Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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and the pervading genuineness of a deep feeling, even if imperfectly expressed. There was the gloaming of a " waesome light" about his spirit, which shone through his uncertain gifts of utter­ance, although its power would not have been enough to have preserved his poetry in remem­brance, except for two lyrics which reach the very highest level of Scottish song in their completeness and finish of construction, as well as in their sim­plicity and power. It may be believed from the cru­dity and imperfection of Thorn's other verses that this supreme felicity was accidental, the perfect rapture of some occasional song of a thrush break­ing out by its own inspiration after many careless warblings, rather than the deliberate effort of trained skill, and perhaps with little appreciation of their success. Every poet has his moments of supreme success when he reaches beyond his ordi­nary powers, and execution attains to the level of inspiration, but in most it is seen to be the culmi­nation of trained skill reached by long labor and painstaking effort. There is little, however, in Thorn's verse to lead to the expectation of such a flowering of perfect form and expression, and the impression is strong that they are accidental felici­ties. But, however produced, they give him an in­disputable title to a place beside the highest of the Scottish song writers, and will live by their innate
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