John Davidson was a Scottish poet, playwright and novelist, best known for his ballads. He also did translations from French and German. In 1909, financial difficulties, as well as physical and mental health problems, led to his suicide.
Life and Works
He was born at Barrhead, East Renfrewshire as the son of Alexander Davidson, an Evangelical Union minister and Helen née Crockett of Elgin. His family removed to Greenock in 1862 where he was educated at Highlanders' Academy there and entered the chemical laboratory of Walker's Sugarhouse refinery in his 13th year, returning after one year to school as a pupil teacher. In Public Analysts' Office, ... more »
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John Davidson Poems
A Ballad of Hell
'A letter from my love to-day! Oh, unexpected, dear appeal!' She struck a happy tear away, And broke the crimson seal.
Thirty Bob a Week
I couldn't touch a stop and turn a screw, And set the blooming world a-work for me, Like such as cut their teeth -- I hope, like you -- On the handle of a skeleton gold key;
In Romney Marsh
As I went down to Dymchurch Wall, I heard the South sing o'er the land I saw the yellow sunlight fall On knolls where Norman churches stand.
'Who affirms that crystals are alive?' I affirm it, let who will deny: Crystals are engendered, wax and thrive, Wane and wither; I have seen them die.
In anguish we uplift A new unhallowed song: The race is to the swift; The battle to the strong.
There is a dish to hold the sea, A brazier to contain the sun, A compass for the galaxy, A voice to wake the dead and done!
The Last Rose
'O WHICH is the last rose?' A blossom of no name. At midnight the snow came; At daybreak a vast rose,
The war of words is done; The red-lipped cannon speak; The battle has begun.
Song of a Train
A monster taught To come to hand Amain, As swift as thought
A Runnable Stag
When the pods went pop on the broom, green broom, And apples began to be golden-skinn'd, We harbour'd a stag in the Priory coomb, And we feather'd his trail up-wind, up-wind,
THE boat is chafing at our long delay, And we must leave too soon The spicy sea-pinks and the inborne spray, The tawny sands, the moon.
I hang about the streets all day, At night I hang about; I sleep a little when I may, But rise betimes the morning's scout;
Athwart the sky a lowly sigh From west to east the sweet wind carried; The sun stood still on Primrose Hill; His light in all the city tarried:
A Cinque Port
Below the down the stranded town What may betide forlornly waits, With memories of smoky skies, When Gallic navies crossed the straits;
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
A Ballad of Hell
'A letter from my love to-day!
Oh, unexpected, dear appeal!'
She struck a happy tear away,
And broke the crimson seal.
'My love, there is no help on earth,
No help in heaven; the dead-man's bell
Must toll our wedding; our first hearth
Must be the well-paved floor of hell.'
The colour died from out her face,
Her eyes like ghostly candles shone;
She cast dread looks about the place,
Then clenched her teeth and read right on.
'I may not pass the prison door;
Here must I rot from day to day,
Unless I wed whom I abhor,
My cousin, Blanche of ...