The song that shall survive its first season of popularity must appeal in a direct and simple way to some sentiment common to all humanity. Let it set to throbbing some one of the fundamental emotions of men-- patriotic fervor, filial devotion, or love of home--and it sinks into the affections, is cherished by its hearers, and is handed on from generation to generation as a precious inheritance. Of all the songs in the English language that possess these qualities probably the most popular is that classical expression of the love of home, the words of which were written by John Howard Payne, and the melody for which he may have suggested to Sir Henry Rowley Bishop.
First sung in London, in 1823, it instantly became popular, not merely attaining the fleeting vogue of the songs that catch the fancy for a day, but also taking a permanent place in the hearts of all its hearers. The little opera in which it was sung was demanded
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Publication information: Book title: The Early Life of John Howard Payne:With Contemporary Letters Heretofore Unpublished. Contributors: Not available. Publisher: Unknown. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1913. Page number: 207.
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