form. The following minor variation is given by Mrs. Bowen, as heard by her in Charleston, some twenty-five years ago:]

        


[Paul and Silas, bound in jail,
Christians pray both night and day,
And I hope dat trump might blow me home
To my new Jerusalem.
So blow de trumpet, Gabriel,
Blow de trumpet louder,
And I hope dat trump might blow me home
To my new Jerusalem.]

Page 4

5. PRAISE, MEMBER.

        


[Praise, member,* praise God,
I praise my Lord until I die;
Praise, member, praise God, +
And reach de heavenly home ^
Jordan's bank § is a good old bank,
And I hain't but one more river to cross;
I want some valiant soldier
To help me bear the cross.]

2 O soldier's fight is a good old fight,
And I hain't, &c.

3 O I look to de East, and I look to de West.

4 O I wheel to de right, and I wheel to de left.

        * Believer.

        + Religion so sweet.

        ^ Shore.

        § Stream, Fight.

        [The last verse is varied in several different ways; Col. Higginson gives, "There's a hill on my leff, an' he catch on my right," and says, "I could get no explanation of this last riddle, except, 'Dat mean, if you go on de leff, you go to 'struction, and if you go on de right, go to God, for sure.' " Miss Forten gives, "I hop on my right an' I catch on my leff," and supposes "that some peculiar motion of the body formed the original accompaniment of the song, but has now fallen into disuse." Lt. Col. Trowbridge heard this hymn sung among the colored people of Brooklyn, N. Y., several years ago.]

6. WRESTLE ON, JACOB.

        

        


[1. I hold my brudder* wid a tremblin' han',
De Lord will bless my soul. +
Wrastl' on, Jacob, Jacob, day is a-breakin',]
Page 5


[Wrastl' on, Jacob,
Oh he** would not let him go.]


2 I will not let you go, my Lord.

3 Fisherman Peter out at sea.

4 He cast ++ all night and he cast ++ all day.

5 He ^ catch no fish, but he ^ catch some soul.

6 Jacob hang from a tremblin' limb.

        * My sister, Brudder Jacky, All de member.

        + I would not let him go.

        ** Lord I.

        ++ Fish.

        ^ I.

        [This is also sung in Maryland and Virginia, in a slightly modified form. A Virginia verse is,--


I looked to the East at the breaking of the day,
The old ship of Zion when sailing away.]

7. THE LONESOME VALLEY.

        


[My brudder, *want to get religion?
Go down in de lonesome valley, etc.

1. Go down in de lonesome valley,
Go down in de lonesome valley, my Lord;
Go down in de lonesome valley,
To meet my Jesus dere.]

2 O feed on milk and honey.

3 O John he write de letter.

4 And Mary and Marta read 'em.

        * Sister Katy, etc.

        ["'De valley,' and 'de lonesome valley' were familiar words in their religious experience. To descend into that region implied the same process with the 'anxious-seat' of the camp-meeting. When a young girl was supposed to enter it, she bound a handkerchief by a peculiar knot over her head, and made it a point of honor not to change a single garment till the day of her baptism, so that she was sure of being in physical readiness for the cleansing rite, whatever her spiritual mood might be. More than once, in noticing a damsel thus mystically kerchiefed, I have asked some dusky attendant its meaning, and have received the unfailing answer,--framed with their usual indifference to the genders of pronouns,--"He in de lonesome valley, sa.' "--Col. Higginson.]


Page 6

8. I CAN'T STAY BEHIND.

        


[Chor. I can't stay behind, my Lord,
I can't stay behind!

1. Dere's room enough, Room enough,
Room enough in de heaven, my Lord;*
Room enough, Room enough,
I can't stay behind.]

2 I been all around, I been all around,
Been all around de Heaven, my Lord.

3 I've searched every room--in de Heaven, my Lord. +

4 De angels singin'^--all around de trone.

5 My Fader call--and I must go.

6 Sto-back,§ member; sto-back, member.

        * For you.

        + And Heaven all around.

        ^ Crowned.

        § "Sto-back" means "Shout backwards."

        [This "shout" is very widely spread, and variously sung. In Charleston it is simpler in its movement, and the refrain is "I can't stay away." In Edgefield it is expostulating: "Don't stay away, my mudder." Col. Higginson gives the following version, as sung in his regiment:


"O, my mudder is gone! My mudder is gone!
My mudder is gone into heaven, my Lord!
I can't stay behind!
Dere's room in dar, room in dar.
Room in dar, in de heaven, my Lord!
I can't stay behind.
Can't stay behind, my dear,
I can't stay behind!

"O, my fader is gone! &c.

"O, de angels are gone! &c.

"O, I'se been on de road! I'se been on de road!
I'se been on de road into heaven, my Lord!
I can't stay behind!
O, room in dar, room in dar,
Room in dar, in de heaven, my Lord!
I can't stay behind!"

Page 7

        Lt. Col. Trowbridge is of opinion that it was brought from Florida, as he first heard it in Dec, 1862, from a boat-load of Florida soldiers brought up by Lt. Col. Billings. It was not heard by Mr. Ware at Coffin's Point until that winter. It seems hardly likely, however, that it could have made its way to Charleston and Edgefield since that time. The air became "immensely popular" in the regiment, and was soon adopted for military purposes, so that the class leaders indignantly complained of "the drum corps using de Lord's chune."]

9. POOR ROSY.

        


[1. Poor Rosy, poor gal;*
Poor Rosy, poor gal;
Rosy break my poor heart,
Heav'n shall-a be my home.
I cannot stay in hell one day,
Heav'n shall-a be my home;
I'll sing and pray my soul away,
Heav'n shall-a be my home.]

2 Got hard trial in my way, (ter)
Heav'n shall-a be my home.
O when I talk, + I talk + wid God, (bis)
Heav'n shall-a be my home. (bis)

3 I dunno what de people ^ want of me, (ter)
Heav'n shall-a be my home.

        * Poor Cæsar, poor boy.

        + Walk.

        ^ Massa.

        [This song ranks with "Roll, Jordan," in dignity and favor. The following variation of the second part was heard at "The Oaks:"]

        


[Before I stay in hell one day,
Heaven shall-a be my home;
I sing and pray my soul away,
Heaven shall-a be my home.]

Page 8

10. THE TROUBLE OF THE WORLD.

        


[1. I want to be* my Fader's chil'en,
I want to be my Fader's chil'en,
I want to be my Fader chil'en,
Roll, Jordan, roll.

O say, + ain't you done wid de trouble ob de world,
Ah! . . . trouble ob de world,
Ah! Say ain't you done wid de trouble ob de world,
Ah Roll, Jordan, roll.]

2 I ask de Lord how long I hold 'em, (ter)
Hold 'em to de end.

3 My sins so heavy I can't get along, Ah! &c.

4 I cast my sins in de middle of de sea, Ah! &c.

        * O you ought to be.

        + My sister, My mudder, etc.

        [This is perhaps as good a rendering of this strange song as can be given. The difficulty is in the time, which is rapid, hurried and irregular to a degree which is very hard to imitate and impossible to represent in notes. The following is sung in Savannah, with the same refrain, "Trouble of the world:"]

        


[ wish I was in jubilee, Ha, jubilee;
I wish I was in jubilee,
Roll, Jordan, roll.]

Page 9

11. THERE'S A MEETING HERE TO-NIGHT.

        


[1. I take my text in Mattew, and by de Revelation,
I know you by your garment,
Dere's a meeting here to-night.
Dere's a meeting here to-night,
Oh!/(Brudder Tony,) Dere's a meeting here to-night,
Oh!/(Sister Rina,) Dere's a meeting here to-night,
I hope to meet again.]

2 Brudder John was a writer, he write de laws of God;
Sister Mary say to brudder John, "Brudder John, don't write no more."
Dere's a meeting here to-night, Oh! (Brudder Sandy,)(bis)
Dere's a meeting here to-night,
I hope to meet again.

        [Mrs. Bowen gives us the following beautiful variation, as sung in Charleston:]

        


[I see brudder Moses yonder,
And I think I ought to know him,
For I know him by his garment,
He's a blessing here to-night;
He's a blessing here to-night,
He's a blessing here to-night,
And I think I ought to know him,
He's a blessing here tonight.]

Page 10

12. HOLD YOUR LIGHT.

        


[What make ole Satan da follow me so?
Satan hain't nottin' at all for to do wid* me. (Run seeker.)
Hold you light, (Sister Mary, +)
Hold you light, (Seeker turn back,)
Hold your light on Canaan shore.]

        * Long o'.

        + All de member, Turn seeker.

13. HAPPY MORNING.

        


[Weep no more, Marta,
Weep no more, Mary,*
Jesus rise from de dead,
Happy + morning.
Glorious^ morning,
Glorious morning,
My Saviour rise from de dead,
Happy morning.]

        * Doubt no more, Thomas.

        + Glorious, Sunday.

        ^ O what a happy Sunday.

14. NO MAN CAN HINDER ME.

        

        


[Walk in, kind Saviour,
No man can hinder me!
Walk in, sweet Jesus,
Page 11


No man can hinder me!


2. See what wonder Jesus done,
O no man can hinder me!
See what wonder Jesus done,
O no man can hinder me!
O no man, no man, no man can hinder me!
O no man, no man, no man can hinder me!]

3 Jesus make de dumb to speak.

4 Jesus make de cripple walk.

5 Jesus give de blind his sight.

6 Jesus do most anyting.

7 Rise, poor Lajarush, from de tomb.

8 Satan ride an iron-gray horse.

9 King Jesus ride a milk-white horse.

        Variation.

        


[You'd better pray, de word da gwine,
No man can hinder me!
De Lord have mercy on my soul,
No man can hinder me!]

Page 12

15. LORD, REMEMBER ME.

        


[1. Oh Deat' he is a little man,
And he goes from do' to do',
He kill some souls and he wounded some,
And he lef' some souls to pray.
Oh* Lord, remember me,
Do, Lord, remember me;
Remember me + as de year roll round,
Lord, remember me.]

2 I want to die like-a Jesus die,
And he die wid a free good will,
I lay out in de grave and I stretchee out e arms,
Do, Lord, remember me.

        * Do.

        + I pray (cry) to de Lord.

16. NOT WEARY YET.

        


[O me no weary yet,
O me no weary yet

1. I Have a witness in my heart,
O me no weary yet. (Brudder Tony*)]

2 Since I been in de field to + fight.

3 I have a heaven to maintain.

4 De bond of faith are on my soul.

5 Ole Satan toss a ball at me.

6 Him tink de ball would hit my soul.

7 De ball for hell and I for heaven.

        * Sister Mary.

        + Been-a.


Page 13

17. RELIGION SO SWEET.

        


1. O walk Jordan long road,
And religion so sweet;
O religion is good for anything,
And religion so sweet.

3 Religion make you happy.*

4 Religion gib me patience. +

5 O member, get religion.

6 I long time been a-huntin'.

7 I seekin' for my fortune.

8 O I gwine to meet my Savior.

9 Gwine to tell him 'bout my trials.

10 Dey call me boastin' member.

11 Dey call me turnback ^ Christian.

12 Dey call me 'struction maker.

13 But I don't care what dey call me.

14 Lord, trial 'longs to a Christian.

15 O tell me 'bout religion.

16 I weep for Mary and Marta.

17 I seek my Lord and I find him

        * Humble.

