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lee's songbook

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tell poor lou i'm gone
Or,
nigger lou

Chorus
Tell poor Lou I'm gone - (You'll get no supper here)
Tell poor Lou I'm gone - (You'll get no supper here) 
Law! Law, my pretty gal,
You'll get no supper here. 

Beefsteak and mutton ham 
Little bit of sorghum too; 
Any one man that can stomach all that 
Does a little more than I can do. 

Eighteen horses in my team, 
Leader he is blind; 
Everywhere I drive that team 
Got a pretty girl on my mind. 

Eighteen miles of mountain road 
Sixteen miles of sand; 
Ever I travel this road again, 
Gonna be a married man. 

Awfullest sight, ever I seen 
Two old cats a-fightin'; 
One hollered out: "That's no fair fight 
'Cause t'other old thing's a-bitin'. 

Coffee grows on white-oak trees 
Rivers flow with brandy; 
Old folks live on bread and cheese 
And the gals are sweet as candy.


Tennessee! fIRE away!
To the tune of THE CAMPBELLS ARE COMING

Black Republican bandits
Have crossed to our shore,
Our soil has been dyed
With Tennesse's gore;
The murderer's triumph
Was theirs for a day -
Our triumph is coming -
So fire - fire away!
Fire away! 

Be steady - be ready -
And firm every hand -
Pour your shot like a storm
On the vile Yankee band.
On their flanks, on their centre,
Our batteries play -
And we sweep them like chaff,
As we fire - fire away!
Fire away! 


Lo! the smoke-wreath's uprising!
The belching flames tear
Wide gaps through the curtain,
Revealing despair.
Torn flutters their banner -
They run in dismay;
They are wavering - sinking -
So fire - fire away!
Fire away! 

They sneer at the rags
Of Tennessee braves,
They would hunt us like dogs,
And treat us as slaves.
But, oh, Lincoln tools!
Their sneering don't pay,
For the barefooted patriots
Will fire - fire away!
Fire away! 


'Tis over - the thunders
Have died on the gale 
Of the wounded and vanquished
Hark! hark to the wail!
Long the Lincoln invader
Shall mourn for the day
When Tennesseians was summoned
To fire - fire away!
Fire away! 

From Civil WAR SONG SHEETS, SERIES 2, VOLUME 1


Tent And Tent Fly
General George Meade


TENTING TONIGHT ON THE OLD CAMPGROUND

Walter Kittredge
1864

We're tenting tonight on the old campground;
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts - a song of home,
And friends we love so dear.

Chorus
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts looking for the right -
To see the dawn of peace.
Tenting tonight, tenting tonight,
Tenting on the old campground.

We've been tenting tonight on the old campground,
Thinking of days gone by;
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand,
And the tear that said "goodbye!"

We've been fighting today on the old campground -
Many are lying near,
Some are dead and some are dying,
Many are in tears.

Last Chorus
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts looking for the right -
To see the dawn of peace.
Dying tonight, dying tonight,
Dying on the old campground.


The Texas Ranger
See WILD NED FAREWELL


that's what's the matter!
Stephen Collins Foster
1862

We live in hard and stirring times,
Too sad for mirth, to rough for rhymes;
For songs of peace have lost their chimes,
And that's what's the matter!
The men we held as brothers true,
Have turn'd into a rebel crew;
So now we have to put them thro' -
And that's what's the matter!

Chorus
That's what's the matter,
The rebels have to scatter;
We'll make them flee, by land and sea,
And that's what's the matter!

Oh! Yes, we thought our neighbors true,
Indulg'd them as their mothers do;
They storm'd our bright red, white and blue,
And that's what's the matter!
We'll never give up what we gain,
For now we know we must maintain
Our laws and rights with might and main;
And that's what's the matter!

The rebels thought we would divide,
And democrats would take their side;
They then would let the union slide,
And that's what's the matter!
But, when the war had once begun,
All party feeling soon was gone;
We join'd as brothers, ev'ry one!
And that's what's the matter!

