Stephen Foster youth's golden gleam - online book

His Life And Background In Cincinnati 1846 - 1850 by Raymond Walters

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CHAPTER XI
POET, MUSICIAN AND MAN
"By their universality his songs have so touched the hearts of millions of everyday folk that no one save Lincoln is more affectionately regarded." —William Arms Fisher
I.
S TEPHEN once told his brother Mor­rison that he wrote the words as well as the music of his songs because "the diffi­culty of harmonizing sounds with words rendered this necessary."1 Thus wittingly or unwittingly did he disguise the fact that he was incurably poetic. To write verse was as much in his soul as to compose music; as with the medieval minstrel these impulses were intertwined in him. His "Old Uncle Ned" and "Lou'siana Belle" showed Stephen's boyish Inclination to weave words with musical notes. He could hardly have found an environment more suited for the development of this in­clination than that which he entered at the age of twenty.
Cincinnati was a city in which there was a deliberate cultivation of letters. Here Stephen —a great reader as a boy*—could frequent
* Although not a diligent student at school, Stephen as a boy, according to contemporary letters of his parents, "reads a great deal" and "is uncommonly studious at home."2







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