        + Honor, Comfort.

        ^ Lyin', 'ceitful.

18. HUNTING FOR THE LORD.

        


[Hunt till you find him, Hallelujah,
And a-huntin' for de Lord;
Till you find him, Hallelujah,
And a-huntin' for de Lord.]

Page 14

19. GO IN THE WILDERNESS.

        


[I wait upon de Lord,
I wait upon de Lord,
I wait upon de Lord, my God,
who take away de sin of the world.

1. If you want to find Jesus, go in the wilderness,
Go in de wilderness, go in de wilderness,
Mournin' brudder, go in de wilderness,
I* wait upon de Lord.]

3 You want to be a Christian.

4 You want to get religion.

5 If you spec' to be converted.

6 O weepin' Mary.

7 'Flicted sister.

8 Say, ain't you a member?

9 Half-done Christian.

10 Come, backslider.

11 Baptist member.

12 O seek, brudder Bristol.

13 Jesus a waitin' to meet you in de wilderness.

        To.

        [The second part of this spiritual is the familiar Methodist hymn "Ain't I glad I got out of the wilderness!" and may be the original. The first part is very beautiful, and appears to be peculiar to the Sea Islands.]


Page 15

20. TELL MY JESUS "MORNING."

        


[1. In de mornin' when I rise,
Tell my Jesus huddy, oh;*
I wash my hands in de mornin' glory,
Tell my Jesus huddy, oh.]

2 Mornin', Hester, mornin' gal,
Tell my Jesus, &c.

        Variation to first line.


[Pray Tony, pray boy, you got de order;]

        (To the Variation.)


2 Say, brudder Sammy, you got de order,
Tell my Jesus, &c.

3 You got de order, and I got de order.

        * Morning.

21. THE GRAVEYARD.

        


[(Brudder Sammy) 1. Who gwine to lay dis body,
Member, O, shout glory.*
And-a who gwine to lay dis body,
Oh ring Jerusalem.

2. O call all de member to de graveyard.
Member, &c.]

3 O graveyard, ought to know me.

4 O grass grow in de graveyard.

5 O I reel + and I rock in de graveyard.

Page 16


6 O I walk and I toss wid Jesus.

7 My mudder reel and-a toss wid de fever.

8 I have a grandmudder in de graveyard.

9 O where d'ye tink I find 'em?**

10 I find 'em, Lord, in de graveyard.

11 (Member,) I wheel, and I rock, and I gwine home.

12 (Brudder Sammy) O 'peat dat story over.

        Variation to Verse 3.

        


[Graveyard, you ought to know me].

        * Sing glory, Graveyard.

        + Shout, Wheel.

        **i.e. religion; see Preface.

22. JOHN, JOHN, OF THE HOLY ORDER.

        

        


[John, John, wid de holy order,*
Sittin' on de golden order;
John, John, wid de holy order,
Sittin' on de golden order;
John, John, wid de holy order,
Sittin' on de golden order,
To view de promised land.
O Lord, I weep, I morn,
Why don't you move so slow?
I'm a huntin' for some guardian angel
Gone along before.
Mary and Marta, feed my lamb,]**
Page 17


[feed my lamb, feed my lamb;
Simon Peter, feed my lamb,
a-sittin' on de golden order.]

        * John, John, de holy Baptist.

        ** Paul and Silas, bound in jail.

        [These words were sung at Hilton Head to the second and third parts:


I went down sing polka, and I ax him for my Saviour;
I wonder de angel told me Jesus gone along before.
I mourn, I pray, although you move so slow;
I wonder, &c.

        The regularity and elaborateness of this hymn lead one at first to suspect its genuineness. The question seems, however, to be settled by two very interesting and undoubted variations from North Carolina and Georgia. The following words were sung at Augusta, but we have not been able to obtain the tune, which is entirely unlike that given above. For the North Carolina variation, see No. 100. Both, as will be seen, omit the second part, and a comparison of the two shows that the enigmatical word "order" should undoubtedly be "altar" The North Carolina tune has the first part quite different from the Port Royal tune, the last very similar to it.


Oh John, John, de holy member,
Sittin' on de golden ban'.
O worldy, worldy, let him be,
Let him be, let him be;
Worldly, worldly, let him be,
Sittin' on de golden ban'.]

23. I SAW THE BEAM IN MY SISTER'S EYE.

        


[1. I saw de beam in my sister's* eye,
Can't saw de beam in mine;
You'd better lef' your sister door,
Go keep your own door clean.]

2 And I had a mighty battle like-a Jacob and de angel,
Jacob, time of old;
I didn't 'tend to lef' 'em go
Till Jesus bless my soul.

Page 18


3 And blessèd me, and blessèd my,
And blessèd all my soul;
I didn't 'tend to lef' 'em go
Till Jesus bless my soul.

        * Titty Peggy, Brudder Mosey, &c.

        [This tune appears to be borrowed from "And are ye sure the news is true?"--but it is so much changed, and the words are so characteristic, that it seemed undoubtedly best to retain it.]

24. HUNTING FOR A CITY.

        


[I am huntin' for a city, to stay awhile,
I am huntin' for a city, to stay awhile,
I am huntin' for a city, to stay awhile,
O believer got a home at las]

25. GWINE FOLLOW.

        


[Titty Mary, you know I gwine follow,
I gwine follow, gwine follow,
Brudder William, you know I gwine to follow,
For to do my Fader will.
'Tis well and good I'm a-comin' here tonight,
I'm a-comin' here tonight, I'm a comin' here tonight,
'Tis well and good, I'm a-comin' here tonight,
For to do my Fader will.]

        [The second part of this tune is evidently "Buffalo" (variously known also as "Charleston" or "Baltimore") "Gals;" the first part, however, is excellent and characteristic.]


Page 19

26. LAY THIS BODY DOWN.

        


[1. O graveyard, O graveyard,
I'm walkin' troo de graveyard;
Lay dis body down.]

2 * I know moonlight, I know starlight,
I'm walkin' troo de starlight;
Lay dis body down.

        * O moonlight (or moonrise); O my soul, O your soul.

        [This is probably the song heard by W. H. Russell, of the London Times, as described in chapter xviii. of "My Diary North and South." The writer was on his way from Pocotaligo to Mr. Trescot's estate on Barnwell Island, and of the midnight row thither he says:

        "The oarsmen, as they bent to their task, beguiled the way by singing in unison a real negro melody, which was unlike the works of the Ethiopian Serenaders as anything in song could be unlike another. It was a barbaric sort of madrigal, in which one singer beginning was followed by the others in unison, repeating the refrain in chorus, and full of quaint expression and melancholy:--


'O your soul! oh my soul! I'm going to the churchyard
To lay this body down;
Oh my soul! oh your soul! we're going to the churchyard
To lay this nigger down.'

        And then some appeal to the difficulty of passing the 'Jawdam' constituted the whole of the song, which continued with unabated energy during the whole of the little voyage. To me it was a strange scene. The stream, dark as Lethe, flowing between the silent, houseless, rugged banks, lighted up near the landing by the fire in the woods, which reddened the sky--the wild strain, and the unearthly adjurations to the singers' souls, as though they were palpable, put me in mind of the fancied voyage across the Styx."

        We append with some hesitation the following as a variation; the words of which we borrow from Col. Higginson. Lt. Col Trowbridge says of it that it was sung at funerals in the night time--one of the most solemn and characteristic of the customs of the negroes. He attributes its origin to St. Simon's Island, Georgia:]

        


[I know moonlight, I know starlight;
I lay dis body down.]

2 I walk in de moonlight, I walk in de starlight;
I lay dis body down.

3 I know de graveyard, I know de graveyard,
When I lay dis body down.

Page 20


4 I walk in de graveyard, I wall troo de graveyard,
To lay, &c.

5 I lay in de grave an' stretch out my arms;
I lay, &c.

6 I go to de judgement in de evenin' of de day
When I lay, &c.

7 And my soul an' your soul will meet in de day
When we lay, &c.

        ["'I'll lie in de grave and stretch out my arms' Never, it seems to me, since man first lived and suffered, was his infinite longing for peace uttered more plaintively than in that line."--Col. Higginson.]

27. HEAVEN BELL A-RING.

        


[1. My Lord, my Lord, what shall I do?
And a heav'n bell a-ring and praise God.]

2 What shall I do for a hiding place? And a heav'n, &c.

3 I run to de sea, but de sea run dry.

4 I run to de gate, but de gate shut fast.

5 No hiding place for sinner dere.

6 Say you when you get to heaven say you 'member me.

7 Remember me, poor fallen soul.*

8 Say when you get to heaven say your work shall prove.

9 Your righteous Lord shall prove 'em well.

10 Your righteous Lord shall find you out.

11 He cast out none dat come by faith.

12 You look to de Lord wid a tender heart.

13 I wonder where poor Monday dere.

14 For I am gone and sent to hell.

15 We must harkee what de worldly say.

16 Say Christmas come but once a year.

17 Say Sunday come but once a week.

        Variation second.


[Timmy, Timmy, orphan boy.
Robert, Robert, orphan child.]

        * When I am gone, For Jesus' sake.


Page 21

28. JINE 'EM.

        


On Sunday mornin' I seek my Lord;
Jine 'em, jine 'em oh!
Oh jine 'em, believer, jine 'em so;
Jine 'em, jine 'em oh!

        [For other words see "Heaven bell a-ring," No. 27. The following were sung at Hilton Head, probably to the same tune:


Join, brethren, join us O,
Join us, join us O.
We meet to-night to sing and pray;
In Jesus' name we'll sing and pray.

A favorite rowing tune: apparently a variation of "Turn sinner," No. 48.]

29. RAIN FALL AND WET BECCA LAWTON.

        


[Rain fall and wet* Becca Lawton, +
Oh . . . . Rain fall and wet Becca Lawton,
Oh! Brudder ^ cry holy!

1. Been§ back holy, I must come slowly;
Oh! Brudder cry holy!]

2 Do, Becca Lawton, come to me yonder.

3 Say, brudder Tony, what shall I do now?

4 Beat back holy, and rock salvation.

        * Sun come and dry.

        + All de member, &c.

        ^ We all, Believer, &c.

        § Beat, Bent, Rack.

        ["Who," says Col. Higginson, "Becky Martin was, and why she should or should not be wet, and whether the dryness was a reward or a penalty, none could say. I got the impression that, in either case, the event was posthumous, and that there was some tradition of grass not growing over the grave of a sinner; but even this was vague, and all else vaguer."

        Lt. Col. Trowbridge heard a story that "Peggy Norton was an old prophetess, who said that it would not do to be baptized except when it rained; if the Lord


Page 22

was pleased with those who had been 'in the wilderness,' he would send rain." Mr. Tomlinson says that the song always ends with a laugh, and appears therefore to be regarded by the negroes as mere nonsense. He adds that when it is used as a rowing tune, at the words "Rack back holy!" one rower reaches over back and slaps the man behind him, who in turn does the same, and so on.]

