Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The photo here is from a 1906 book for school assemblies -- directions for poses and movements to twenty-six of "our favourite songs". Judging by the pencil marks, the number one favourite was The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I couldn't bear to share with you songs like Old Black Joe, Swannee River, or Massa's in the Cold Ground. (These were to be done by children in blackface.) But here is Annie Laurie:

Maxwelton's braes are bonnie,
Hands extended obliquely to the front, somewhat higher than the waist line.*

Where early fa's the dew,
On "where" raise the hands till on level with top of head, then on "falls" bring them slowly down till they are out straight from the sides of the body, then drop to sides.

And 'twas there that Annie Laurie
Right hand out obliquely to the front, eyes looking into distance.

Gave me her promise true,
Right hand is brought up to center of breast, left hand is down and out at left side.

Gave me her promise true,
Right hand raised, arm's length, obliquely to the front, the left hand down and out from left side, eyes raised and looking into space with tender light (italics mine).

Which ne'er forgot will be,
Left hand raised and extended out at left side on level with the waist line; right hand raised, arm curved gracefully until thumb and first finger touch right temple, head drooped and tilted to the right.

And for bonnie Annie Laurie,

Hands thrown out obliquely in front of body, step forward with the right foot, body inclined forward.

I'd lay me down and dee.
Right foot brought back, head bowed sadly, hands out in front of body, down at arms' length, palms down.

*"oblique" arms are palm up, at 45 degree angle from body, fingers toward the ground.

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