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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154             A CENTURY OF BALLADS
probably on account of the inferiority of the words. Sullivan had sold the songs to a pub­lisher for a few guineas, and the purchaser was glad some years later to dispose of them to another publisher for an insignificant sum. The latter sent the music of one of the songs to Weatherly and suggested he should write new words to it. "Then," says Weatherly, in speak­ing of the incident, "without any suggestion from Sullivan, but entirely on my own, I wrote 'The Chorister.' Madame Sterling, who was very difficult to please with words, and who would sing no song unless she honestly felt the words, took up the song, and in a very short time the receipts of the publisher were enor­mous." Instances of this kind are not unknown in the history of music publishing, and they only go to prove how difficult it is to prophesy about the fate of any particular song, and upon what varied circumstances may depend its ulti­mate success or failure. Herein, too, lies hidden the germ of a very vexed question, which will probably never be satisfactorily settled — the relative value of words and music in estimating the success of a popular song.
Of Sullivan's other songs of the popular type the following are probably the best known to­day : "Will He Come?' another lyric of Adelaide Procter's ; "If Doughty Deeds," "Once
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