John Davidson

(11 April 1857 – 23 March 1909 / Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, Scotland)

John Davidson
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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

Scotland

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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  • Rookie Peter Mclaren (9/14/2012 4:05:00 PM)

    There is a very good short essay on Davidson in Derek Stanford's 'Poets Of The Nineties' anthology. Most of his contemporaries - Dowson, Wilde, Symonds, Plarr - sought to make musical poems; Davidson is all awkward intellectualism expressed in a take-it -or-leave-it language all his own. He is the most convincingly sincere of his contemporaries: reading him now one catches a vivid impresion of an odd (and remarkable) man who died over 100 years ago. And of what he saw in London, rather than what kind of poem he could make of London

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Best Poem of John Davidson

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;
I cut mine on a leek, which I eat it every week:
I'm a clerk at thirty bob as you can see.

But I don't allow it's luck and all a toss;
There's no such thing as being starred and crossed;
It's just the power of some to be a boss,
And the bally power of others to be bossed:
I face the music, sir; you bet I ain't a cur;
Strike me lucky if I don't believe I'm lost!

For like a mole I ...

Read the full of Thirty Bob A Week

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