The Merrimac, with heavy sway,
Had made our Fleet an easy prey -
The Monitor got in the way,
And that's what's the matter!
So health to Captain Ericsson,
I cannot tell all he has done,
I'd never stop when once begun,
And that's what's the matter!

We've heard of General Beauregard,
And thought he'd fight us long and hard;
But he has played out his last card,
And that's what's the matter!
So what's the use to fret and pout,
We soon will hear the people shout,
"Secession dodge is all played out!

And that's what's the matter!"

THAT'S WHAT'S THE MATTER was one of several songs that Stephen Foster wrote specifically to appeal to the Union soldiers. Foster wrote THAT'S WHAT'S THE MATTER for the famous minstrel singer, Dan Bryant. Foster undoubtedly hoped that Bryant's success with this song would rival his success with another song specifically written for Bryant and the minstrel stage: DIXIE.


THERE IS A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood shall never lose its power
'Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

And when my lisping, stamm'ring tongue lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I'll sing thy power to save!

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood-bought free reward, a golden harp for me!

'Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father's ears no other name but Thine.


there was an old nigger
and his name was ned
See UNCLE NED


There'll be a stormy morning
From CHRISTY'S NIGGA SONGSTER
To the tune of BLOW THE WINDY MORNING
1850

Good morning, comrade, sneaket, come
Before we cry the morn,
Let's hop into the box, my boys,
And take a social horn.
For there'll be a stormy morning,
And the wind begins to blow,
And let us have a blow out first,
A jolly whiskey blow.

I'se temperance, but I'll taste de schnapps
For fear my troat get sore,
I'm not de only one dat takes
A drop behind de door.
For there'll be a stormy morning,
And the wind begins to blow,
And let us have a blow out first,
A jolly whiskey blow.

I'se sawed two dollars by de cat's gut,
Now to bed I'll go.
For I has got some wood to saw,
By time de chickens crow.
Oh, dere'll be a stormy morning,
De wind begins to blow,
Dere'll be a stormy morning,
De wind begins to blow.

Miss Ligdumvitae's sleepin' fast,
And snoren double bass;
If I kotch a darkey here tonight
I'll saw him cross de face.

For there'll be a stormy morning,
And the wind begins to blow,
And let us have a blow out first,
A jolly whiskey blow.

De rail-roads off out Market street
Behind de six- horse team,
Come down to Johny Cox's boys,
And dere get on our steam.
For there'll be a stormy morning,
And de wind begins to blow,
Then let us hab a blow out first,
A jolly whiskey blow.

We're jolly rail-road porters,
And we push for jobs with spunk,
Bekase we fill our vittal chests
By gettin' people's trunks.
For there'll be a stormy morning,
And de wind begins to blow,
Then let us hab a blow out first,
A jolly whiskey blow.

Dar my sweet Lignumvitae lives,
We'll sar'nade her as we passes,
Oh, she's a colored angel, boys,
Dat's dipped in black molasses.
And dere'll be a stormy morning,
De wind begins to blow,
So let's gib her a blow out first,
A stormin' music blow.
For there'll be a stormy morning.


tHERE'S LIFE IN THE OLD LAND YET

Words By James R. Randall

By blue Patapsco's billowy dash, the tyrant's war-shout comes
Along with the cymbal's fitful clash and the growl of his sullen drums;
We hear it - we heed it - with vengeful thrills,
And we shall not forgive or forget -
There's faith in the streams, there's hope in the hills,
There's life in the Old Land yet!

Minions! we sleep, but we are not dead;
We are crushed, we are scourged, we are scarred;
We crouch - 'tis to welcome the triumph tread
Of the peerless Beauregard.
Then woe to your vile, polluting horde,
When the Southern braves are met -
There's faith in the victor's stainless sword,
There's life in the Old Land yet.

Bigots! ye quell not the valiant mind,
With the clank of an iron chain -
The spirit of Freedom sings in the wind
O'er Merryman, Thomas and Kane;
And we, though we smite not, are not thralls -
We are piling a gory debt;
While down by McHenry's dungeon walls,
There's life in the Old Land yet!

