Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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opportunity to work as a journeyman for a weaver, who took in custom work, in the little town of In-verury in the district bordering on Mar. Here, after nine months' residence, his wife, his " faithful Jeanie," died in child-bed, leaving him with three children, the daughter a herd lassie at a lonely farm at some distance. In January, 1841, being then more than forty years of age, and never be­fore having attempted to find a market for his verse, the notion occurred to him, in despair at the dullness of work, to send a poem, entitled The Blind Boy's Pranks, to the Aberdeen Journal. It was prefaced by a note, signed " A Serf," and de­claring that the writer was compelled to weave fourteen hours out of the four and twenty. After some time, and while he was engaged in packing the few clothes of himself and children in order to seek shelter at the Aberdeen House of Refuge, he received a letter, with encouraging words, from the editor, and inclosing half a guinea. The poem was widely copied into the Scottish newspapers, and attracted very favorable attention. Among its admirers was a Mr. Gordon of Knockespock, an Aberdeenshire laird, who made inquiries about the author and interested himself in his welfare. It is difficult to understand the sudden and extraor­dinary popularity of this poem, which is by no means of commanding merit, but the story of
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