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THE BALLAD FIFTY YEARS AGO 143
Finally the composer decided to publish it himself at his own expense, and the song "caught on" with such rapidity that copies could hardly be printed fast enough to meet the demand.
An Irish song that was very popular about this period, and is still well known to-day, was "Dear Little Shamrock," composed by William Jackson, a violinist, specially for his wife, who was a singer of some repute. The words of the song were by Andrew Cherry.
This epoch was distinguished by the fact that the fair sex first began to take, at least to any appreciable extent, an active part in song composition about this time. Apart from Lady Dufferin, the composer of that beautiful song "Oh, Bay of Dublin," three names stand out as the pioneers of woman's right to meet man on his own ground in the matter of ballad writing —Sainton-Dolby, Claribel, and Virginia Gabriel. Hitherto there had been only a few isolated instances ; but the three ladies referred to wrote a number of songs which were immensely popular in their day.
Of these Madame Sainton-Dolby was composer and singer too. As a singer she achieved great distinction. "Miss Dolby," says Grove, "remained unrivalled as a singer of oratorio and English ballads. The admirable skill with which