Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • His Woeful Fate

    From The Birmingham Age-Herald, January 29, 1913.
     The horns were blaring, loud and long,
     The drum went “Oom-ta-ta!”
     I saw a melancholy man
     Stand in the orchestra.
     He bowed him o’er his big bass viol
     And sadly sawed away,
     Although a show was on the boards
     ’Twas thought extremely gay.
     The chorus kicked so high, so high,
     The funny men came out,
     The audience roared its applause
     With laughter-laden shout;
     Contagious mirth filled all the air,
     Increasing all the while,
     But he who played the big bass viol
     Was never seen to smile.
     He ne’er looked upward to the stage,
     Where festive maidens danced,
     Though at his cold impassive face
     The leading lady glanced.
     Oblivious to all around
     And heedless of the crowd,
     His eyes scarce wandered from his notes,
     His head was ever bowed.
     Oh, what could be the tragedy
     Which held this man in thrall,
     Who seemed so passionless and calm
     And yet so sad withal?
     Had some great sorrow ruined his life,
     Or scandal’s tainted breath?
     Ah, no, we rather think that he
     Was simply bored to death.
     How oft he’s toiled through scenes like these
     Let no one try to say;
     His soul on such fare surfeited,
     He longs to slip away.
     And doubtless never again be forced
     To earn his daily bread
     Where banal jokes and “ragtime” songs
     Roll o’er his hapless head.