American Folksongs of Protest

American Folksongs of Protest

American Folksongs of Protest

American Folksongs of Protest

Excerpt

When the lowborn ballad maker composed his lyrical descriptions of lords and ladies in the dazzling splendor of their rich red velvet robes and silken kirtles and habiliments worth a hundred pounds, did he ever look down upon his own coarse garments? Did his wife ever look at her own red rough hands as she sang about the lily-white fingers of her mistress? When the varlet polished the knight's sollerets, did he ever think about their weight on his back? After the groom had put away the golden saddle and led to its stall his master's berry-brown steed, did he ever look at his own bed in the straw and reflect upon the similarity of the beast's estate and his own? If we are to judge by the English and Scottish ballads that have come down to us, these inequalities never occurred to the medieval peasantry; they ac-

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