Our women have hung their harps away,
And they scowl on your brutal bands,
While the nimble poignard dares the day
In their dear, defiant hands;
They will strip their tresses to string our bows,
Ere the Northern sun is set -
There's faith in their unrelenting woes -
There's life in the Old Land yet!

There's life, though it throbbeth in silent veins -
'Tis vocal without noise -
It gushes o'er Manassa's solemn plains
From the blood of the Maryland boys.
That blood shall cry aloud, and rise
With an everlasting threat -
By the death of the brave, by the God in the skies,
There's life in the Old Land yet!


Think Of Your Head In The Morning
By Charlie L. Ward, 7th Kemtucky Regiment
To the tune of PAT MURPHY OF MEAGHER'S BRIGADE

Tom Jennings who never could drinking avoid, 
Tho' vows he was always a-making;
But after each bout he was ever annoyed
With a nervousness and a head-aching.
Going out to a party one ev'ning last week,
His wife said to him as a warning,
"Be careful, dear Thomas, and mind what you take,
And think of your head in the morning."
Think of your head, think of your head,
Think of your head in the morning.

He promised sincerely to bear it in mind,
And at dinner at first he was cautious;
And tho' very nice, he had sherry did find,
He sipped it as if it were nauseous.
But wine will the best resolutions destroy -
By degrees, he forgot his wife's warning -
And he said with each glass,
"Tom (hic) be care(hic)ful my boy,
And think of your head in the morning."
Think of your head, think of your head,
Think of your head in the morning.

In the course of the night he was asked for a toast,
And he gave, like a man of discerning,
"Here's the friend we can (hic)trust 
And the girl (hic)we love most
Who will (hic)think of your head in the morning."
"Bravo!" said they, " 'Tis a capital say!"
Then up with their glasses all turning,
"Mr. Jennings (hic) sentiment, hip hip hooray!"
Oh, their poor heads in the morning.
Oh, their poor heads, oh, their poor heads,
Oh, their poor heads in the morning.

On leaving the party, with drink nearly blind,
He came 'gainst a pump near a turning;
He turned 'round and said, "Sir, it's (hic) very un(hic)kind -
Just think of (hic) my head in (hic) the morning."
Then rolled in the gutter, "It's very ill-bred;
You might (hic) Sir have (hic) given me warning!"
All covered with mud as he lay there he said,
"Shan't I look (hic) spruce (hic) in the morning
Shan't I look spruce, shan't I look spruce,
Shan't I look spruce in the morning."

At last he reached home with his hat without brim,
And he spoke to his wife - rather fawning -
"I've been (hic) struck by a brute (hic) because I said to him
To think of my head in the morning."
Too tipsy for bed as he lay on the floor,
He caught it for scorning her warning:
"Now ain't you ashamed, Sir?!" 
"My dear (hic) say no (hic) more,
But think of my head in the morning."
But think of my head, think of my head,
Think of my head in the morning.

Published In Charleston, South Carolina


The Times:
A Hit At The Popular Humbugs Of the Day
Words & Music By John Smith
1839

Goosy, goosy gander, from Bank to Bank I wander,
From City, Globe and Exchange to Gen'ral Int'rest chamber.
There sit the Cashiers the specie they refuse,
There sit the Cashiers the specie they refuse.
While all the Bank Directors, 
While all the Bank Directors, 
While all the Bank Directors are clapping on the screws. 

Goosy, goosy gander, all around I wander, 
Sawdust and Humbug, in the Doctor's chamber.
There sits the victim looking rather thin,
There sits the victim looking rather thin. 
While old Father Longface, 
While old Father Longface, 
While old Father Longface pulls the rhino in. 


Goosy, goosy gander, ev'rywhere I wander,
All the folks are gath'ring to Abolition chamber.
There the 'Malgamators are looking mighty wise, 
There the 'Malgamators are looking mighty wise. 
While all the wond'ring Gumbus, 
While all the wond'ring Gumbus, 
While all the wond'ring Gumbus are rolling up their eyes.

Goosy, Goosy gander, to tented field I wander
Where grunts the Striped Pig, with topers all around her.
See what a laughing crowd is thronging 'round the door,
See what a laughing crowd is thronging 'round the door.
While all the men of water, 
While all the men of water,
While all the men of water the horrid times deplore.