30. BOUND TO GO.

        


[1. I build my house upon de rock,
O yes, Lord!
No wind, no storm can blow 'em down,
O yes, Lord!
March on, member, Bound to go;
Been to de ferry, Bound to go;
Left St. Helena, Bound to go;
Brudder, fare you well.]

2 I build my house on shiftin' sand,
De first wind come he blow him down.

3 I am not like de foolish man,
He build his house upon de sand.

4 One mornin' as I was a walkin' along,
I saw de berries a-hanging down.

5 I pick de berries and I suck de juice,
He sweeter dan de honey comb.

I tuk dem brudder, two by two,
I tuk dem sister, tree by tree.

        Variation.

        

        


[I build my house upon a rock,
O yes, Lord!
No wind nor storm shall blow dem down, ]
Page 23


[O yes, Lord!
March on, member, Bound to go;
March on, member, Bound to go;
March on, member, Bound to go;
Bid 'em fare you well.]

31. MICHAEL ROW THE BOAT ASHORE.

        


[1. Michael row de boat ashore, Hallelujah!

2. Michael boat a gospel boat, Hallelujah!]

3 I wonder where my mudder deh (there).

4 See my mudder on de rock gwine home.

5 On de rock gwine home in Jesus' name.

6 Michael boat a music boat.

7 Gabriel blow de trumpet horn.

8 O you mind your boastin' talk.

9 Boastin' talk will sink your soul.

10 Brudder, lend a helpin' hand.

11 Sister, help for trim dat boat.

12 Jordan stream is wide and deep.

13 Jesus stand on t' oder side.

14 I wonder if my maussa deh.

15 My fader gone to unknown land.

16 O de Lord he plant his garden deh.

Page 24


17 He raise de fruit for you to eat.

18 He dat eat shall neber die.

19 When de riber overflow.

20 O poor sinner, how you land?

21 Riber run and darkness comin'.

22 Sinner row to save your soul.

        Words from Hilton Head.


Michael haul the boat ashore.
Then you'll hear the horn they blow.
Then you'll hear the trumpet sound.
Trumpet sound the world around.
Trumpet sound for rich and poor.
Trumpet sound the jubilee.
Trumpet sound for you and me.

32. SAIL, O BELIEVER.

        


[Sail, O believer, sail,
Sail over yonder;
Sail, O my brudder, sail,
Sail over yonder.]

        [Co. Higginson gives the following stanzas, of which the above seems to be a part; but unfortunately he is unable to identify the music, which is well described by the terms in which he speaks of the words--"very graceful and lyrical, and with more variety of rhythm than usual:"


"Bow low, Mary, bow low, Martha,
For Jesus come and lock de door
And carry de keys away.

Sail, sail, over yonder,
And view de promised land,
For Jesus come, &c.

Weep, O Mary, bow low, Martha,
For Jesus come, &c.

Sail, sail, my true believer;
Sail, sail, over yonder;
Mary, bow low, Martha, bow low,
For Jesus come and lock de door,
And carry de keys away."]

Page 25

33. ROCK O' JUBILEE.

        


[1. O rock o' jubilee, poor fallen soul,*
O Lord, + de rock o' jubilee!

2. O rock o' jubilee, and I rock 'em all about,
O Lord, de rock o' jubilee!]

3 Stand back, Satan, let me come by.

4 O come, titty Katy, let me go.

5 I have no time for stay at home.

6 My Fader door wide open now.

7 Mary, girl, you know my name.

8 Look dis way an' you look dat way.

9 De wind blow East, he blow from Jesus.

        * To mercy seat, To de corner o' de world.

        + Yes.

34. STARS BEGIN TO FALL.

        

        


[I tink I hear my brudder* say,
Call de nation great and small;
I lookee on de God's right hand, ]
Page 26


[When de stars begin to fall.
Oh what a mournin' (sister),
Oh what a mournin' (brudder),
Oh what a mournin',
When de stars begin to fall.]

        * Titty Nelly, De member, &c.

35. KING EMANUEL.

        


[1. O my King Emanuel, my Emanuel above,
Sing glory to my King Emanuel.

2. If you walk de golden street, and you join de golden band,
Sing glory be to my King Emanuel.]

3 If you touch one string, den de whole heaven ring.

4 O the great cherubim, O de cherubim above.

5 O believer, ain't you glad dat your soul is converted?

        [This hymn--words and melody--bears all the marks of white origin. We have not, however, been able to find it in any hymn-book, and therefore retain it, as being a favorite at Port Royal.]


Page 27

36. SATAN'S CAMP A-FIRE.

        


[Fier, my Saviour, fier,
Satan's camp a-fire;
Fier, believer, fier,
Satan's camp a-fire.]

37. GIVE UP THE WORLD.

        

        


[De sun give a light* in de heaven all round,
De sun give a light in de heaven all round,
De sun give a light in de heaven all round,
Why don't you give up de world?
My brudder, don't you give up de world?
My brudder, don't you give up de world?]
Page 28


[My brudder, don't you give up de world?
We must leave de world behind.]

        * De moon give a light, De starry crown.

        [The first movement of this air is often sung in the minor key.]

38. JESUS ON THE WATER-SIDE.

        

        


[Heaven bell a-ring, I know de road,
Heaven bell a-ring, I know de road;
Heaven bell a-ring, I know de road,
Jesus sittin' on de water-side.
Do come along, do let us go,
Do come along, do let us go,
Do come along do let us go,]
Page 29


[Jesus sittin' on de water-side.

39. I WISH I BEEN DERE.

        


[My mudder, you follow Jesus,
My sister, you follow Jesus,
My brudder, you follow Jesus,
To fight until I die.
I wish I been dere,/yonder,
To climb Jacob's ladder,
I wish I been dere,/yonder,
To wear de starry crown].

40. BUILD A HOUSE IN PARADISE.

        


[My brudder build a house in Paradise, . . . .
Ona build a house in Paradise.
Build it widout a hammer or a nail,
Build it widout a hammer or a nail.]

Page 30

41. I KNOW WHEN I'M GOING HOME.

        


[Old Satan told me to my face, O yes, Lord,
De God I seek I never find, O yes, Lord.
True believer, I know when I gwine home,
True believer, I know when I gwine home,
True believer, I know when I gwine home,
I been afraid to die.]

42. I'M A-TROUBLE IN DE MIND.

        

        


[I am a-trouble in de mind,
O I am a-trouble in de mind;
I ask my Lord what shall I do,
I am a-trouble in de mind. ]
Page 31


[I'm a-trouble in de mind,
What you doubt for?*
I'm a-trouble in de mind.]

        * Titty Rosy, Brudder Johnny, Come along dere.

43. TRAVEL ON.

        


[Sister Rosy, you get to heaven before I go,
Sister, you look out for me, I'm on de way.
Trabel on, trabel on, you heaven-born* soldier,
Trabel on, trabel on,
Go hear de what my Jesus say.]

        * Heaven-bound.


Page 32

44. ARCHANGEL OPEN THE DOOR.

        


[I ax all dem brudder* roun',
Brudder,* why can't you pray for me?
I ax all dem brudder roun',
Brudder, why can't you pray for me?

1. I'm gwine to my heaven, I'm gwine home,
Archangel open de door;
I'm gwine to my heaven, I'm gwine home;
Archangel open de door.]

2 Brudder, tuk off your knapsack, I'm gwine home;
Archangel open de door.

        * Sister

45. MY BODY ROCK 'LONG FEVER.

        

        


[1. Wai', my brudder, * better true believer, +
Better true be long time get over crosses;
Wai', my sister, better true believe,
An' 'e get up to heaven at last.
Page 33


O my body rock 'long fever,
O! wid a pain in e' head!
I wish I been to de kingdom,
to sit along side o' my Lord!]


2 By de help ob de Lord we rise again,
O de Lord he comfort de sinner;
By de help ob de Lord we rise up again,
An' we'll get to heaven at last.

        * All de member.

        + Long time seeker 'gin to believe.

        Variation.

        


[O my body's racked wid de feveer,
My head rac'd wid de pain I hab,
I wish I was in de kingdoom,
A-settin' on de side ob de Lord.]

        [This is one of the most striking of the Port Royal spiritual, and is shown by a comparison with No. 93 to be one of the most widely spread of all the African hymns. It is hard to explain every word of the introduction, but "long time get over crosses" is of course the "long time waggin' o'er de crossin'" of the Virginia hymn.]


Page 34

46. BELL DA RING.

        


[I know member, know Lord,
I know I yedde de bell da ring.

1. Want to go to meeting,
Bell da ring,
Want to go to meeting,
Bell da ring.

2. (Say) Road so stormy,*
Bell da ring,
(Say) Road so stormy,
Bell da ring.]

3 I can't get to meetin'. +

4 De church mos' ober.

5 De heaven-bell a heaven-bell.

6 De heaven-bell I gwine home.

7 I shout for de heaven-bell.

8 Heaven 'nough for me one.

9 (Brudder) hain't you a member?

        * Boggy, Tedious.

        + 'ciety, Lecter, Praise-house.

        [The following words were sung in Col. Higginson's regiment:


Do my brudder, O yes, yes, member,
De bell done ring.

You can't get to heaben
When de bell done ring.

If you want to get to heaven,
Fo' de bell, etc.

You had better follow Jesus,
Fo' de bell, etc.

O yes, my Jesus, yes, I member,
De bell etc.

O come in, Christians,
Fo' de bell, etc.

For the gates are all shut,
When de bell, etc.

And you can't get to heaben
When de bell, etc.

Page 35

        Col. Higginson suggests that this refrain may have originated in Virginia, and gone South with our army, because "'done' is a Virginia shibboleth, quite distinct from the 'been' which replaces it in South Carolina. In the proper South Carolina dialect, would have been substituted 'De bell been-a ring.'" We have, however, shown in the preface, that "done" is used on St. Helena; and at any rate the very general use of this refrain there in the present tense, "Bell da ring," would indicate that it was of local origin, while we have never met with anything at all like it in any other part of the country. As given above, it is one of the most characteristic "shouting" tunes.

        In singing "Heaven-bell a heaven-bell," the v and n were so run together that the words sounded like "hum-bell a hum-bell," with strong emphasis and dwelling upon the m.]

47. PRAY ALL DE MEMBER.

        


[1. Pray all de member,* O Lord!
Pray all de member, Yes, my Lord!

2. Pray a little longer, O Lord!
Pray a little longer, Yes, my Lord!

3. Jericho da worry me, O Lord!
Jericho da worry me, Yes, my Lord!]

4 Jericho, Jericho.

5 I been to Jerusalem.

6 Patrol aroun' me.

7 Tank God he no ketch me.

8 Went to de meetin'.

9 Met brudder Hacless [Hercules].

10 Wha' d'ye tink he tell me?

11 Tell me for to turn back.

12 Jump along Jericho.

        * True believer.

        [This also is a very characteristic shouting tune.]


