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Tune Req: The Face on the Bar-room Floor

15 Sep 99 - 01:46 PM (#114460)
Subject: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

I just came across an old book, "The Pious Friends and Drunken Companions" which has a very long text to "The Face on the Bar-room Floor". I have not heard it sung since I was young, but it seems to scan pretty well to "St. James Infrimary" I would appreciate any ideas as to what the right melody for it might be.

15 Sep 99 - 06:24 PM (#114522)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Gene

Check previous MUDCAT FORUM - * CLICK HERE *

15 Sep 99 - 06:31 PM (#114529)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

I found a tune, Ted - I should be able to post a transcription later today - after I finish this #$^%^& report I'm typing for my Uncle Sugar.
-Joe Offer-

15 Sep 99 - 09:32 PM (#114562)
Subject: ADD: The Face Upon the Barroom Floor
From: Joe Offer

(words: J.P. Skelly music: Alfred Williams)

The summer eve was balmy, and a goodly crowd was there
Which well-nigh filled the barroom on the corner of the square;
And as the songs and stories came upon the twilight air,
A vagabond crept slowly in and posed with wistful air.
"A drink!" he cried, "That's what I want. I'm but an artist poor.
Once I was rated clever, and my fortune seemed secure.
But never mind the happy past, the days I'll see no more
Just let me draw a face I knew upon this barroom floor

The face upon the barroom floor, She whom I did adore
On her fell no blame till a false friend came
And entered our cottage door.
Look down at sweet Madeline, forever my heart's bright queen
That face from my heart nevermore shall depart
The face upon the barroom floor.

"Fill up again, mine most," he said, "Put life into my frame.
I'll tell you how it came about, my ruin and my shame.
The picture of a bosom friend with skill I painted well,
She gazing on the dreamy eyes, asked me his name to tell.
I brought him to our cottage and he lured her from my side,
And with his prey he safely sped across the ocean wide.
You ask me why I drink and why I'm ragged, rough and poor?
Just look upon that woman's face upon the barroom floor."


"Good friend, another drink I pray, one more before we part.
I'll draw another picture of the face that's in my heart.
Perhaps it seems unlikely that the vagabond you see
Could ever love a woman or expect her to love me."
He drained the glass, and, chalk in hand, began again to trace
The shapely lines of beauty of that unforgotten face.
Then turning 'round with wild eyes they would wish to see no more,
With dying shriek he fell across the face upon the floor!

source: Song Dex Treasury of Humorous and Nostalgic Songs, 1956

Click to play

ABC format:


and I finished that awful report, too....

16 Sep 99 - 12:39 AM (#114612)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

Joe, you are a wonder! Do you cook as well?

Thanks for the music, and the other lyrics--they aren't the same as the long and tortured D'Arcy text, which is the song that I seek a melody for--I think that your text is probably the original song--and older than D'Arcy--whose rendition seems like a parody, with it's conspicuous breaks from literary English to slang--

"The Pious Friends and Drunken Companions" was printed in 1928, and the D'Arcy rendition was old then, but by the language in yours is like "She's More to be Pitied than Censured" and therefore, older still--

ASCAP lists neither your lyricist, nor your composer, which means that the song is British or real old or both--

16 Sep 99 - 12:51 AM (#114617)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

Hmmm. My guess it that the D'Arcy poem is the original source. We did quite a bit of research on it in this thread (click) a while back. I'd agree, though - the poem gets a little foggy, and it's much easier to follow the story in the song. I'll see what I can dig up about the songwriters.
-Joe offer-

16 Sep 99 - 01:12 AM (#114622)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

Well, I didn't find much on Alfred Williams, Ted, but a search of The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music (click) shows that J.P. Skelly was quite a prolific songwriter and lyricist in the 1880's, including that ever-popular song, A BOY'S BEST FRIEND IS HIS MOTHER. Still, I don't buy your theory that Skelly's song came before D'Arcy's poem. The hunt continues...
-Joe Offer-

16 Sep 99 - 01:54 AM (#114624)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

And "The Picture with It's Face Turned Toward's the Wall" and "Why Did they Dig Mother's Grave So Deep?" 1887 would have been the right date for a Skelly composition--consider this--the thematic concept of the song is consistant with Skelly's other stuff--the date is a Skelly appropriate date--I say that 1887 was mis-attributed to D'Arcy by later writers--the Skelly came from then, the D'Arcy was a later parody--

But now, what else do we know of D'Arcy? Inquiring minds want to know!

