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Lamentation of Patrick Donohue"—with the
words "Come all you tender Christians!"—
and soon summons around her a ring of
listeners. She will sing da capo as long as
the ballad appears to draw attention and
custom, and then she will change it or move off
to another part of the fair.

The hour of melody seems to have struck;
for, not far away we discover a second circle
united by Orphean attraction. And here our
curiosity is raised by the comment of a man
who seems to be tearing himself away from
the influence. The best ballad-singer this, he
declares, that he has heard these twenty
years! To which another, assenting, says,
"In troth, it's worth a ha'penny to hear him
go over it, let alone the paper." The
minstrel is found to be a tall, sad, stooping man,
about thirty-five; his song, to the very
favourite tune of "Youghall Harbour," is about
two faithful lovers; his vocal excellence
consists in that he twirls every word several
times round his tongue, wrapt in the notes of
a soft, husky, tremulous voice. In this style
of gracingwhich is considered highly artistic,
and for which, I believe, "humouring" is
the country phrasethe words are delivered
somewhat as follows:

This pay-air discoo-ooeyoor-erc├Ęd with sich foo-
        oocy-oorce o' ray-ayizin,
Ther may-aynin they ay-apee-ayx-esprayss'd so-
        ho-o-o cleerrrr,
That fau-hor to lae——ssen too-oo ther caw-aw-he-
        on-vairsay-ay-ashin,
My ehe-ee-in-clinay-aheeay-ashin was for too-oo-
        hoo-hoo draw-aw-haw-ee-aw-a neerrrrr.

That is to say:

This pair discoursed with such force of raysoning,
Their meaning they expressed so clear,
That for to listen to their conversation,
My inclination was for to draw near.

Urging our slow way through the crowd,
we come within earshot of a shriller strain,
which proceeds from two female vocalists,
standing face to face, and yelling down
one another's throats. Agrarian politics,
this time, and not of the most wholesome
sort! That country loutwho tenders his
copper with swaggering bashfulness, and, for
careful preservation of the ballad, rolls it up
into a wisp between his hands, and so thrusts
it into his pocketlout as he is, has, not
improbably, enough of musical ear and voice to
enable him to revive the symphony and song
of these strange damsels, by his winter fireside,
and at subsequent wakes and gatherings;
sprinkling into wild hearts the ignorance
and foolishnessif it be no worseof some
poor conceited creature who perhaps bribed
the printer with a few pence to exalt his
trash into type.

Does that fine gendarmerie of ours, the constabulary,
never intermeddle with crime in
its rarefied or gaseous form of song? Seldom;
scarcely ever, beyond desiring the offender to
"move on", which the offender doesas far as
round the corner of the next lane. Notwithstanding
all we hear about penal laws, the
liberty of the subject is sacredly, almost
superstitiously, respected in Ireland. Listen for a
moment to that vender of china-cement and
polishing paste, who, rubbing his whitening
and quicksilver with his palm on the edges
of a roll of pence, invites the crowd to turn
their iron spoons into silver, and their saucepans
into shaving-mirrors: adding, that the
composition is admirable for cleaning up a fire-
lock—"and if yiz wuz only to take it out
wanst a year to shoot an agent wid, yiz
oughtn't to grudge the price I'm axin',—
ha'pence a-piece, still on, or six for
tuppence!" Of course this is mere fun; but we
must confess, too, that it is freedom of
speech.*

The muster of ballad-singers, to-day, is above
the average; for, see, here is another! A little
elderly man, wearing a very large and
extremely elderly hathis warehouse. He
accompanies his comic song with a fiddle, upon
which he leans one of his red weazen cheeks,
watching with twinkling black eyes the
movements of his left hand on the strings. His
fiddle is cheap-looking and cracked, and his
bow is mended with packthread. When the
harsh chords cease, and he lowers the instrument
slowly from his chin, you observe that
what seemed to be a continuous self-satisfied
smile is, in reality, the effect of a dint or
muscular contraction near his mouth; and that
his expression of countenance is most doleful.
He stands helplessly with the fiddle under one
arm, and the sheaf of papers in his hands.
Let us buy one of him; and then go home,
and look over a certain sheaf of our own
gathering, of publications in the same humble,
but not all unimportant, department of
literature.

Here is our bundlesome ten dozen of
the ordinary street ballads of Ireland;
comprising, we have reason to think, specimens
of almost every sort at present in vogue in the
rural districts; that is to say, all Ireland,
except two or three of the largest towns with
their immediate neighbourhoods, which have
local and towny ballads of their own. They
are, of course, "printed on gray paper with
coarse type," headed with most incompatible
woodcuts, and filled with instances of every
kind of typographical error; from mis-
stopping and mis-spelling to omissions of words,
lines, and half-stanzas; so that, while intended
for the perusal of the humblest, they often
require (as I once heard a girl complain) "a very
good scholar to make thim out."

Nearly one-half of the whole number owe
their inspiration to Cupida personage not
unfrequently mentioned therein by name, and
conducting about eighty per cent. of his
followers to the happiest conclusion. In this
class of songs, two things are observable, as
truly reflecting the character of the people:

* Heard by the writer as stated.

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