Page 36

48. TURN, SINNER, TURN O!

        

        


[1. Turn, sinner, turn to-day,
Turn sinner, turn O!
Turn, sinner, turn to-day,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

2. Turn, O sinner, de worl' da gwine,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
Turn, O sinner, de worl' da gwine,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

3. Wait not for tomorrow's sun,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
Wait not for tomorrow's sun,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

4. Tomorrow's sun will sure to shine,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
Tomorrow's sun will sure to shine,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

5. The sun may shine, but on your grave,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
The sun may shine, but on your grave,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

6. Hark! I hear dem sinner say,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
Hark! I hear dem sinner say,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

7 If you get to heaven I'll get there too,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
If you get to heaven I'll get there too,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

Page 37


8. O sinner, you make mistake,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
O sinner, you make mistake,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

9. While de lamp hold out to burn,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
While de lamp hold out to burn,
Turn, sinner, turn O!

10. De wile' sinner may return,
Turn, sinner, turn O!
De wile' sinner may return,
Turn, sinner, turn O!]

        The following words are sung to the same tune:


1 Bro' Joe, you ought to know my name--Hallelujah.

2 My name is written in de book ob life.

3 If you look in de book you'll fin' 'em dar.

4 One mornin' I was a walkin' down.

5 I saw de berry a-hinging down.

6 (Lord) I pick de berry, an' I suck de juice.

7 Jes' as sweet as de honey in de comb.

8 I wonder where fader Jimmy gone.

9 My fader gone to de yonder worl'.

10 You dig de spring dat nebber dry.

11 De more I dig 'em, de water spring.

12 De water spring dat nebber dry.

        [This is the most dramatic of all the shouts; the tune varies with the words, commonly about as given above, and the general effect is very pathetic. The words and tunes are constantly interchanged: thus, for instance, the 6th verse might be sung to the second variation, and the 8th, 9th, and 10th, to the third.]


Page 38

49. MY ARMY CROSS OVER.

        


[1. My brudder, tik keer Satan,
My army cross ober,
My brudder, tik keer Satan,
My army cross ober.]

2 Satan bery busy.

3 Wash 'e face in ashes.

4 Put on de leder apron.

5 Jordan riber rollin'.

6 Cross 'em, I tell ye, cross 'em.

7 Cross Jordan (danger) riber.

        [The following version, probably from Sapelo Id., Georgia, was sung in Col. Higginson's regiment:

        


[1. My army cross ober,
My army cross ober,
O Pharaoh's army drownded,
My army cross ober.
My army, my army, my army cross ober.]

2 We'll cross de riber Jordan.

3 We'll cross de danger water.

4 We'll cross de mighty Myo.

        [On the word "Myo," Col. Higginson makes the following note: "I could get no explanation of the 'mighty Myo,' except that one of the old men thought it meant the river of death. Perhaps it is an African word. In the Cameroon dialect, 'Mawa' signifies 'to die.'" Lt. Col. Trowbridge feels very confident that it is merely a corruption of "bayou."]


Page 39

50. JOIN THE ANGEL BAND.

        


[1. If you look up de road you see fader Mosey,
Join de angel band,
If you look up de road you see fader Mosey,
Join de angel band.]

2 Do, fader Mosey, gader your army.

3 O do mo' soul gader togeder.

4 O do join 'em, join 'em for Jesus.

5 O do join 'em, join 'em archangel.

        The following variation of the first line, with the words that follow, was sung in Charleston:

        


[O join 'em all, join for Jesus.]

O join 'em all, join for Jesus, Join Jerusalem Band.

Sister Mary, stan' up for Jesus.

Sixteen souls set out for Heaven.

O brudder an' sister, come up for Heaven.

Daddy Peter set out for Jesus.

Ole Maum Nancy set out for Heaven.

        ["The South Carolina negroes never say Aunty and Uncle to old persons, but Daddy and Maumer, and all the white people say Daddy and Maumer to old black men and women"--A. M. B.

        This is no doubt correct as regards South Carolina in general. I am sure that I heard "Uncle" and "Aunty" at Port Royal, and I do not remember hearing "Daddy" and "Maumer."--W. F. A.]


Page 40

51. I AN' SATAN HAD A RACE.

        


[1. I an' Satan had a race,
Hallelu, hallelu,
I an' Satan had a race,
Hallelu, hallelu]

2 Win de race agin de course.

3 Satan tell me to my face

4 He will break my kingdom down.

5 Jesus whisper in my heart

6 He will build 'em up again.

7 Satan mount de iron grey;

8 Ride half way to Pilot-Bar.

9 Jesus mount de milk-white horse.

10 Say you cheat my fader children.

11 Say you cheat 'em out of glory.

12 Trouble like a gloomy cloud

13 Gader dick an' tunder loud.

Page 41

52. SHALL I DIE?

        


1. Believer, O shall I die?
O my army, shall I die?

2. Jesus die, shall I die?
Die on the cross, shall I die?

3 Die, die die, shall I die?
Jesus da coming, shall I die?

4 Run for to meet him, shall I die?
Weep like a weeper, shall I die?

5 Mourn like a mourner, shall I die?
Cry like a crier, shall I die?

        [This shout was a great favorite of the Capt. John Fripp plantation; its simplicity, wildness and minor character suggest a native African origin. Sometimes the leading singer would simply repeat the words, mornfully: "Die, die, die,"--sometimes he would interpolate such an inappropriate line as "Jump along, jump along dere."]

53. WHEN WE DO MEET AGAIN.

        


[When we do meet again,
When we do meet again,
When we do meet again,
'Twill be no more to part.
Brother Billy, fare you well,
Brother Billy, fare you well,
We'll sing hallelujah, when we do meet again.]

Page 42

54. THE WHITE MARBLE STONE.

        


[1. Sister Dolly* light the lamp, and the lamp light the road,
And I wish I been there for to yedde Jordan roll.]

2 O the city light the lamp, the white man he will sold,
And I wish I been there, etc.

3 O the white marble stone, and the white marble stone.

        * Believer, Patty, etc.

        [This song was described to us as "too pretty." The following minor variation might be called "too much prettier."


[O my sister light de lamp, and de lamp light de road;
I wish I been dere for to hearde Jordan roll.]

55. I CAN'T STAND THE FIRE.

        


[I can't stan' de fire, (dear sister)
I can't stan' de fire, (O Lord)
I can't stan' de fire,
While Jordan da roll so swif'. (Tiddy 'Rinah.)]

        [Probably only a fragment of a longer piece. The following variation was sung at Coffin's Point:


[Can't stand the fire,
Can't stand the fire,
Can't, etc.
(O Lord, I) Can't stand the fire.]

Page 43

56. MEET, O LORD!

        


[1. Meet, O Lord, on de milk-white horse,
An' de nineteen wile* in his han'; Drop on, drop on de crown on my head,
An' rolly in my Jesus' arm.
In dat mornin' all day,
In dat mornin' all day,
In dat mornin' all day,
When Jesus de Chris' been born.]

2 Moon went into de poplar tree,
An' star went into blood;
In dat mornin', etc.

        * i.e. the anointing vial.

        [This was taught me by a boy from Hilton Head Island, whom the rebel Gen. Drayton left holding his horse "when gun shoot at Bay Pint." The General never returned to reclaim his horse, which afterwards came into the possession of a friend of mine, and was famed for swiftness. I had several fine rides upon "milk-white" Drayton.--W. F. A.]

57. WAIT, MR. MACKRIGHT.

        


[Wai', Mister Mackright, an' 'e yedde what Satan say:
Satan full me full of music, an' tell me not to pray
Mister Mackright cry holy; O Lord, cry holy.]

Page 44

58. EARLY IN THE MORNING.

        


[1. I meet little Rosa early in de mornin',
O Jerusalem, early in de mornin';
An I ax her, how you do my darter?
O Jerusalem, early in de mornin'.
Walk 'em easy round de heaben,
Walk 'em easy round de heaben,
Walk 'em easy round de heaben,
Till all living may join dat band.*]

2 I meet my mudder early in de mornin',
An' I ax her, how you do my mudder?
Walk 'em easy, etc.

3 I meet brudder Robert early in de mornin';
I ax brudder Robert, how you do, my sonny?

4 I met titta-Wisa + early in de mornin';
I ax titta-Wisa, how you do, my darter?

        * O shout glory till 'em join dat ban'.

        + i.e. sister Louisa.

        ["This shout is accompanied by the peculiar shuffling dance, except in the chorus, where they walk around in slow time, keeping step to their song."--J. S. R.]


Page 45

59. HAIL, MARY.

        


[I want some valiant soldier here,
I want some valiant soldier here,
I want some valiant soldier here,
To help me bear de cross.
O hail, Mary, hail!
O hail, Mary, hail!
O hail, Mary, hail!
To help me bear de cross.]

        ["I fancied," says Col. Higginson, "that the original reading might have been 'soul,' instead of 'soldier.'--with some other syllable inserted, to fill out the metre,--and that the 'Hail, Mary,' might denote a Roman Catholic origin, as I had several men from St. Augustine who held in a dim way to that faith."

        In Mr. Spaulding's article in the Continental Monthly, a tune nearly identical with this is given with words almost the same as those of "No more peck of corn." No. 64, the whole as an introduction to the second part of "Trouble of the World," No. 10--a curious illustration of the way in which the colored people make different combinations of their own tunes at different times:]

        


[1. Done wid driber's dribin',
Done wid driber's dribin',
Done wid driber's dribin',
Roll, Jordan, roll.]

2 Done wid massa's hollerin',

3 Done wid missus' scoldin'.

Page 46

60. NO MORE RAIN FALL FOR WET YOU.

        


1. No more rain fall for wet you, Hallelu, hallelu,
No more rain fall for wet you, Hallelujah.

2 No more sun shine for burn you.

3 No more parting in de kingdom.

4 No more backbiting in de kingdom.

5 Every day shall be Sunday.

61. I WANT TO GO HOME.

        

        In chanting style.


[1. Dere's no rain to wet you.
O yes, I want to go home,
Want to go home.]

2 Dere's no sun to burn you,--O yes, etc.

3 Dere's no hard trials.

4 Dere's no whips a-crackin'.

5 Dere's no stormy weather.

6 Dere's no tribulation.

7 No more slavery in de kingdom.

8 No evil-doers in de kingdom.

9 All is gladness in de kingdom.

        [Verse 7 was added after the Emancipation Proclamation.--J. S. R.]


Page 47

62. GOOD-BYE, BROTHER.

        


[1. Good-bye, brother, good-bye, brother,
If I don't see you more;
Now God bless you, now God bless you,
If I don't see you more.]

2 We part in de body but we meet in de spirit,
We'll meet in de heaben in de blessed * kingdom.

3 So good-bye, brother, good-bye, sister;
Now God bless you, now God bless you.

        * Glorious.

        ["Sung at the breaking up of a midnight meeting after the death of a soldier. These midnight wails are very solemn to me, and exhibit the sadness of the present mingled with the joyful hope of the future. I have known the negroes to get together in groups of six or eight around a small fire, and sing and pray alternatively from nine o'clock till three the next morning, after the death of one of their number."--J. S. R.]

63. FARE YE WELL.

        

        


[O fare you well, my brudder,
fare you well by de grace of God,
For I'se gwinen home;
I'se gwinen home, my Lord,
I'se gwinen home.
Massa Jesus gib me a little broom,
Page 48


For to sweep my heart clean;
Sweep 'em clean by de grace of God,
An' glory in my soul.]

