Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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stances; and he appears to have been, if not con­tent, at least to have submitted to be only the pop­ular genius among the workmen of his factory, and the leader in the taproom gatherings with his so­cial and musical gifts. He wrote songs in imita­tion of those which he heard, one of which, to his great delight, appeared in the poet's corner of an Aberdeen newspaper. The story which he tells is that on the morning after the poem had been dropped into the mail box, he and a companion waited around the door of the publication office, endeavoring in vain to induce some charitable pur­chaser to let them have a peep at the contents of the paper, only succeeding at last by crowding the holder of a copy into an entry way and examining the columns by force, being absolutely without the penny with which to buy one. But this success did not stimulate him with any hope of advantage by literature, and he regarded his gift of song writing, like his skill with the flute, as simply the means for his own enjoyment and the amuse­ment of his associates, his ambition shut in within his own little world of squalor and destitution. In appearance he was below the middle stature, and with a club foot, so that physical deformity weighed upon him, as well as the miserable conditions of his life, and made him more sensitive as well as hope­less. For seventeen years he bent over the looms
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