Excerpt from Castle Gates: A Book Poems; Through Which the Knowing Ones Are Admitted Into Some of My Castles in Spain
In order that the reader may better under stand the conditions out of which this volume has grown, it may be worth while to add here a few words in regard to ... my life-history. I was born on a poor mountain farm near Moravian Falls, N. 29 years ago. Worked on the farm until I was 21 years old. Sometimes I got to at tend the district free school a few weeks during the winter. Studied grammar a little, but couldnot make head nor tail of it. Had only a very moderate liking for history and geography, and couldn't endure arithmetic at all. Liked my old Fourth Reader very well, because it had some poetry in it. Spent most of my time during school hours writing poetry on my slate. W'as set down as a hopeless case, whom there was no use trying to educate. Quit school entirely at 16, having never been in school more than 12 months, from first to last. Never saw the inside of a high school or college. Stayed between the plow-handles for several years longer. Read all the poetry I could get hold of, and gradually developed a taste for other kinds of reading. Wrote a poem every little while for some pa per or magazine. The editors were kind, and printed my stuff. Drifted into a local newspaper office. Learned to set type. Edited the paper. Acted as Washington correspondent. Contrib uted poems to various periodicals. Operated a linotype machine in office of city daily. Got married. Set up a print-shop of my own to print my books. That brings us down to the present, and that's as far as I can go with my history just now. Maybe the world will want to know more about me some time, and maybe it won't. We'll wait and see. Respectfully.
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