64. MANY THOUSAND GO.

        


[1. No more peck o' corn for me,
No more, no more;
No more peck o' corn for me,
Many tousand go.]

2 No more driver's lash for me.

3 No more pint o' salt for me.

4 No more hundred lash for me.

5 No more mistress' call for me.

        [A song "to which the Rebellion had actually given rise. This was composed by nobody knows whom--though it was the most recent doubtless of all these 'spirituals,'--and had been sung in secret to avoid detection. It is certainly plaintive enough. The peck of corn and pint of salt were slavery's rations."--T. W. H. Lt. Col. Trowbridge learned that it was first sung when Beauregard took the slaves of the islands to build the fortifications at Hilton Head and Bay Point.]


Page 49

65. BROTHER MOSES GONE.

        


[Brudder Moses gone to de promised land,
Hallelu, hallelujah.]

66. THE SIN-SICK SOUL.

        


[Brudder George is a-gwine to glory,
Take car' de sin-sick soul,
Brudder George is a-gwine to glory,
Take car' de sin-sick soul.
Brudder Stephen's gwine to glory,
Take car' de sin-sick soul.]

Page 50

67. SOME VALIANT SOLDIER.

        


[Oh Lord, I want some valiant soldier
I want some valiant soldier,
I want some valiant soldier,
To help me bear de cross.
For I weep, I weep, I can't hold out;
If any mercy, Lord, O pity poor me.]

        [The words are in part the same as those of "Hail Mary," No. 59.]

68. HALLELU, HALLELU.

        


[1. Oh one day as anoder,
Hallelu, hallelu!

2. When de ship is out a-sailin',
Hallelujah!]

3 Member walk and never tire.

4 Member walk Jordan long road.

5 Member walk tribulation.

6 You go home to Wappoo.

7 Member seek new repentance.

8 I go to seek my fortune.

9 I go to seek my dying Saviour.

10 You want to die like Jesus.

        [For other words, see "Children do linger," No. 69.]


Page 51

69. CHILDREN DO LINGER.

        


[1. O member, will you linger?
See de chil'en do linger here.

2. I go to glory wid you, Member, join.]

3 O Jesus is our Captain.

4 He lead us on to glory.

5 We'll meet at Zion gateway.*

6 We'll talk dis story over.

7 We'll enter into glory.

8 When we done wid dis world trials.

9 We done wid all our crosses.

10 O brudder, will you meet us?

11 When de ship is out a-sailin'.

12 O Jesus got de hellum.

13 Fader, gader in your chil'en.

14 O gader dem for Zion.

15 'Twas a beauteous Sunday mornin'.

16 When he rose from de dead.

17 He will bring you milk and honey.

        * Heaven portal.


Page 52

70. GOOD-BYE.

        


[Good-by, my brudder, good-by, Hallelujah!
Good-by, sister Sally, good-bye, Hallelujah!
Going home, Hallelujah!
Jesus call me, Hallelujah!
Linger no longer, Hallelujah!
Tarry no longer, Hallelujah!]

        ["This is sung at the breaking up of a meetings, with a general shaking of hands, and the name of him or her pronounced, whose hand is shaken; of course there is seeming confusion."--Mrs. C. J. B.]

71. LORD, MAKE ME MORE PATIENT.

        


Lord, make me more patient, *
Lord, make me more patient,
Lord, make me more patient,
Until we meet again;
Patient, patient, patient,
Until we meet again.

        * "Any adjective expressive of the virtues is inserted here: holy, loving, peaceful, etc."--Mrs. C. J. B.


Page 53

72. THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.

        


1. And de moon will turn to blood,
And de moon will turn to blood,
And de moon will turn to blood
In dat day--O yoy,* my soul!
And de moon will turn to blood in dat day.

2 And you'll se de stars a-fallin'.

3 And de world will be on fire.

4 And you'll hear de saints a-singin:

5 And de Lord will say to de sheep.

6 For to go to Him right hand;

7 But de goats must go to de left.

        * "A sort of prolonged wail."--Mrs. C. J. B.


Page 54

73. THE RESURRECTION MORN.

        


[1. O run, Mary, run, Hallelu, hallelu!
O run, Mary, run, Hallelujah!

2. It was early in de mornin', Hallelu, hallelu!
It was early in de mornin', Hallelujah!]

3 That she went to de sepulchre,

4 And de Lord he wasn't da.

5 But she see a man a-comin',

6 And she thought it was de gardener.

7 But he say, "O touch me not,

8 "For I am not yet ascended.

9 "But tell to my disciples

10 "Dat de Lord he is arisen."

11 So run, Mary, run, etc.

Page 55

74. NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I'VE HAD.

        


[Nobody knows de trouble I've had,*
Nobody knows but Jesus,
Nobody knows de trouble I've had,
(Sing) Glory hallelu!

1. One morning I was a-walking down, O yes, Lord!
I saw some berries a-hanging down, O yes, Lord!]

2. I pick de berry and I suck de juice, O yes, Lord!
Just as sweet as the honey in de comb, O yes, Lord!

3 Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down,
Sometimes I'm almost on de groun'.

4 What make ole Satan hate me so?
Because he got me once and he let me go.

        Variation on St. Helena Id.


[O yes, Lord! I saw some berries hanging down.]

        * I see.

        [This song was a favorite in the colored schools of Charleston in 1865; it has since that time spread to the Sea Islands, where it is now sung with the variation noted above. An independent transcription of this melody, sent from Florida by Lt. Col. Apthorp, differed only in the ictus of certain measures, as has also been noted above. The third verse was furnished by Lt. Col. Apthorp. Once when there had been a good deal of ill feeling excited, and trouble was apprehended, owing to the uncertain action of Government in regard to the confiscated lands on the Sea Islands, Gen. Howard was called upon to address the colored people earnestly and even severely. Sympathizing with them, however, he could not speak to his own satisfaction; and to relieve their minds of the ever-present sense of injustice, and prepare them to listen, he asked them to sing. Immediately an old woman on the outskirts of the meeting began "Nobody knows the trouble I've had," and the whole audience joined in. The General was so affected by the plaintive words and melody, that he found himself melting into tears and quite unable to maintain his official sternness.]


Page 56

75. WHO IS ON THE LORD'S SIDE.

        


[Let me tell you what is nat'rally de fac'
Who is on de Lord's side,
None o' God's chil'n nebber look back,
Who is on de Lord's side.

1. Way in de walley,
Who is on de Lord's side,
Way in de walley,
Who is on de Lord's side.]

2 Weepin' Mary.

3 Mournin' Marta.

4 Risen Jesus.

Page 57

76. HOLD OUT TO THE END.

        


[All dem Mount Zion member, dey have many ups and downs;
But cross come or no come, for to hold out to the end.
Hold out to the end, hold out to the end,
It is my 'termination for to hold out to the end.]

77. COME GO WITH ME.

        

        


[1. Ole Satan is a busy ole man,
He roll stones in my way;
Mass' Jesus is my bosom friend,
He roll 'em out o' my way.
Page 58


O come-e go wid me,
O come-e go wid me,
O come-e go wid me,
A-walkin' in de heaven I roam.]


2 I did not come here myself, my Lord,
It was my Lord who brought me here;
And I really do believe I'm a child of God,
A-walkin' in de heaven I roam.
O come-e go wid me, etc.

78. EVERY HOUR IN THE DAY.

        


[One cold freezing morning I lay dis body down;
I will pick up my cross an' follow my lord
All roun' my Fader's throne.

1. Every hour in de day cry holy,
Cry holy, my Lord!
Every hour in de day cry holy,
Oh show me de crime I've done.]

2 Every hour in de night cry Jesus, etc.

Page 59

79. IN THE MANSIONS ABOVE.

        


[Good Lord, in de manshans above,
Good Lord, in de manshans above,
My Lord, I hope to meet my Jesus
In de manshans above.

1. If you get to heaven before I do,
Lord, tell my Jesus I'm a-comin' too,
To de manshans above.]

2 My Lord, I've had many crosses an' trials here below;
My Lord, I hope to meet you
In de manshans above.

3 Fight on, my brudder, for de manshans above,
For I hope to meet my Jesus dere
In de manshans above.

Page 60

80. SHOUT ON, CHILDREN.

        


[1. Shout on, chil'en, you never die;
Glory hallelu!
You in de Lord, an' de Lord in you;
Glory hallelu!]

2 Shout an' pray both night an' day;
How can you die, you in de Lord?

3 Come on, chil'en, let's go home;
O I'm so glad you're in de Lord.

81. JESUS, WON'T YOU COME BY-AND-BYE?

        


[You ride dat horse, you call him Macadoni,
Jesus won't you come bumby?
You ride him in de mornin' and you ride him in de evenin',
Jesus, wont' you come bumby?
De Lord knows de world's gwine to end up,
Jesus, won't you come bumby?]

Page 61

82. HEAVE AWAY.

        


Heave away, heave away!
I'd rather court a yellow gal than work for Henry Clay.
Heave away, heave away! . . .
Yellow gal, I want to go,
I'd rather court a yellow gal than work for Henry Clay.
Heave away!
Yellow gal, I want to go!

        [This is one of the Savannah firemen's songs of which Mr. Kane O'Donnel gave a graphic account in a letter to the Philadelphia Press. "Each company," he says, "has its own set of tunes, its own leader, and doubtless in the growth of time, necessity and invention, its own composer."]


Page 63

II.
NORTHERN SEABOARD SLAVE STATES:
INCLUDING DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, AND NORTH CAROLINA.


Page 65

SLAVE SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES.

II.

83. WAKE UP, JACOB.

        


[1. Wake up, Jacob, day is a-breaking,
I'm on my way;
O, wake up, Jacob, day is a-breaking,
I'm on my way.
I want to go to heaven when I die,
Do love de Lord!
I want to go to heaven when I die,
Do love de Lord! O!]

2 Got some friends on de oder shore,
Do love de Lord!
I want to see 'em more an' more,
Do love de Lord!
Wake up, Jacob, &c.

Page 66

84. ON TO GLORY.

        


O come my brethren and sisters too,
We're gwine to join the heavenly crew;
To Christ our Saviour let us sing,
And make our loud hosannas ring.
O hallelu, O hallelu,
O hallelujah to the Lord. (Repeat.)

2 Oh, there's Bill Thomas, I know him well,
He's got to work to keep from hell;
He's got to pray by night and day,
If he wants to go by the narrow way.

3 There's Chloe Williams, she makes me mad,
For you see I know she's going on bad;
She told me a lie this arternoon,
And the devil will get her very soon.

        [We should be tempted, from the character of this tune, to doubt its genuineness as a pure negro song. We are informed, however, that it was sung twenty-five years ago in negro camp-meetings, and not in those of the whites. The words, at any rate, are worth preserving, as illustrating the kind of influence brought to bear upon the wavering.]


Page 67

85. JUST NOW.

        


[1. Sanctofy me, sanctofy me,
Sanctofy me, sanctofy me,
Sanctofy me, just now;
Just now; just now;
Sanctofy me just now.]

