Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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SAW YE MY WEE THING
377
sailed for Guadaloupe, where he remained three years with an employer who turned him off with a small amount, wheu, in 1763, the island was ceded to the French. With diffi­culty he reached Antigua, where, reduced to utter penury, he worked a short time for a relative, with no recompense whatever. His general culture and abilities, with his know­ledge of the French language, rescued him from this, and he became assistant to the Provost-Marshal of Grenada, for three years. On receiving news of the death of his mother and sister, he returned to Scotland. His father died soon after, leaving him a little property. This he invested in an annuity of £80, upon which small sum he hoped to be able to stay at home. But difficulty in obtaining even this, and an unfortunate attachment, eent him out again upon the ocean. As assistant-secretary on board a flag-ship he made two cruises, when he turned homeward; but he was persuaded to accept a position upon the flag-ship of Sir Richard Brinkerton, commander of the naval forces in India. In this position he suffered great hardships, and was in some naval engagements. He remained three years, though sick almost to death of his wanderings. He longed for quiet, and literary pleasures, and, although he had little money, he again attempted the experiment of supporting himself in Scotland by his pen. He fixed his abode in a farm-house near Stirling, where he composed diligently; but the slow-moving booksellers, and ready critics, proved too much for his patient industry. He must live, even though he wrote verses, and when the bottom of his purse was reached, he set sail once more. On a voyage to the island of Jamaica, he engaged himself to a collector of customs, who, finding after-Ward that he could dispense with the poet's services, dismissed him forthwith. Disheartened and homesick, he turned toward his native hills again. These he reached, with no money In his pocket, but a poem which he had written during the voyage, entitled, " The Harp, «, Legendary Tale." This was published, but brought him no money. He lived with rela­tives, writing, until he was seized with a nervous disease which for six years rendered him incapable of physical exertion. When he recovered, he produced nearly all his best songs, and began at last to realize his dream. One poem gave him wide reputation, and went through fourteen editions in a year, and the one following was equally popular. He now went to Jamaica to recover health, and the light heart which he carried greatly assisted him. A friend in Jamaica settled upon him an annuity of £100, and he returned to Scotland, to leave it no more. He established himself in Edinburgh, received some legacies, wrote constantly, and was soon living in affluence, courted by fashion and culture. There was now but one drawback to his happiness—he was old. He writes, January 30, 1813: " Accumulating years and infirmities are beginning to operate very sensibly upon me now, and yearly do I experience their increasing influence. Both my hearing and my sight are considerably weakened, and, should I live a few years longer, I look forward to a state which, with all our love of life, is certainly not to be envied." Five years later, March 15, 1818, when seventy-one years old, his strange, wandering life closed in peacefulness and hope.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III