An Experiment in point of view.

Change changing is education is forever changing change… For to marry here some pretty miss, and take her from her mother, and – presto change – through the love of change, she runs off with another.

Moraley pen[ned] the embellishments to a poem by George Webb that appeared in an almanac for 1730 praising William “Pen” Penn (1644-1718) who was proprietor of the multicultural Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where the secret fraternal order of the Free and Accepted Masons established their first North American lodge in 1730 promoting an egalitarian sensibility of liberalism. To enlightened music in this new order, Fortuna and Lady Liberty became almost interchangeable, to not love her would surely be sinning; and God could be seen tuning the cosmic bass strings to ensure harmony worldwide. Already the colonies fields clad with the verdure of green were a cynosure in the world for upward social mobility if one could produce la bagatelle.

Goddess of Numbers, who art wont to rove

   O’er the gay Landskip, and the smiling grove:

Assist the soaring Muse, with Judgment to repeat.

   The various Beauties of Thy Fav’rite Seat;

Thy Streets and Lanes, how regular and fair,

   With thee no earthly City may compare.

While Europe groans, distress’d by hostile War,

   No fears disturb the industrious Planters Care:

No unjust Sentence we have cause to fear;

   No arbitrary Monarch rules us here.

Our Laws, our Liberties, and all are ours,

   Our happy Constitution here secures,

The Seers, how cautious! And how gravely wise!

   The hopeful Youth in Emulation rise;

Who, if the aspiring Muse does rightly sing,

   Shall liberal Arts to such Perfection bring,

That Europe shall mourn, her ancient Fame declin’d,

   And Philadelphia shall be the Athens of Mankind.

What Praise, O Pen! what Thanks are due to thee!

   For this first perfect Scheme of Liberty!

What Praise! What Thanks! to thee, O Pen! are given,

   Beloved of Men! and Candidate for Heaven.

Writing songs is tough, nobody knows his neighbor, requires to have them understood, a vast amount of labor. Once in the colonies, Moraley was bound to a master clockmaker who also worked as a silversmith, goldsmith, button-maker, and blacksmith. Amazed by the natural bounty naturally found in his new home, he tramped through the countryside to drum up business for his tyrannical master. The economic reality was that even established colonists had no means to build continuous wealth – they were just starting to build networks to distribute manufactured goods to gain a small sense of autonomy. As a journeyman after service, Moraley could only earn about a third of what another journeyman with comparable experience could make in London. (‘Tis hard to keep afloat, and so I hope that all of you will freely, take a note.) Unable to become independent in the contemporary sense of the word, Moraley lived a single life in a male-dominated world. Once-indentured servants scratched hard to own property, garner a patron to establish credit, and hunt for a wife in a region were men vastly outnumbered hoopsters. Moraley had no voice in the world around him – democracy as we understand it today did not exist; free men owning no property were obliged to work, drink, and live in the company of men. Moraley was a small-minded man, he did not marry, and upon returning to England, sued his mother for her ignorance of money matters and perceived injustices towards him.

[Source: William Moraley. The Infortunate: The Voyage and Adventures of William Moraley, and Indentured Servant. University Park, PA.: Pennsylvania State Press, 1992. ]



An Experiment in point of view.

I believe, ballads ought only be sung by old spinsters by the fire:

Old maids and futzy batchelor with wonton widows too,

   When you intend to marry, know what you must go through,

But rather than lead apes into hell, along with us do go…

   No horned brother dare makes game, they are cuckolds all-a-row.

Ballads tell stories while folksongs consist of floating verses. Ballads convey epic themes both human and supernatural with plots containing adventure, comic, love, and tragedy told in verse. Ballads are literature of the people. The narratives in ballads generally develop by means of dialogue. Now our American ballads chronicle adventures, scandals and tragedies that were similar in scope to subjects found in chapbooks. The early ballad singers of course performed without instrumentation. They might chronicle a specific incident, but they often get adapted with hearsay and rumor over time, creating and reinforcing legends. Ballads are true indicators of the values of the society and times in which they were written and performed. Conversely, broadside ballads are songs published on single sheets of paper. They are sentimental, declamatory, or scandalous in content and sold on the streets in large urban areas with other broadsides, almanacs, chapbooks, and satirical prints. The ballad known as “James Bird” tells the story of Marine soldier James Bird who demonstrated great bravery during the Battle for Lake Erie in 1813, only to be convicted and executed for desertion when he took off to see his beloved for a long weekend.