Although devoid of any natural ability as a singer Abe nevertheless made many efforts and had great appreciation of certain songs.
In after years he told me he doubted if he really knew what the harmony of sound was. The songs in vogue then were principally of the sacred order.
They were from Watts
' and Dupuy's hymn-books.
furnished me with a list, marking as especial favorites the following: “Am I a soldier of the cross” ; “How tedious and Tasteless the hours” ; “There is a fountain filled with blood,” and, “Alas, and did my Saviour Bleed?”
One song pleased Abe not a little.
“I used to sing it for old Thomas Lincoln
,” relates Turnham
, “at Abe's request.”
The old gentleman liked it and made me sing it often.
I can only remember one couplet:
There was a Romish lady
She was brought up in Popery.
insists that Abe used to try his hand and voice at “Poor old Ned
,” but never with any degree of success.
“Rich, racy verses” were sung by the big boys in the country villages of that day with as keen a relish as they are to-day.
There is no reason and less evidence for the belief that Abe did not partake of this forbidden fruit along with other boys of the same age and condition in life.
Among what Dennis
called “field songs” are a few lines from this one:
The turbaned Turk that scorns the world
And struts about with his whiskers curled,
For no other man but himself to see.