16 Sep 99 - 02:17 AM (#114628)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

D'Arcy lived from 1843-1925--Service is associated with "The Face.." because he did public readings of it, around 1904 in Alaska, and after a while decided he could write more of the same.....curiouser and curiouser..

16 Sep 99 - 02:45 AM (#114630)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

Yeah, Ted, the timing is really tight, either one, the poem or the song, could have been first. I wish we could find the originals of the song and the poem, but I don't think the Library of Congress has everything indexed. This will be an interesting puzzle to sort out. I think it's time to call in our nostalgic song big guns, Dale and Gene. I'll send 'em messages.
Or maybe there's a Washingtonian who'd like to check the Library of Congress????
-Joe Offer-

16 Sep 99 - 05:23 AM (#114639)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Canberra Chris

As it happens, I heard this song for the first time on Sunday night, at Black Billy's, a singing session in Canberra, Oz. I wouldn't recall what version or tune, but next time I see the bloke what sung it, I'll ask. Thanks for your versions and discussion above. In Aussie bars, the face upon the bar-room floor is usually incapable of getting back up!


16 Sep 99 - 11:40 AM (#114696)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

Sorry Joe, it is so easy to sit here and send things all over Hell and gone via the internet that I forget that the Library of Congress is down at the other end of our Metro Line-- Of course, we have the hurricane coming today, so isn't a great day for the library, and I've got to go to NYC and Philly next week--but I'll make a couple calls today and see if I can get over there, soon--

Canberra Chris--Around our parts, one shot can put your face on the barroom floor--and you won't get up either!

16 Sep 99 - 11:53 AM (#114701)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: lamarca

Alas, that Joe Hickerson has retired! He now only spends PART of his time at the LC's Folk Archive. I'll give him a call and see if he can dig something up...

17 Sep 99 - 02:23 AM (#114856)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

Well, now look at this page from the University of Florida Library that Dale Rose linked me to: click here. Here's what it says:

Box 55:

Titus, John Henry, The Face on the Bar Room Floor, [original] Ts., 1 p., dated 1872 & signed. Revision attributed to Hugh Antoine d' Arcy in 1887; photocopy of printing in Parlour Poetry: A Casquet of Gems ; pp. 231-3; w/ short bio.

Kinda puts a new light on things, doesn't it? Now is there anybody near Gainesville who wants to go take a look and transcribe the original for us?
Actually, Dover has the Turner book in print. Anybody got a copy? Looks like I've got another book to order.
-Joe Offer-

17 Sep 99 - 12:26 PM (#114955)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M. Ted (inactive)

Excellent! I have put in a request at the Library of Congress for a search for info on D'Arcy and a copyright date on Skelly--

The literary sleuth in me makes me think that this is one of those "Quest for the Grail" type things, where there are a number of items by different authors from the same time period that seem to contain the same source material--which allude to an even older source--

Also, ASCAP credits the song to one Andrew Jenkins, published by Shapiro and Bernstein--no date listed, but I will call them--

17 Sep 99 - 03:41 PM (#115038)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Jigger

There's also a short opera by the same name, if I recall correctly. I designed the costumes for a production a few years ago in college, but can't remember for the life of me who composed the damn thing. I know the opera is more recent, but the story hasn't changed much.


