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[This famous English ballad is still sung in the mountains of Polk County, North Carolina.

It was sent by Miss Emma M. Backus to Professor George Lyman Kittredge, of Harvard University, who reproduced it in his ‘English and Scottish: Popular Ballads' (1904). Many of these old ballads survive in the South and their collection would be a genuine service to literature. A beginning has been made by Professor Henry M. Belden, of the University of Missouri. The late Professor John Bell Henneman, of the University of the South, collected ten of these ballads in Eastern North Carolina.]

There was a lady fair and gay,

And children she had three:
She sent them away to some northern land,

For to learn their grammeree.

They hadn't been gone but a very short time,

About three months to a day,
When sickness came unto that land

And swept those babies away.

There is a King in the heavens above

That wears a golden crown:
She prayed that He would send her babies home

To-night or in the morning soon.

It was about one Christmas time,

When the night was long and cool,
She dreamed of her three little lonely babes

Come running in their mother's room.

The table was fixed and the cloth was spread,

And on it put bread and wine:
"Come sit you down, my three little babes,

And eat and drink of mine."

“We will neither eat your bread, dear mother,

Nor we'll neither drink your wine;
For to our Saviour we must return

To-night or in the morning soon.'

The bed was fixed in the back room;

On it was some clean white sheet,
And on the top was a golden cloth,

To make those little babies sleep.

"Wake up! wake up!" says the oldest one,

"Wake up! it's almost day. And to our Saviour we must return

To-night or in the morning soon.

“Green grass grows at our head, dear mother,

Green moss grows at our feet; The tears that you shed for us three babes,

Won't wet our winding sheet."


The specimen poems in this division represent recent or current poetical activity in the South. They consist chiefly of contributions to newspapers and journals or of extracts from complete volumes. Some of them have attained wide popularity and bear their credentials with them. Others are the expression of tendencies in the South and are interesting as representing different phases of literary activity rather than as embodying assured achievements. The limits of space have prescribed the omission of many representative poems that might well have been inserted.

THE JEFFERSON MONUMENT (On the Campus of the University of Missouri)


['Missouri Literature,' 1901 ]

The granite of his native hills,

Mother of monumental men,
Virginia gave, whose page her Plutarch fills

With undiminished deeds of sword and pen.

More fitting far than molten bronze,

Or polished marble carved by art,
This monument of him who broke the bonds

That bound in fetters every human heart.

The column rises in all lands,

When sinks the soldier to his rest; This cenotaph of rustic plainness stands

To him who gave an empire to the West.

Not with the blood of thousands slain,

With children's cries and mothers' tears; The statesman's wisdom won this vast domain

With gain of honest toil through peaceful years.

The highest honor of his State

And of his country came unsought;
It was not this, O men, that made him great,

Of this is nothing on the tablet wrought.

His pen declared his country free,

Equal and free his fellow-man:
Freedom in church and state, the right to be,

If Nature wills, the first American.

'Tis well the shaft by him devised

Rests here in Learning's classic shade; To be her patron was by him more prized Than all the honors that the nation paid.

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