A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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140            A CENTURY OF BALLADS
Request " may put in a claim to be considered, but it is by " Thou art so near," which was sung by all the tenors of the time, that he is chiefly remembered to-day.
The year 1855 saw the publication of two songs that, while of entirely different types, were each very popular in their own way. The one was " Hybrias the Cretan," by J. W. Elliott, perhaps one of the finest bass songs ever written. The words are a translation from the Greek by Thomas Campbell. The other song was of the descriptive kind, dealing with a topical subject of the day, and written shortly after the institution of the Penny Post by Rowland Hill, to whom, appropriately enough, it was dedicated. This was " The Postman's Knock," by W. T. Wrighton, the words of which were written by L. M. Thornton. Curiously enough, I came upon a paragraph about Thornton only a little while ago in the Bristol Pressf which, with all due acknowledgments, I will take the liberty of quoting here :
" Not every song-writer is successful in the sense of gaining a fortune, but certain musical compositions, though they brought little pelf to their authors, have greatly enriched those who gave them to the world. The Postman's Knock' is an instance of a song making a fortune for the publishers, or nearly so. What Mr. W. T.
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