PORTRAIT OF STEPHEN FOSTER
He wrote songs for a living
With a quill from an angel's wing
He kept a young nation singing
But I doubt if his own heart could sing
He wrote about needy people
A land full of "Old Black Joes"
And millions of "Weep no more ladies"
While he himself hungered and froze
'Tis sad that life gave so little
To him, who had so much to give
His words were the words of a beggar
Who begged that others might live
Yes! He wrote songs for a living
And left a pauper's estate
But if there's a Songwriter's Heaven
He lives in the House of the Great.
Sam. M. Lewis
STEPHEN FOSTER died penniless in Bellevue Hospital. John Jacob Astor died a millionaire many times over, surrounded by every comfort that money could buy. Strange as it may seem, there is a connection between these two, for John Jacob Astor at one time tried to make a living from music. In 1786 he opened the first music store in New York City, but in the back of his brain lurked that famous old saying "You can get it for a song." So shrewd, thrifty John Jacob Astor decided that if he wanted to become a man of note, it would have to be through "bank-notes." He devoted his time to furs and real estate, and his fame and fortune grew with the years.
Stephen Foster's real estate was in his songs. The divine spark was in his heart, but unfortunately poets and pocket-books seldom travel together. Still, when Stephen died he too left millions--millions of mothers to hum his melodies at hush-a-bye time, millions of children to long for the "Old Folks At Home"--millions of sweethearts to sing to their "Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair."
In this book you will run across many familiar titles. Spare a little thought for the writer who gave his all to the world; perhaps in some candle-lit attic in the wee small hours of the morning, hungry for food, but not hungry for the ideas that flowed freely from his heart and his