Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Songs of Reminiscence.
, The author of "The Long Ago" was a dramatist, novelist, and poet, but was preeminently successful as a writer and composer of sweet and singable songs. His verse is tuneful and tender, his airs musical and delicate, and both are pervaded by a spirit of purity.
Thomas Haynes Bayly was bora at Bath, England, on the 13th of October, 1797, and was the only child of wealthy parents. At the age of seven he delighted an admiring circle of titled relations by writing rhymes, which were unusually good. As a schoolboy the young poet was a comparative failure, if judged by the debits and credits of the teacher's record; he loved only to dramatize his history lessons and rhyme the rules of his arithmetic.
At seventeen, he resisted his father's attempt to make him a lawyer, and after several years of home life, during which he produced literary work that gained popular favor to some extent, he went to Oxford to study for the church. But the theological student proved as wayward as the schoolboy, and the deeper romance of love took the place of his early rhymings. Mr. Bayly married a wealthy and gifted lady, and for six years they lived in a charming country house, when their little boy was taken from them, and they were overwhelmed by financial ruin. The poet's health was shattered by these dis­asters ; and when the exercise of his pen, which had been a pastime, became a necessity, it would not move with its accustomed freedom. They had two daughters, and the con­stant fear that he should lose entirely the power to compose the little songs of love and pathos and social life, which now furnished their support, so wrought upon him that the worst was realized. He was attacked by brain fever, from which he rallied only to sink beneath another painful disease. The beauty of his soul shone forth amid the sufferings of mind and body, and the loving spirit of one of England's sweetest song-writers rested in peace and joy when he was but forty-two years of age, April 22, 1839.
Mr. Bayly's poems were first collected in this country, and edited by Kufus W. Gris-wold (Philadelphia, 1843). The edition was incomplete, but it was a long time before his own country possessed one as good. Many of the songs were written originally for pub­lishers or composers who held the copyright. Mrs. Bayly finally published her husband's poems, with a biography, in two volumes.