Saturday Evening Post
Mary J. Allen
Philadelphia: 29 July 1865



"There are fragments of songs that nobody sings."—B. F. Taylor.

  It was only a verse of a song that all of us used to sing a few years ago, though one never hears it now—Stephen C. Foster's "Old Folks at Home." What a favorite that song was in its day, and that day not so far back, either. Fathers and mothers sand it, young men, and maidens, and little children; the mechanic at his work, the mother at her baby's cradle. There were some who sneered at it as a Negro Melody, but in its simple, touching words and sadly sweet air, was a charm which the great heart of the people acknowledged, and they set the seal of their approval upon it. Sung in palace and cottage and fisherman's hut; in city and country, and by the sea, wherever the English language was spoken by Americans, this song, by American's most popular composer, went, too; and alas! like every thing else in this mutable world, it had its day and was forgotten.

  And there was another that we all remember—the "Old Kentucky Home." To theatre goers the name will recall a scene in Uncle Tom's Cabin; and old man sitting with bowed head, singing of the home he should never see again. And looking at the bent figure, listening to the words so mournfully sweet, one realized what a slave may feel.

  But these old songs, with many others like them, are among the things that were. Gone with the old days, never to return. popular taste and feeling have undergone great changes, and this changed feeling finds expression in a new class of songs, beautiful, many of them, but lacking the charm of old association, and that, after all, is what so endeared those early favorites, touching them with that "Light that never was on sea or land," the light of memory.