Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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of labor gradually reduced the wages to the starva­tion point, while the habits of dissipation and reck­lessness remained as characteristic of the craft. Thorn gives a most affecting picture of the lives and thoughts of these men, many of them, strong with native intellect and passion, condemned to a life of unending servitude and degradation, too ragged to dare to enter a church, even if they wished, and getting their only glimpse of nature in the garden of Gordon's Hospital, which was open on the Sunday holiday, while the whiskey shop gave them their only taste of joy and exhilaration ; and yet who had a native feeling for poetry, repeat­ing the verses of Burns and particularly of Tan-nahill, their brother weaver, as they tended their looms, and applauding the poets and singers in their own ranks, whose rude verses expressed their feel­ings or appealed to their sympathies in the gather­ings in the taprooms. The moral influences of such a life, where three or four hundred men and women were herded together in common workrooms was also very bad, and many a young girl dated her ruin in life, bringing additional desolateness to the miserable home, from the promiscuous association, and being barred out into the streets with a heavy fine for failing to be at the factory door at its open­ing in the early morning. How virtue, morality, or any of the decency and self-respect of humanity
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