FOR this book of collected verse I have chosen as title-- “The Lum Hat wantin’ the Croon.”
Why? Well, I wrote the song one fine summer night nearly forty-five years ago in an English manufacturing town, where the mere thought of a Highland burn in spate was as an ice-cold draught in a parched land. For the singing of it a tune had to be composed--if the word can be rightly used by a man who does not know a note of music--and the finished product was duly “tried out” on some of my fellow-countrymen. Later, it was published. It was sung in Ladysmith during the siege, and amongst Scots troops in the Great War; I have heard of it in convivial journalistic “howffs” in Fleet Street; in our own Highlands, and on the Indian frontier; in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S.A., and the South Sea Islands. From all these places, and many more, I have had letters to tell me the writers had either sung it or heard it sung. It can be got on gramophone records; it is included in The British Students’ Song Book; and it turns up on B.B.C. programmes. So perhaps, after all this public service, it is worthy of promotion to a book title.
As a previous volume, “The Auld Doctor,” has now for some time been out of print and is still asked for, it has been given a section to itself.
Some of the new poems have appeared in The Scots Magazine, The Aberdeen University Review, Alma Mater, and elsewhere, and for permission to reprint these I make due acknowledgment of the courtesy shown by the editors concerned.
And now, as I am finally leaving a gangrel’s stance on the lower slopes of Helicon, I would say to many good friends--Ave atque Vale!