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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.

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