A Toast To Virginia
To the tune of RED, WHITE AND BLUE

A toast to Virginia, God bless her!
The mother of heroes and States!
Confusion to him who'd oppress her,
And death to the tyrant that hates!
May honor and glory attend her,
And victory come when she calls
Till every armed foe shall surrender,
And peace reign again in her halls!

And here's to George Washington! - standing;
Though cold at Mount Vernon his clay,
His Spirit, her armies commanding,
Still lives in Virginia today;
'Tis the breath of the brave Old Dominion;
The soul that will never depart;
It breathes in each noble Virginian,
And burns in each true Southern heart! 

Then, brothers fill high with emotion!
Our days may be many or few;
Still pledge we a life-long devotion
To principles honest and true!
Whatever our fortunes may be men,
This toast let us cherish each one:
To Virginia, the mother of freemen;
And Washington, Liberty's son! 

From CIVIL WAR SONG SHEETS, SERIES 2, VOLUME 1


TRAMP! TRAMP! TRAMP!
OR,
THE PRISONER'S HOPE
GEORGE L. ROOT
1864

In the prison cell I sit, thinking Mother, dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away;
And the tears, they fill my eyes 'spite of all that I can do,
Tho' I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.

Chorus
Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching;
Cheer up comrades, they will come.
And beneath the starry flag we shall breathe the air again
Of the free land in our own beloved home.

In the battle front we stood when their fiercest charge they made,
And they swept us off a hundred men or more;
But before we reached their lines, they were beaten back dismayed,
And we heard the cry of vict'ry o'er and o'er.

So within the prison cell we are waiting for the day
That shall come to open wide the iron door;
And the hollow eye grows bright, and the poor heart almost gay,
As we think of seeing home and friends once more.

TRAMP! TRAMP! TRAMP! is arguably George Root's most famous song, and one of the great marching songs of the Civil War, or any other war.  Root wrote TRAMP! TRAMP! TRAMP! to appeal to Northern citizens who longed for news of friends or loved ones known to be prisoners held in Southern prisons.  Within six months of its publication, the song had sold 100,000 copies of the sheet music - an enormous number in that day, and given the size of the population.


the true heart of woman
Words By Mrs. Wilson
Music By Alexander Lee

My friends they fall from me,
My foes laugh to scorn;
I stand on life's desert,
A pilgrim forlorn.

Yet one flower is growing
Round hope's lonely grave;
One font still is flowing,
My parched lips to lave.

Say what is that floweret,
On life's barren waste?
And whence flows that fountain,
My lips still may taste?

'Tis the true heart of woman,
That blooms 'mid the storm,
Which no tempest can wither,
No changes transform.


The true heart of woman,
The true heart of woman,
Which no tempest can wither,
No changes transform.

In sunshine she flies us,
When all things look bright;
Her smile then denies us
The warmth of its light.

But when the clouds gather
Around us in gloom,
She's the rainbow of pleasure,
Our sky to illume.

Though friendship is fleeting,
Though hope may decay,
The fond love of woman
Will ne'er pass away.

'Tis the true heart of woman,
That blooms mid the storm,
Which no tempest can wither,
No changes transform.


The true heart of woman,
The true heart of woman,
Which no tempest can wither,
No changes transform.

New York: Atwill's Music Salon


TRY US!
By The Washington Artillery Of New Orleans
On The Occasion Of The Dedication
Of The Washington Artillery Arsenal Building
1857

Our maiden banner courts the wind;
Its stars are beamin' over us.
Each radiant fold now unconfined
Is floating here before us.
It bears a motto proud and high
To those who dare defy us.
And loud shall peal our slogan cry
Whene'er they come to "TRY US!
"

The hallowed ray that freedom gave us
To cheer the gloom that bound us,
And shone in beauty over the brave
Still brightly beams around us.
The day our fathers bravely won
Shall long be greeted by us,
And loudly through our ranks shall peal
The gallant war cry "TRY US!
"


'TWAS AT THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG

'Twas at the siege of Vicksburg,
Of Vicksburg, of Vicksburg;
'Twas at the siege of Vicksburg
When the Parrott shells were whistling through the air.
Listen to the Parrott shells, listen to the Parrott shells,
The Parrott shells are whistling through the air.
Listen to the Parrott shells, listen to the Parrott shells,
The Parrott shells are whistling through the air.

