Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

A Biography Of America's Folk-Song Composer By Harold Vincent Milligan

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YOUTH
27
Athens. Stephen C. Foster composed and wrote his first piece of music, I think, expressly for the exhibition, and with James H. Forbes and William F. Warner, the three practiced the piece, which Stephen named "Tioga Waltz" and played it upon the stage with their flutes—hot "four flutes," as stated by his brother, Morrison Foster.
Robert P. Nevin says that the song "Sadly to My Heart Appealing" was written during this game year, but Morrison Foster makes no mention of it. Published nearly twenty years later by Firth, Pond & Co., after its composer had become famous, it is one of the crudest of Foster's songs and, quite conceivably, might have been the work of a thirteen-year-old boy. It contains a little more harmonic material than the "Tioga Waltz," but in spite of this fact it is both repetitious and dull. The words are so badly welded to the music as to arouse the suspicion that they may not have been the original in­spiration of the melody. In the day of his fame, when everything he wrote found a ready market, Stephen may have resurrected this old, childish tune and adapted it to verses for which it was only partially suited. The pub­lished song, copyrighted in 1858, ascribes the words to Eliza Sheridan Carey, as "Lines suggested on listening to an old Scottish melody."
The "poetry" of that time was saturated with gloom, and these depressing verses may have appealed to Stephen's youthful fancy or he may have selected them in later years. His own literary ability, as evidenced by the lyrics with which he provided himself for more than a hundred songs, was distinctly above that of the author of "Sadly to My Heart Appealing," which offends not only against good taste, but also against English gram­mar.
Sadly to my heart appealing,
Sadly, sadly, well-a-day, Requiem-like in murmurs stealing,
Comes that old familiar lay;
Wherefore not the wonted pleasure
From the antique music spring ? Why that well-remembered measure
Grieving thoughts and anguish bring ?







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III