2 Good religion, good religion, etc.

3 Come to Jesus, come to Jesus, etc.

        [This, which is now, in a somewhat different form, a Methodist hymn, was sung as given above, by the colored people of Ann Arundel Co., Md., twenty-five years ago.--W. A. H.]

86. SHOCK ALONG, JOHN.

        


[Shock along, John, shock along.
Shock along, John, shock along.]

        [A corn-song, of which only the burden is remembered.]


Page 68

87. ROUND THE CORN, SALLY.

        


[1. Five can't ketch me and ten can't hold me,
Ho, . . . . round the corn, Sally!
Round the corn, round the corn, round the corn, Sally!
Ho, ho, ho, round the corn, Sally!]

2 Here's your iggle-quarter and here's your count-aquils.

3 I can bank, 'ginny bank, 'ginny bank the weaver.

        ["Iggle" is of course "eagle;" for the rest of the enigmatical words and expressions in this corn-song, we must leave readers to guess at the interpretation.]

88. JORDAN'S MILLS.

        


[1. Jerdan's mills a-grinding,
Jerdan's a-hay;
Jerdan's mills a-grinding,
Jerdan's a-hay.]

2 Built without nail or hammer.

3 Runs without wind or water.

Page 69

89. SABBATH HAS NO END.

        


[1. Gwine to walk about Zion, I really do believe;
Walk about Zion, I really do believe;
Walk about Zion, I really do believe;
Sabbath has no end.
I did view one angel
In one angel stand;
Let's mark him right down with the fore-half,
With the harpess in his hand.]

2 Gwine to follow King Jesus, I really do believe.

3 I love God certain.

4 My sister's got religion.

5 Set down in the kingdom.

6 Religion is a fortune.

        [This chorus was written down as exactly as possible from the lips of the singer, and illustrates the odd transformations which words undergo in their mouths. It is a verse of a familiar hymn: "fore-half" is "forehead;" "harpess" is "harp."]


Page 70

90. I DON'T FEEL WEARY.

        


I don't feel weary and noways tired,
O glory hallelujah.

1. Jest let me in the kingdom
While the world is all on fire.
O glory hallelujah.

2 Gwine to live with God forever, While, etc.

3 And keep the ark a-moving, While, etc.

91. THE HYPOCRITE AND THE CONCUBINE.

        


[1. Hypocrite and the concubine,
Livin' among the swine,
They run to God with the lips and tongue,
And leave all the heart behind.
Aunty, did you hear when Jesus rose?
Did you hear when Jesus rose?
Aunty, did you hear when Jesus rose?
He rose and he 'scend on high.]

Page 71

92. O SHOUT AWAY.

        


[O shout, O shout, O shout away,
And don't you mind,
And glory, glory, glory in my soul!

1. And when 'twas night I thought 'twas day,
I thought I'd pray my soul away,
And glory, glory, glory in my soul!]

2 O Satan told me not to pray,
He want my soul at judgment day.

3 And every where I went to pray,
There some thing was in my way.

Page 72

93. O'ER THE CROSSING

        


[1. Bendin' knees a-achin',
Body racked wid pain,
I wish I was a child of God,
I'd git home bime-by.
Keep prayin,' I do believe
We're a long time waggin' o' de crossin';
Keep prayin', I do believe
We'll git home to heaven bime-bye.]

2 O yonder's my ole mudder, Been a waggin' at de hill so long;
It's about time she cross over, Git home bime-bye.
Keep prayin', I do believe, etc.

3 O hear dat lumberin' thunder A-roll from do' to do',
A-callin' de people home to god; Dey'll git home bime-by.
Little chil'n, I do believe, etc.

O see dat forked lightnin' A-jump from cloud to cloud,
A-pickin' up God's chil'n; Dey'll git home bime-by.
Pray mourner, I do believe, etc.

        [This "infinitely quaint description of the length of the heavenly road," as Col. Higginson styles it, is one of the most peculiar and wide-spread of the spirituals. It was sung as given above in Caroline Co., Virginia, and probably spread southward from this State, variously modified in different localities. "My body rock 'long fever," (No. 45,) would hardly be recognized as the same, either by words or tune, and yet it is almost certainly the same, as is shown by the following, sung in Augustua, Georgia, which has some of the words of the present song, adapted to a tune which is unmistakably identical with No. 45.]

        


        


[O yonder's my ole mother,
Been a-waggin' at de hill so long;
I really do believe she's a child of God,
She'll git home to heav'n bime-bye.]

        [We regret we have not the air of the Nashville variation, "My Lord called Daniel."]


Page 73

94. ROCK O' MY SOUL.

        


[1. Rock o' my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock o' my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Rock o' my soul in de bosom of Abraham,
Lord, Rock o' my soul. (King Jesus)]

2. He toted the young lambs in his bosom, (ter)
And leave the old sheep alone.

WE WILL MARCH THROUGH THE VALLEY.

        


[1. We will march thro' the valley in peace,
We will march thro' the valley in peace;
If Jesus himself be our leader,
We will march thro' the valley in peace.]

2. We will march, etc.
Behold I give myself away, and
We will march, etc.

3. We will march, etc.
This track I'll see and I'll pursue;
We will march, etc.

4. We will march, etc.
When I'm dead and buried in the cold silent tomb,
I don't want you to grieve for me.

Page 74

96. WHAT A TRYING TIME.

        


[1. O Adam, where are you?
Adam, where are you?
Adam, where are you?
O what a trying time!]

2 Lord, I am in the garden.

3 Adam, you ate that apple.

4 Lord, Eve she gave it to me.

5 Adam, it was forbidden.

6 Lord said, walk out de garden.

        [A most compendious account of the fall.]

97. ALMOST OVER.

        


[1. Some seek de Lord and they don't seek him right,
Pray all day and sleep all night;
And I'll thank God, almost over, almost over, almost over, (My Lord)
And I'll thank God, almost over.]

2 Sister, if your heart is warm,
Snow and ice will do you no harm.

3 I been down, and I done been tried,
I been through the water, and I been baptized.

4 O sister, you must mind how you step on the cross,
Your foot might slip, and your soul get lost.

5 And when you get to heaven, you'll be able for to tell
How you shunned the gates of hell.

6 Wrestle with Satan and wrestle with sin,
Stepped over hell and come back agin.

        [A baptismal song, as the chattering "almost o-ver" so forcibly suggests.]


Page 75

98. DON'T BE WEARY, TRAVELLER.

        


[Don't be weary, traveller,
Come along home to Jesus;
Don't be weary, traveller,
Come along home to Jesus.

1. My head got wet with the midnight dew,
Come along home to Jesus;
Angels bear me witness too,
Come along home to Jesus.]

2 Where to go I did not know
Ever since he freed my soul.

3 I look at de worl' and de worl' look new,
I look at de worl' and de worl' look new.

Page 76

99. LET GOD'S SAINTS COME IN.

        


[Come down, angel, and trouble the water,
Come down, angel, and trouble the water,
Come down, angel, and trouble the water,
And let God's saints come in. (God say you must.)

1. Canaan land is the land for me,
And let God's saints come in.
Canaan land is the land for me,
And let God's saints come in.]

2 There was a wicked man,
He kept them children in Egypt land.

3 God did say to Moses one day,
Say, Moses go to Egypt land,

4 And tell him to let my people go.
And Pharaoh would not let 'em go.

5 God did go to Moses' house,
And God did tell him who he was,

6 God and Moses walked and talked,
And God did show him who he was.

Page 77

100. THE GOLDEN ALTAR.

        


[John saw-r-O, John saw-r-O . . .
John saw de holy number settin' on de golden altar!

1. It's a little while longer yere below, yere below, yere below,
It's a little while longer yere below,
Before de Lamb of God!]

2 And home to Jesus we will go, we will go, etc.;
We are de people of de Lord.
John sawr-O, etc.

3 Dere's a golden slipper in de heavens for you, etc.,
Before de Lamb of God.

4 I wish I'd been dere when prayer begun, etc.

5 To see my Jesus about my sins, etc.

6 Then home to glory we will go, etc.

        [This is interesting as an undoubted variation of "John, John of the holy order," No. 22. A comparison of the words shows that the word "number" should be "member."]


Page 78

101. THE WINTER.

        


[O de vinter, O de vinter, O de vinter'll soon be ober,* chilen,
De vinter, O de vinter, O de vinter'll soon be ober, chilen,
De vinter, O de vinter, O de vinter'll soon be ober, chilen,
Yes, my Lord!

1. 'Tis Paul and Silas bound in chains, chains,
And one did weep, + and de oder one did pray,]

2 You bend your knees^ on holy ground, ground,
And ask de Lord, Lord, for to turn you around.
For de vinter, etc.

3 I turn my eyes towards the sky, sky,
And ask de Lord, Lord, for wings to fly.

4 For you see me gwine 'long so, so
I has my tri-trials yer below.

        * Am a-comin'.

        + Sing.

        ^ I bend my knees, etc.


Page 79

102. THE HEAVEN BELLS.

        


[1. O mother I believe . . . O mother I believe . . . O mother I believe
That Christ was crucified!
O don't you hear the Heaven bells a-ringing over me? a-ringing over me? a-ringing over me?
O don't you hear the Heaven bells a-ringing over me?
It sounds like the judgment day!]


Page 81

III.
INLAND SLAVE STATES:
INCLUDING TENNESSEE, ARKANSAS, AND THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER


Page 83

SLAVE SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES.

III.

103. THE GOLD BAND.

        


[1. Gwine to march away in de gold band,
In de army, bye-and-bye;
Gwine to march away in de gold band,
In de army, bye-and-bye.
Sinner, what you gwine to do dat day?
Sinner, what you gwine to do dat day?
When de fire's a-rolling behind you,
In de army, bye-and-bye.]

2 Sister Mary gwine to hand down the robe,
In the army, bye-and-bye;
Gwine to hand down the robe and the gold band,
In the army, bye-and-bye.

Page 84

104. THE GOOD OLD WAY.

        


[As I went down in de valley to pray,
Studying about dat good old way,
When you shall wear de starry crown,
Good Lord, show me de way.
O mourner,* let's go down, let's do down, let's go down,
O mourner, let's go down,
Down in de valley to pray.]

        * Sister, etc.

105. I'M GOING HOME.

        


[1. I sought my Lord in de wilderness, in de wilderness, in de wilderness;
I sought my Lord in de wilderness,
For I'm a-going home.
For I'm going home,
For I'm going home;
I'm just getting ready,
For I'm going home.]

2 I found free grace in the wilderness,

3 My father preaches in the wilderness.

Page 85

106. SINNER WON'T DIE NO MORE.

        


O de Lamb done been down here an' died,
De Lamb done been down here an' died,
O de Lamb done been down here an' died,
Sinner won't die no mo'.
1. I wonder what bright angels, angels, angels,
I wonder what bright angels,
De robes all ready now.

2 O see dem ships come a-sailing, sailing, sailing,
O see dem ships come a-sailing,
De robes all ready now.

Page 86

107. BROTHER, GUIDE ME HOME.

        


[Brudder, guide me home an' I am glad,
Bright angels biddy me to come;
Brudder; guide me home an' I am glad,
Bright angels biddy me to come.

