Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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WILLIAM THOM, THE WEAVER POET. 181
years of this, what he called his "Hospital" was closed by a sheriff's sale of his furniture, and he returned to Scotland by the aid of a subscription from his friends and a grant from the Literary Fund. He settled at Hawkhill, near Dundee, but his health was broken, and his habits of industry destroyed, and he lived recklessly and wretchedly, until death relieved him soon after, in February, 1848. With one fitful gleam of prosperity William Thorn's life of half a century had been passed in such want and abject misery as falls to the lot of few mortals, and amid a squalor and degradation of surroundings to which the country poverty of Burns and Hogg, in healthy air and in touch with the sweetness and majesty of nature, was rich and fortunate. One is as surprised and almost shocked to find the flowers of genuine poetry blooming in such a life, as to see a pot of violets growing amid the whirling dust and rattling noise of a weaving factory or in the window of a dingy whiskey shop. That his life was not worse than it was under the influences which affected it, is no less wonderful. " To us," he says, " virtues were known only by their shadows," and that sentence tells all the hope­less misery of an existence in which squalor and unremitting toil were relieved only by the fitful gleams of stupefying indulgence, and in which an ever-pressing want meant the deprivation not only
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III