John Davidson Poems

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John Davidson
John Davidson (April 11, 1857 March 23, 1909), Scottish poet and playwright, best known for his ballads. He was born at Barrhead, East Renfrewshire as the son of a Dissenting minister and entered the chemical department of a sugar refinery in Greenock in his 13th year, returning after one year to school as a pupil teacher. He studied at the University of Edinburgh. He was afterwards engaged in teaching at various places, and having taken to literature went in 1889 to London. He achieved a reputation as a writer of poems and plays of marked individuality and vivid realism. His poems include In a Music Hall (1891), Fleet Street Eclogues (1893), Baptist Lake (1894), New Ballads (1896), The Last Ballad (1898), The Triumph of Mammon (1907), and among his plays are Bruce (1886), Smith: a Tragic Farce (1888), Godfrida (1898). He also wrote novels. From 1901 he wrote pessimistic blank verse Testaments. He was given a Civil List pension in 1906. Davidson disappeared on March 27, 1909, under circumstances which left little doubt that under the influence of mental depression he had drowned himself at Penzance. Among his papers was found the manuscript of a new work, Fleet Street Poems, with a letter containing the words, "This will be my last book." His body was discovered a few months later.

there is a pleasure in the pathless woods
 
 
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There i... [read poem]
battle
 
 
The war of words is done;
The red-lipped cannon speak;
The battle has begun.
... [read poem]
thirty bob a week
 
 
I couldn't touch a stop and turn a screw,
And set the blooming world a-work for me,
Like... [read poem]
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