1. What a happy time, chil'n,
What a happy time, chil'n,
What a happy time, chil'n,
Bright angels biddy me to come.]

2 Let's go to God, chil'n, (ter)
Bright angels biddy me to come.

        [I heard this in a praise-house at the "Contraband Camp" on President's Island near Memphis, in September, 1864. I will not vouch for the absolute accuracy of my memory.--W. F. A.]


Page 87

108. LITTLE CHILDREN, THEN WON'T YOU BE GLAD?

        


[1. Little children, then won't you be glad,
Little children, then won't you be glad,
That you have been to heav'n, an' you're gwine to go again,
For to try on the long white robe, children,
For to try on the long white robe.]

2 King Jesus, he was so strong (ter), my Lord,
That he jarred down the walls of hell.

3 Don't you hear what de chariot say? (bis)
De fore wheels run by de grace ob God,
An' de hind wheels dey run by faith.

4 Don't you 'member what you promise de Lord? (bis)
You promise de Lord that you would feed his sheep,
An' gather his lambs so well.

        [Often sung in the colored schools at Helena, Arkansas.]


Page 88

109. CHARLESTON GALS.

        


[1. As I walked down the new-cut road,
I met the tap and then the toad;
The toad commenced to whistle and sing,
And the possum cut the pigeon wing.
Along come an old man riding by:
Old man, if you don't mind, your horse will die;
If he dies I'll tan his skin,
And if he lives I'll ride him agin.
Hi ho, for Charleston gals!
Charleston gals are the gals for me.]

2 As I went a-walking down the street,
Up steps Charleston gals to take a walk with me.
I kep' a walking and they kep' a talking,
I danced with a gal with a hole in her stocking.

Page 89

110. RUN, NIGGER, RUN!

        


[O some tell me that a nigger won't steal,
But I've seen a nigger in my cornfield;
O run, nigger, run, for the patrol will catch you,
O run, nigger, run, for 'tis almost day.]

111. I'M GWINE TO ALABAMY.

        


[1. I'm gwine to Alabamy, Oh . . .
For to see my mammy, Ah . . . ]

2 She went from Old Virginny,--Oh,
And I'm her pickaninny,--Ah.

3 She lives on the Tombigbee,--Oh,
I wish I had her wid me,--Ah.

4 Now I'm a good big nigger,--Oh,
I reckon I won't get bigger,--Ah.

5 But I'd like to see my mammy,--Oh,
Who lives in Alabamy,--Ah.

        [A very good specimen, so far as notes can give one, of the strange barbaric songs that one hears upon the Western steamboats.]


Page 93

SLAVE SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES.
IV.

112. MY FATHER, HOW LONG?

        


[My father,* how long,
My father, how long,
My father how long,
Poor sinner suffer here?
1. And it won't be long,
And it won't be long,
And it won't be long,
Poor sinner suffer here.]

2 We'll soon be free, (ter)
De Lord will call us home.

3 We'll walk de miry road
Where pleasure never dies.

4 We'll walk de golden streets
Of de New Jerusalem.

5 My brudders do sing
De praises of de Lord.

6 We'll fight for liberty
When de Lord will call us home.

        * Mother, etc.

        [For singing this "the negroes had been put in jail at Georgetown, S. C., at the outbreak of the Rebellion. 'We'll soon be free' was too dangerous an assertion, and though the chant was an old one, it was no doubt sung with redoubled emphasis during the new events. 'De lord will call us home,' was evidently thought to be a symbolical verse; for, as a little drummer boy explained it to me, showing all his white teeth as he sat in the moonlight by the door of my tent, 'Dey tink de Lord mean for say de Yankees.'"--T. W. H.]


Page 94

113. I'M IN TROUBLE.

        


[I'm in trouble, Lord, I'm in trouble,
I'm in trouble, Lord, trouble about my grave, trouble about my grave.
Sometimes I weep, sometimes I mourn,
I'm in trouble about my grave;
Sometimes I can't do neither one,
I'm in trouble about my grave.]

114. O DANIEL.

        


[You call yourself church-member,
You hold your head so high,
You praise God with your glitt'ring tongue,
But you leave all your heart behind.
O my Lord delivered Daniel,
O Daniel, O Daniel,
O my Lord delivered Daniel,
O why not deliver me too?]

Page 95

115. O BROTHERS, DON'T GET WEARY.

        


[O brothers, don't get weary,
O brothers, don't get weary,
O brothers, don't get weary,
We're waiting for the Lord.
We'll land on Canaan's shore,
We'll land on Canaan's shore,
When we land on Canaan's shore,
We'll meet forever more.]

116. I WANT TO JOIN THE BAND.

        


[What is that up yonder I see?
Two little angels comin' a'ter me;
I want to jine the band,
I want to jine the band, (Sing together)
I want to jine the band.]

Page 96

117. JACOB'S LADDER.

        


[I want to climb up Jacob's ladder,
Jacob's ladder, O Jacob's ladder,
I want to climb up Jacob's ladder,
But I can't climb it till I make my peace with the Lord.
O praise ye the Lord, I'll praise Him till I die,/ O praise the Lord, O praise ye the Lord.
I'll praise Him till I die, And sing Jerusalem.]

Page 97

118. PRAY ON.

        


[Pray on, pray on;
Pray on dem light us over;
Pray on, pray on,
De union break of day.
My sister, you come to see baptize,
In de union break of day;
My 'loved sister, you come to see baptize,
In de union break of day.]

        [As an interpretation of "dem light us over," I suggest "de night is over;" and "union" should probably have a capital U. "De night is over; de Union break of day (da comin')." The interchange of l and n is not uncommon, and is illustrated again in this song in the word "Union," which was pronounced "yuliul" by the person who sang it to me. This song and Nos. 38, 41, 42, 43, 119, 122, and 123, came on to the plantation after I left.--C. P. W.]

119. GOOD NEWS, MEMBER.

        

        


[Good news, member, good news, member,
Don't you mind what Satan say;
Good news, member, good news,
And I hearde from heav'n to-day.]
Page 98


[1. My brudder have a seat and I so glad,
Good news, member, good news;
My brudder have a seat and I so glad,
And I hearde from heav'n to-day.]


2 Mr. Hawley have a home in Paradise.

3 Archangel bring baptizing down.

120. I WANT TO DIE LIKE-A LAZARUS DIE.

        


[Titty 'Rita/I want to die like-a Lazarus die,
Die like-a Lazarus die;
I want to die like-a Lazarus die, like-a Lazarus die, like-a Lazarus die.]

Page 99

121. AWAY DOWN IN SUNBURY.

        


[O massa take dat new bran coat
And hang it on de wall,
Dat darkee take dat same ole coat
And wear 'em to de ball.
O don't you hear my true lub sing?
O don't you hear 'em sigh?
Away down in Sunbury
I'm bound to live and die.]

122. THIS IS THE TROUBLE OF THE WORLD.

        

        


[I ax Fader Georgy for religion,
Fader Georgy wouldn't give me religion;
You give me religion for to run to my elder;
O dis is de trouble of de world. ]
Page 100


[Dis is de trouble of de world,
O,* Dis is de trouble of de world. (what you doubt/shame for?)/ (take it easy)/ (Titty 'Melia)]

        * (What you doubt for?) etc.

123. LEAN ON THE LORD'S SIDE.

        


[1. Wai', poor Daniel,
He lean on de Lord's side;
(Say) Daniel rock de lion joy,*
Lean on de Lord's side.

2. (Say) De golden chain + to ease him down.]

3 De silver spade to dig his grave;
He lean, etc.

        * i.e., Daniel (as if Samson) racked the lion's jaw.

        + Band.

        A Port Royal variation of "Who is on the Lord's side" (No. 75.)


Page 101

124. THESE ARE ALL MY FATHER'S CHILDREN.

        


[Dese all my fader's children,
Dese all my fader's children,
Dese all my fader's children,
Outshine de sun.
My fader's done wid de trouble o' de world,
wid de trouble o' de world, wid de trouble o' de world,
My fader's done wid de trouble o' de world,
Outshine de sun.]

        [This is interesting as being probably the original of "Trouble of the world" (No. 10,) and peculiarly so from the following custom, which is described by a North Carolina negro as existing in South Carolina. When a pater-familias dies, his family assemble in the room where the coffin is, and, ranging themselves round the body in the order of age and relationship, sing this hymn, marching round and round. They also take the youngest and pass him first over and then under the coffin. Then two men take the coffin on their shoulders and carry it on the run to the grave.]


Page 102

125. THE OLD SHIP OF ZION.

        

        [We have received two versions of the "Old Ship of Zion," quite different from each other and from those given by Col. Higginson. The first was sung twenty-five years ago by the colored people of Ann Arundel Co., Maryland. The words may be found in "The Chorus" (Philadelphia: A. S. Jenks, 1860,) p. 170. (Compare, also, p. 167.)


[1. What ship is that you're enlisted upon?
O glory hallelujah!
'Tis the old ship of Zion, hallelujah!
'Tis the old ship of Zion, hallelujah!]

2 And who is the Captain of the ship that you're on?--O glory, etc.
My Saviour is the Captain, hallelujah!

        [The other is from North Carolina:]

        

        


[1. Don't you see that ship a-sailin', a-sailin', a-sailin',]
Page 103


[Don't you see that ship a-sailin',
Gwine over to the Promised Land?
I asked my Lord, shall I ever be the one,
shall I ever be the one, shall I ever be the one,
To go sailin', sailin', sailin', sailin',
Gwine over to the Promised Land?]


2 She sails like she is heavy loaded.

3 King Jesus is the Captain.

4 The Holy Ghost is the Pilot.

Page 104

126. COME ALONG, MOSES.

        


[Come along, Moses,* don't get lost, don't get lost, don't get lost,
Come along, Moses, don't get lost,
We are the people + of God.

1. We have a just God to plead-a our cause,
to plead-a our cause, to plead-a our cause,
We have a just God to plead-a our cause,
We are the people of God.]

2 He sits in the Heaven and he answers prayer.

3 Stretch out your rod and come across.

        *Judy, Aaron.

        + Children.

        [This air has in parts a suspicious resemblance to the Sunday-school hymn "'Tis religion that can give," which has become very wide-spread in the South since the war. Mrs. James, however, heard it from an old woman in North Carolina, early in 1862, which would seem to vouch for its genuineness.]


Page 105

127. THE SOCIAL BAND.

        


[Bright angels on the water,
Hovering by the light;
Poor sinner stand in the darkness,
And cannot see the light.
I want Aunty Mary* for to go with me,
I want Aunty Mary for to go with me,
I want Aunty Mary for to go with me,
To join the social band.]

        * Brother David.


Page 106

128. GOD GOT PLENTY O' ROOM.

        


[God got plenty o' room, got plenty o' room,
'Way in de kingdom,
God got plenty o' room my Jesus say,
'Way in de kingdom.

