Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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der circumstances no less extraordinary than his own, but the world has taken no note of them, and is not called upon to do so. The question in regard to William Thorn, as to all other poets, is as to what contribution, small or great, he made to the stock of genuine poetry in form, expression, and essence, fitting it to stand alone and to speak with a living voice to the emotions of the world, aside from any pathos or interest connected with its pro­duction. Poetry of this kind in the work of Wil­liam Thorn is very small in quantity. He published but a single volume, in which the verse comprises scarcely more than a hundred pages, and much the greater portion of this is artificial in conception and imperfect in form and expression. Like many uneducated authors, he endeavored to imitate the writers of polite literature, who seemed to him models of taste and fancy, although he had the native good judgment and national feeling to con­fine himself to the Scottish dialect, and the greater proportion of his verses have this weakness of imi­tation, or were called forth by special occasions and for a local audience. The poems entitled The Blind Boy's Pranks, which first attracted attention, are fanciful descriptions of the doings of Cupid, who is not more at home on the cold streams and heathery hills of the north of Scotland than on the head of an Italian image seller in the smoke and
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