A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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"One night, the end was not very far off then, while his brother had for a time fallen into a peaceful sleep, and Sullivan was sitting as usual by the bedside, he chanced to come across some verses of Adelaide Procter's with which he had five years previously been much struck. He had then tried to set them to music, but without satisfaction to himself. Now in the stillness of the night he read them over again, and almost as he did so he conceived their musical equiva­lent. A sheet of music-paper was at hand, and he began to write. Slowly the music grew and took shape until, being absorbed in it, he determined to finish the song. Even if in the cold light of day it were to prove worthless, it would at least have helped to while away the hours of watching. So he worked on at it. As he progressed he felt sure that this was what he had sought for and had failed to find on the occasion of his first attempt to set the words. In a short time it was complete, and not long after in the publisher's hands."
In the meanwhile, however, Sullivan was to find the singer to interpret it. Curiously enough, just about the same time Antoinette Sterling conceived the idea of getting the words set for her to sing. Her husband had taken a very great fancy to the verses, and pointed out the possibilities they contained for making an
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