Oh, well will we remember,
Remember, remember;
Tough mule meat, June sans November,
A and the Minie balls that whistled through the air.
Listen to the Minie balls, listen to the Minie balls,
The Minie balls that whistled through the air.
Listen to the Minie balls, listen to the Minie balls,
The Minie balls that whistled through the air.


TWENTY YEARS AGO

I have wandered to the village, Tom -
I've sat beneath the tree
Upon the schoolhouse playing ground
Which sheltered you and me;
But none are left to greet me, Tom,
And few are left to know
That played with us upon the green
Just twenty years ago.

The grass is just as green, dear Tom,
Barefooted boys at play
Are sporting just as we were then,
With spirits just as gay;
But Master sleeps upon the bill,
All coated o'er with snow
That afforded us a sliding place
Just twenty years ago.

The old schoolhouse is altered some,
The benches are replaced
By new ones very like the same
Our penknives had defaced;
But the same old bricks are in the wall,
The bell swings to and fro,
The music just the same, dear Tom,
'Twas twenty years ago.

The boys are playing some old game
Beneath that same old tree -
I do forget the name just now,
You have played the same with me;
On that same spot 'twas played with knives,
By throwing so-and-so,

The leaders had a task to do there
Twenty years ago.

The river is running just as still -
The willows on its side
Are larger than they were, dear Tom -
The stream appears less wide;
The grapevine swing is ruined now
Where once we played the beau
And swung our sweethearts, pretty girls,
Just twenty years ago.

The spring that bubbled 'neath the hill
Close by the spreading beach.
Is very high - 'twas once so low
That we could almost reach;
But in kneeling down to get a drink,
Dear Tom, I started so
To see how sadly I am changed since
Twenty years ago.

Down by the spring, upon an elm
You know I cut your name -
Your sweetheart is just beneath it, Tom -
And you did mine the same;
Some heartless wretch has peeled the bark -
'Twas dying sure but slow -
Just as the one whose name you out did,
Twenty years ago.

My lids have long been dry, dear Tom,
But tears come in my eyes;
I thought of her I loved so well -
Those early broken ties.
I visited the old churchyard, and
Took some flowers to strew
Upon the graves of those we loved some
Twenty years ago.

Some are in the churchyard laid,
Same sleep beneath the sea -
But few are left of our old class
Excepting you and me;
But when our time shall come, dear Tom,
And we are called to go,
I hope they'll lay us where we played just
Twenty years ago.

As sung by Add. Weaver, in Hart & Schofield's Gymnastic Exhibition.

Ward Hill Lamon was one of Abraham Lincoln's long-time friends from Illinois, a singer and President Lincoln's chief of staff.  When President Lincoln sought the emotional comfort or stimulation of music, often he would ask Lamon to sing for him.

It was while touring the Antietam battlefield in October 1862 that Lincoln asked Lamon to "sing one of your sad little songs."  Lamon sang Lincoln's favorite sad song, "Twenty Years Ago."  Lincoln became so overwhelmed with sadness and grief on that occasion that Lamon then sang bits of several comic songs to help draw Lincoln back from his deep melancholia.  The reporters accompanying the Presidential party recorded that event, reporting only the nonsense songs and creating such scandalous headlines that it later became a serious issue to overcome in in Lincoln's reelection campaign.  Lamon said that TWENTY YEARS AGO was Abraham Lincoln's favorite song, and that Lincoln frequently dissolved into tears when hearing it.


 

TWO ON EARTH AND TWO IN HEAVEN
Words And Music By Joseph Philbrick Webster
1858

Two on earth, their little feet glance like sunbeams round the door;
Two in Heaven, whose lips repeat words of blessing evermore.
Two on earth, at shut of day, softly sink to cradled rest;
Two in Heaven, more blest than they, slumber on an angel's breast.

