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290 A CENTURY OF BALLADS
the latter being, perhaps, one of the most popular songs of the kind Ronald ever wrote.
At the risk of being considered egotistical, I should like to mention here that I wrote this cycle specially for Ronald, as was also the case with A Cycle of Life, one number of which, 1 'Down in the Forest," is a great favourite of Melba's. Apropos of lyric-writing, I mentioned in an earlier chapter a story of Clifton Bingham's with regard to "The Promise of Life," in which it transpired that a singer who had sung the song an endless number of times had never noticed whom the words were by. This recalls an experience of my own with regard to the Four Songs of the Hill. Dining at the house of a friend one night, I was introduced to a lady who discovered in the course of conversation that I wrote lyrics. " It's strange that I don't seem to know your name," she murmured apologetically; "I am so very fond of music, and I sing all the latest songs. I'll sing you one of my greatest favourites after dinner." She did — it was "A Little Winding Road " !
Outside his cycles Ronald has written a number of successful songs, among which are, to mention only a few, "Wise Folly," "Dolly O'Dean," "The Dove," "One long thought of you," "Sunbeams," "Your Waking Eyes," and "Believe me, if all those endearingyoung charms."