Page:A book of the west; being an introduction to Devon and Cornwall.djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Mr. Heath, of Redruth, published two collections from Cornwall and one from Devon, the latter from the Lifton store in part, to which I had directed his attention. I cannot doubt that some of the popular tunes that are found circulating among our old singers—or to be more exact, were found—were the composition of these ancient village musicians. Alas! the American organ and the strident harmonium came in and routed out the venerable representatives of a musical past; and the music-hall piece is now driving away all the sound old traditional melody, and the last of the ancient conservators of folk-song makes his bow, and says:—

"I be going, I reckon, full mellow,
To lay in the churchyard my head,
So say—God be wi' you, old fellow!
The last of the zingers is dead."

Note.—For the history of Devon: Worth (R. N.), History of Devonshire, London, 1886. For Devonshire dialect: Hewett (S.), The Peasant Speech of Devon. E. Stock. London, 1892. For Devonshire folk -music: Songs of the West, Methuen. London, 1895. (3rd ed.) A Garland of Country Song. Methuen. London, 1895.

For most of what has been said above on the folk-songs of Devon I am indebted to the Rev. H. Fleetwood Sheppard, who has made it his special study.