1. Brethren, I have come again,
'Way in de kingdom,
To help you all to pray and sing,
'Way in de kingdom.]

2 So many-a weeks and days have passed
Since we met together last.

3 Old Satan tremble when he sees
The weakest saints upon their knees.

4 Prayer makes the darkest cloud withdraw,
Prayer climbed the ladder Jacob saw.

5 Daniel's wisdom may I know,
Stephen's faith and spirit sure.

6 John's divine communion feel,
Joseph's meek and Joshua's zeal.

7 There is a school on earth begun
Supported by the Holy One.

8 We soon shall lay our school-books by,
And shout salvation as I fly.

        [The above is given exactly as it was sung, some of the measures in 2/8, some in 3/8, and some in 2/4 time. The irregularity probably arises from omission of rests, but it seemed a hopeless undertaking to attempt to restore the correct time, and it was thought best to give it in this shape as at any rate a characteristic specimen of negro singing. The song was obtained of a North Carolina negro, who said it came from Virginia.]


Page 107

129. YOU MUST BE PURE AND HOLY.

        


[1. When I was wicked an'-a prone to sin,
My Lord, bretheren, ah my Lord!
I thought that I couldn't be born agin,
My Lord, bretheren, ah my Lord!
You must be pure and holy,
You must be pure an'-a Holy,
You must be pure and holy
To see God feed his lambs.]

2 I'll run all round the cross and cry,
My Lord, bretheren, ah my Lord,
Or give me Jesus, or I die,
My Lord, bretheren, ah my Lord.
You must be pure and holy, etc.

Page 108


3 The Devil am a liar and conjurer too,
My Lord, etc.
If you don't look out he'll conjure you,/cut you in
two,/cut you through,
My Lord, etc.

4 O run up, sonny, and get your crown,
My Lord, etc.
And by your Father sit you down,
My Lord, etc.

5 I was pretty young when I begun,
My Lord, etc.
But, now my work is almost done,
My Lord, etc.

6 The Devil's mad and I am glad,
My Lord, etc.
He lost his soul, he thought he had,
My Lord, etc.

7 Go 'way, Satan, I don't mind you,
My Lord, etc.
You wonder, too, that you can't go through,
My Lord, etc.

8 A lilly* white stone came rolling down,
My Lord, etc.
It rolled like thunder through the town,
My Lord, etc.

        * Qu. little.?

        [This is a favorite and apparently genuine song which "flourishes" in a colored church at Auburn, N. Y. having been introduced there from the South. "It is sung on all occasions, and without any regard to order in the verses; you may not be able to see any connection between any of them. The chorus is always sung once or twice before the verses are used at all. You will see that occasionally there is inserted an extra syllable (ah) and always in the 2nd and 4th lines of the verses; why this is done I am unable to discover, but it appears to assist them wonderfully in singing. The first note in the chorus is sung very loud, and is prolonged to an indefinite time, at the pleasure of the leader. You will notice that the air is in the minor mode, but the chorus, with the exception of the last line, in the major."--W. A. B.]


Page 109

130. BELLE LAYOTTE.

        


[Mo déjà roulé tout la côte
Pancor ouar pareil belle Layotte. (bis)

1. Mo roulé tout la côte,
Mo roulé tout la colonie;
Mo pancor ouar griffonne la
Qua mo gout comme la belle Layotte.]

2 Jean Babet, mon ami,
Si vous couri par en haut,
Vous mandé belle Layotte
Cadeau la li té promi mouin.

3 Domestique la maison
Yé tout faché avec mouin,
Paraporte chanson la
Mo composé la belle Layotte.

Page 110

131. RÉMON.

        


Mo parlé Rémon, Rémon,
Li parlé Simon, Simon,
Li parlé Titine, Titine,
Li tombé dans chagrin.
O femme Romulus, oh!
Belle femme Romulus, oh!
O femme Romulus, oh!
Belle femme qui ça voulé mo fai.]

132. AURORE BRADAIRE.

        


Aurore Bradaire, belle ti fille,
Aurore Bradaire, belle ti fille,
Aurore Bradaire, belle ti fille,
C'est li mo oulé, c'est li ma pren.
Li pas mandé robe mousseline,
Li pas mandé déba brodé,
Li pas mandé soulier prinelle,
C'est li mo oulé, c'est li ma pren.]

Page 111

133. CAROLINE.

        


Aine, dé, trois, Caroline, ça ça yé comme ça ma chere,
Aine, dé, trois, Caroline, ça ça yé comme ça ma chère.
Papa di non, manman di non,
C'est li mo oulé, c'est li ma pren;
Ya pas l'arzan pou acheté cabanne,
C'est li mo oulé, c'est li ma pren.]

134. CALINDA.

        


[1. Michié Préval li donin gran bal,
Li fait naig payé pou sauté inpé.
Dansé calinda, boudoum, boudoum,
Dansé calinda, boudoum, boudoum.]

2 Michié Préval li té capitaine bal,
So cocher Louis té maite cérémonie.

3 Dans lequirie la yavé gran gala,
Mo cré choual layé té bien étonné.

4 Yavé des négresse belle passé maitresse,
Yé volé bébelle dans l'ormoire mamzelle.

Page 112

135. LOLOTTE.

        


Pauve piti Lolotte a mouin,
Pauve piti Lolotte a mouin,
Pauve piti Lolotte a mouin,
Li gaignin doulair.
Calalou porté madrasse, li porté jipon garni,
Calalou porté madrasse, li porté jipon garni.
Pauve piti Lolotte a mouin,
Pauve piti Lolotte a mouin,
Pauve piti Lolotte a mouin,
Li gaignin doulair, doulair, doulair,
Li gaignin doulair dans coeur à li.]

Page 113

136. MUSIEU BAINJO.

        


Voyez ce mulet là, Musieu Bainjo,
Comme il est insolent.
Chapeau sur côté, Musieu Bainjo,
La canne à la main, Musieu Bainjo,
Botte qui fat crin, crin, Musieu Bainjo,]

        [The seven foregoing songs were obtained from a lady who heard them sung, before the war, on the "Good Hope" plantation, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. The language, evidently a rude corruption of French, is that spoken by the negroes in that part of the State; and it is said that it is more difficult for persons who speak French to interpret this dialect, than for those who speak English to understand the most corrupt of the ordinary negro-talk. The pronunciation of this negro-French is indicated, as accurately as possible, in the versions given here, which furnish, also, many interesting examples of the peculiar phrases and idioms employed by this people. The frequent omission of prepositions, articles, and auxiliary verbs, as well as of single letters, and the contractions constantly occurring, are among the most noticeable peculiarities. Some of the most difficult words are: mo for me, mon, je; li for lui, le, la il, elle; mouin for moi; for ils, leur; aine, dé for un, deux; for été, était; ya, yavé for il y a, etc.; ouar for voir and its inflections; oulé for vouloir, etc.; pancor for pas encore; michié for monsieur; inpé for un peu. The words are, of course, to be pronounced as if they were pure French.

        Four of these songs. Nos. 130, 131, 132 and 133, were sung to a simple dance, a sort of minuet called the Coonjai; the name and the dance are probably both of African origin. When the Coonjai is danced, the music is furnished by an orchestra of singers, the leader of whom--a man selected both for the quality of his voice and for his skill in improvising--sustains the solo part, while the others afford him an opportunity, as they shout in chorus, for inventing some neat verse to compliment some lovely danseuse, or celebrate the deeds of some plantation hero. The dancers themselves never sing, as in the case of the religious "shout" of the Port Royal negroes; and the usual musical accompaniment, besides that of the singers, is that furnished by a skilful performer on the barrel-head-drum, the jaw-bone and key, or some other rude instrument.

        No. 134. The "calinda" was a sort of contra-dance, which has now passed entirely out of use. Bescherelle describes the two lines as "avançant et reculant en cadence, et faisant des contorsions for singulières et des gestes fort lascifs."

        The first movement of No. 135, "Lolotte," has furnished M. Gottschalk with the theme of his "Ballade Créole," "La Savane," op. 3 de la Louisiane.

        In 136, we have the attempt of some enterprising negro to write a French song; he is certainly to be congratulated on his success.

        It will be noticed that all these songs are "seculars"; and that while the words of most of them are of very little account, the music is as peculiar, as interesting, and, in the case of two or three of them, as difficult to write down, or to sing correctly, as any that have preceded them.]


Page 114


EDITORS' NOTE.

        The original arrangement of the foregoing collection has not been adhered to. Why the secular songs do not appear by themselves has been already explained. That the division into parts is not strictly geographical was caused by the tardy arrival of most of the songs contained in Part IV. Should a second edition ever be justified by the favor with which the present is received, these irregularities will be corrected.

        It was proposed to print music without words, and words without music, each by themselves. But the first can hardly be said to have been obtained, unless "Shock along, John," No. 86, is an instance. The words without music which in one or two cases were kindly, and we fear laboriously, communicated to us, presented no fresh or striking peculiarities, and we therefore decided against their admission.

        As was remarked in the Introduction, we are fully aware of the incompleteness of this collection, though we may fairly enough assume it to be la crême de la crême. Col Higginson writes:

        "I wish you would look up one 'spiritual,' of which I only remember the chorus--'It doth appear'--as being often sung in camp. Also, 'Ring dat charming bell,' which they used to sing to please Mrs. Saxton, who liked it"

        Gen. James H. Wilson, who, in the earlier part of the war, was at Port Royal, and, during explorations and night surveys of the coast between there and Ossabaw Sound, had frequent opportunities of hearing every grade of "spirituals," writes, of Col. Higginson's collection in the Atlantic Monthly:

        "He has omitted two which I heard more generally sung than any others. I refer to the one beginning:


" 'They took ole Master Lord,
And fed him on pepper and gall,'

and the other:

" 'My brudder Johnny's new-born baby,
Hi oh, de new-born!'

        "The airs to which these were sung are very peculiar, while the burthen of the songs is pretty clearly indicated by the lines given above. The first seems to allude to the persecutions of Christ, while the latter simply refers to the birth and early death of a new-born baby, and is varied by making a new verse for all the brothers and sisters that the singer happens to be able to call to mind.


Page 115

        "I also recollect the refrain of a boat-song which a crew of ten stalwart negroes used to sing for me in our excursions, but I am inclined to the belief that it was by no means a 'spiritual,' as I could never get any of them to explain it to my satisfaction. The only words I could make out clearly were:


" 'Jah de window, jah!
Oh jah de window,' etc.

and the meaning of which I took to be ''jar the window.' If they had any such thing among them, this was probably a fragment of a simple ballad, describing an incident in a negro courtship. I got this impression at the time, partly from the peculiar tone of the song, and partly from their hesitancy to explain it. But whatever may have been its real character, it was quite musical, and had such an inspiring effect upon my boatmen that I have known them to row eighteen or twenty miles, exerting their utmost strength, keeping perfect time to its notes, and never pausing for breath."

        These, certainly, are songs to be desired and regretted. But we do not despair of recovering them and others perhaps equally characteristic for a second edition; and we herewith solicit the kind offices of collectors into whose hands this volume may have fallen, in extending and perfecting our researches. For fully a third of the songs recorded by Col. Higginson we have failed to obtain the music, and they may very well serve as a guide for future investigators. We shall also gratefully acknowledge any errors of fact or of typography that may be brought to our attention, and in general anything that would enhance the value or the interest of this collection. Communications may be addressed to Mr. W. P. Garrison, Office of The Nation newspaper, New York City.

NOVEMBER, 1867.