Stories of Famous Songs, Vol 2

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Many composers set the " Song of the Shirt" to music, and as a recitation, with musical ac-companiment, it formed the chief feature of several entertainers' programmes.
A piece of verse often attributed to Thomas Hood, being much in his vein, is the " Pauper's Drive:"
Si Rattle his bones over the stones,
He's only a pauper whom nobody owns."
The piece was really written by the Reverend Thomas Noel of Maidenhead. It was first pub-lished in 1841 or 1843 by William Smith of Fleet Street in a small volume entitled " Rhymes and Roundelays." Henry Russell popularized the words by setting them to music, attributing them to Hood, and singing the piece when on tour. This no doubt gave rise to the mis-apprehension as to the name of the author. Miss Mitford, in her " Recollections of Literary Life," gives a full description of Mr. Noel, and quotes the " Pauper's Drive" in extcnso. The refrain in the last stanza varies:
" Bear softly his bones over the stones,
Though a pauper he's one whom his Maker yet owns."
Miss Mitford adds : "The author tells mc that the incident of the poem was taken from life. He witnessed such a funeral coffin in a parish hearse driven at full speed"

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