The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56663   Message #888042
Posted By: GUEST,MCP
11-Feb-03 - 06:21 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Bonny Moon
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Bonny Moon

As Malcolm said, Williams collected no tunes (cost me £20 pounds that - I decided not to buy a copy at £10 for that reason, then went back half an hour later to buy it after all and it had gone. It cost me £30 for the copy I have now).

In his Preface he says: "I had no time to obtain tunes, my chief concern being to save the words before they had completely disappered by reason of the death of the singers - chiefly the most aged of the villagers, male and female"

He also starts his Introduction: "Let it at once be understood that my intention never was merely to gather folk-songs for the purpose of adding to the more or less undigested mass of materials in the collections already existing. That is not my business. What I wanted to do was, as nearly as I could, to complete the work I have undertaken in my prose volumes and to leave a permanent record of the language and activities of the district in which I find myself."

(He also ends the Introduction: "The songs themselves , as far as singing goes are practically defunct. There is no need to revive them. To do so, in fact, would be impossible. It is also undesirable. We live in a new age, almost in a new world. Life has changed. There are other amusements. We move at a quicker pace. Time and custom decide what shall or shall not continue. Fashions change in everything accept modifications. It is the same with morris-dancing. Where a desire to sing or dance does not exist naturally, and is not spontaneous, no amount of artificial activity will suffice to restore the practice. Though you should resuscitate it for a time the life would not be permanent. You cannot graft a dead branch on to living body. Let us, then, be content to say that the folk-song is dead. But we want to preserve the words, not for their artistic or strictly literary value, but in order to have records of that which amused, cheered, consoled, and so profoundly affected the lives of the people of an age that has for ever passed away." Plus ca change!)