Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HAYS, Will Shakespeare, balladist, born in Louisville, Kentucky, 19 July, 1837. He was educated at Hanover college, Indiana, and Georgetown, Kentucky he early gave evidence of the exuberance of fancy and the genius for melody that have made him one of the most successful ballad-authors in the United States. From his boyhood, without the aid of a master, he has been able to perform on any musical instrument. While yet at school in 1856 he wrote his first published ballad, '" Little Ones at Home," and from that time his compostitions have appeared constantly. " Evabgeline" was the first ballad that he set to music, and is probably as popular as any that he ever produced, the sales having reached about half a million. He was at one time amanuensis for George D. Prentice, when the latter was editor of the Louisville " Journal," and has done editorial service for that paper and the Louisville "Democrat" and "Courier-Journal" until a late date. It is estimated that the sales of his songs in this country and England have reached over six million copies. They are characterized by the pathos and sentiment of natural simplicity. His ballads include " Mollie Darling," " Nora O'Neal," " Driven from Home," " Write Me a Letter," "Little Old Cabin in the Lane," "Susan Jane," " We Parted by the Riverside, " My Southern Sunny Home," "Nobody's Darling," "You've Been a Friend to Me," "Shamus O'Brien," "The Wandering Refugee," "Do not turn Me from Your Door," "Good-by, Old Home," "Moon is out To-night, Love," and "Save One Bright Crown for Me."
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