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33 > Page 33 of Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky mountains : a study in anthropogeography / by Ellen Churchill Semple.

The Anglo-Saions of the Kentucky Mountains the arrows hefted in the ancient manner. The men, some of them old, were admirably skilled in their use; they assured me that, like their fathers before them, they had ever used the bow and arrow for small game, reserving the costly ammunition of the rifle for deer and bear." Though these people came into the mountains with eighteenth- century civilization, their isolation and poverty not only prevented them from progressing, but also forced them to revert to earlier usages which at the time of their coming were obsolescent. This is the explanation of the feud, as has been shown above, of the use of the hand-mill and short-bow, and especially of the old English ballad poetry which constitutes the literature of these mountain folk to-day. This has survived, or, more properly, flourished in its mediaeval vigor because it has not felt the competition of books. The scant baggage of the pioneer immigrants from colonial Virginia and Carolina could not allow much space for books, and the few that did make the trip across the Appalachian Mountains were used up, from much reading and handling, by one generation. Poverty and inaccessibility prevented an invasion of new books from without. and from within there was no competition from newspapers. There are to-day twenty contiguous mountain counties, covering altogether an area of 6,ooo square miles, not one of which can boast a printing- press. Under these circumstances, the Kentucky mountaineer re- verted to his ancestral type of literature and revived ballad poetry. This has now been handed down from lip to lip through generations, the slightly variant form and phrase only testifying to its genuine- ness. The ballad of "Barbara Allen," popular in Great Britain three hundred years ago, and known now in America only to the musical antiquarian, is a stand-by in several of the mountain coun- ties. The tragic ballad of "Little Sir Hugh," or "The Jewish Lady," as it is variously called, traces back to the Prior's Tale of Chaucer. The lengthy ballad of "Lord Bateman," or "The Turkish Lady," shows unmistakable identity with the poem of the same name in Kurlock's "Ancient Scottish Ballads," though the Scotch version is longer. Animated by the spirit of minstrelsy, the mountaineers have com- posed ballads on the analogy of the ancient. These are romantic or heroic and of narrative length. We heard a woman sing a native ballad of fifty-two stanzas, entitled "Beauregard and Zollicoffer," which recounted the deeds of these two generals of the Civil War. The music for all these ballads is in a weird minor key, and is sung 33