The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song and Story

By John Anthony Scott | Go to book overview

Colonial Songs
and Ballads

Soldier, Soldier, Won't You Marry Me?

This charming dialogue song is undoubtedly of English origin, but its widespread popularity in the United States and the variety of forms in which it has been sung entitle it to be considered as a traditional American song. The dialogue is amusing to act out, and furthermore it makes a sharp point. Colonial militiamen were responsible for their own outfitting with clothes, guns, and boots. The government in those days, in sharp contrast to our own times, assumed no responsibility in such matters. Militiamen often went ragged and when on active duty picked up what they could where they could. They had a reputation, evidently, as a down-at-heel, thieving lot.

The variant of the song as reproduced here was transcribed by Cecil J. Sharp from the singing of Mrs. Carrie Ford in North Carolina. The melody is sung on the five-tone, or pentatonic scale.

-30-

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The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song and Story
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ballad of America - The History of the United States in Song and Story *
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Note on the Music xiii
  • I - The Colonial Period 1
  • The British Heritage 7
  • Colonial Songs and Ballads 30
  • II - The American Revolution 53
  • III - The Early National Period 91
  • IV - Jacksonian America 124
  • Sea and Immigration 126
  • The Westward Movement 159
  • Slavery Days 190
  • V - The Civil War 216
  • VI - Between the Civil War and the First World War 253
  • Farmers and Workers 257
  • Immigrants 284
  • The Negro People 301
  • VII - Between Two World Wars 324
  • VIII - Since the War 362
  • Sources 381
  • Recordings 400
  • Afterword 419
  • Index of Titles and First Lines 429
  • General Index 433
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