Two with crowns of budding flowers dance the summer skies beneath;
Two in heaven's unfading bowers wear the glory like a wreath.
Two on earth whose merry call stirs my heart to gladness now;
Two in heaven whose kisses fall through the silence on my brow.

Oft I gazed with tearful eye when the churchyard daisies blow;
Oft my prayers are only sighs, yearning for my children so.
Yet I know an angel hand led them home in tender love;
Mine is sure a bless'd hand - two on earth and two above.


two soldiers
Or,
the last fierce charge

It was just before the last fierce charge,
Two soldiers drew their rein,
With a parting word and a touch of the hand,
They never might meet again.

One had light blue eyes and curly hair,
Nineteen but a month ago;
There was red on his cheek and down on his chin
He's only a boy, you know.

The other was tall, dark, stern, and proud,
His fate in this world seem'd dim;
But he only trusted the more to those
Who were all in this world to him.

They had been together in many a fight,
And rode for many a mile;
But never till now they had met the foe
With a calm and hopeful smile.

But now they gazed in each other's eyes
With an awful ghastly loom;
The tall dark one was the first to speak
Saying "Charlie, mine hour is come.

"We'll both ride up yon hill together,
But you must ride back alone.
O promise a little trouble to take
For me when I'm gone.

"I have a fair face on my breast,
I'll wear it throughout the fight;
With light blue eyes, and curly hair
That shines like the morning light.

"Like the morning light she is to me,
With her calm and her hopeful smile;
Oh, little care I for the frowns of fate,
For she promised to be my wife.

"I mind the day she said 'Goodbye',
With a smile on her fair face;
Oh, tell her tenderly where I fell,
And where is my resting place."

Tears dimm'd the blue eyes of the boy
His voice was low with pain.
"I'll do your bidding, comrade mine,
Should I ride back again.

"But if you ride back and I am slain,
You'll do as much for me;
I have a mother beloved by all,
Write to her tenderly.

"She was a mother beloved by all,
Who had buried both husband and son;
And I the last for her country's cause
She cheer'd and sent me on.

"And now she prays like a waiting saint,
Her fair face wet with woe;
Oh, when she hears that I am slain,
Her heart will break I know."

But now the trumpet sounds the charge,
In an instant hand join'd hand,
With a parting word and away they go,
A brave devoted band.

There was none to tell that fair-hair'd girl
The words her true-love said,
And none to tell that waiting mother
The news that her boy was dead.

For among the number of the slain
Was the boy with the curly hair;
The tall dark man who rode by his side
Lay dead beside him there.


Two Years Ago
By A Drafted Wide Awake

I was a glorious Wide-Awake,
All marching in a row,
And wore a shiny oil cloth cape,
About two years ago.
Our torches flared with turpentine,
And filled the streets with smoke;
And we were sure, whate'er might come;
Secession was a joke.

Chorus
Oh, if I then had only dreamed,
The things that now I know,
I ne'er had been a Wide-Awake
About two years ago.

I said the South would never dare
To strike a single blow;
I thought that they were cowards then,
About two years ago.
And so I marched behind a rai',
Armed with a wedge and maul;
With honest Abe upon a flag,
A boatman gaunt and tall.

My work was good, my wages high,
And bread and coal were low;
The silver jingled in my purse
About two years ago.
In peace my wife and children dwelt,
Happy the live-long day;
And war was but the fearful curse
Of countries far away.

My wife sits pale and weeping now,
My children crying low;
I did not think to go to war
About two years ago.
And no one now will earn their food,
No one will be their shield;
God help them when I lie in death
Upon the bloody field!

One brother's bones half-buried lie
Near the Antietam's flow;
He was a merry, happy lad
About two years ago.
And where the Chickahominy
Moves sluggish towards the sea,
Was laid another's wasted corpse -
I am the last of three.

Just now I saw my torch and cape
Which once made such a show;
They are not now what once they seemed,
About two years ago.
I thought I carried freedom's light,
In that smoky, flaming band;
I've learned I bore destruction's "torch" -
That wedge has split the land.

 

 

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