18 Sep 99 - 09:35 PM (#115417)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

From Victorian Parlour Poetry (Michael R. Turner, 1967 & 1969 - reprinted by Dover in 1992):
This tragic and graphic recitation is also known at The Face on the Barroom Floor. Its authorship has been disputed for many years. The Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature records that the first appearance in print was in 1872, in the Ashtabula, Ohio Sentinel published by John Henry Titus (1853?-1947). This, however, appears to have been a poor version compared to that printed 15 years later in the New York Dispatch (the version usually found in print). Appended to the Dispatch text was the name of the actor, Hugh Antoine D'Arcy. The barroom setting has been identified - by tradition - with "Joe's" on Union Square, New York, now vanished. As late as 1934, Titus was taking legal action to support his claim to the title.
The piece has an astonishing durability. As recently as November, 1968, Ron Moody recited it with great feeling at the Royal Command Variety Performance in London, before and appreciative audience which included Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales.
This affecting tale is not unique in popular verse. It belongs to the family of verses about artists or musicians who appear mysteriously to draw a picture or play upon some musical instrument with passion and brilliance. They then either walk away without a word, or expire on the spot with a broken heart. The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert Service has elements of this genre; another example is Henry Lamb's song, The Volunteer Organist.
A man then staggered down the aisle
Whose clothes were old and torn,
How strange a drunkard seem'd to me
In church on Sunday morn
But when he touch'd the organ keys
Without a single word
The melody that followed was
The sweetest ever heard.
If I understand correctly, the original edition of the Turner book may have a photocopy of the version of the poem that Titus claimed as his own (or does the entry from the University of Florida mean that the University has the original, plus a photocopy of the D'Arcy version from the Turner book?). the Titus text is not in the Dover paperback edition. The search continues….
-Joe Offer-

18 Sep 99 - 09:59 PM (#115426)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Dale Rose

Titus, John Henry, The Face on the Bar Room Floor, [original] Ts., 1 p., dated 1872 & signed.

I take that to mean that they have the original poem as written by Titus. The dates you give for Titus (1853?-1947) resolves the minor conflict in my mind about his appearances in the 30s. I had thought it was a bit of a stretch that someone who wrote something in 1872 would still be active some 64 years later ~~ actually he lived an additional 75 years, and of course, this also means he was just 19 when he wrote it.

24 Aug 00 - 01:08 PM (#284153)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: GUEST,

I am trying to find the lyrics or words to The Face on the Bar Room Floor. My Mom is 83 and in a nursing home, she remembers her Mother reciting or singing this to her a child. Where can I find information?

24 Aug 00 - 02:05 PM (#284194)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: GUEST,late 'n short


Here's one source of the full poem:


24 Aug 00 - 11:36 PM (#284694)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: rabbitrunning

There's an actual "face on the barroom floor" in one of the old hotels in Georgetown, Colorado. I saw it when I was a kid.

25 Aug 00 - 12:00 AM (#284715)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: rabbitrunning

Whoops. A quick look at the Internet reminds me that the painting is in Central City, in the Teller House. But that's close to Georgetown anyway!

25 Aug 00 - 12:29 AM (#284741)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: CamiSu

A few years ago I did the sets for a production of "Face", and I sent my husband into the Teller house to get photos for me. The artwork on the walls of that place is something else! Greek figures with odd deformities, i.e. one woman's breast is in her hand where an apple ought to ba instead of on her breast. The company had hired a scenic painter who thought he was God himself, and couldn't paint a nude any better than the average high schooler. 'Twas then I decided to do my own painting. Finally covered the last of those flats with something else about 2 years ago.

It's a neat little opera, by Henry Mollicone, with a wicked set of light cues, as my son found out when we took it on the road, and the theatre had a very sick light board that kept forgetting cues. I think there were 83 of them in the 45 min opera with over 20 in the last 4 minutes...

25 Aug 00 - 10:16 AM (#285017)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M.Ted

Follow the links above to the other discussion thread for the full text of the D"Arcy version of this song--

15 Nov 02 - 01:35 AM (#826598)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

I added the tune to Mudcat MIDIs - Click to play. This is for the abbreviated Skelly/Williams song. I don't know of a sung version of the well-known D'Arcy version of the poem.

Oh, and I came across this photo (click) of the Face, at the Teller House in Central City, Colorado. I saw the Central City Face when I was working in Denver in 1999. Can't say I was impressed. As I recall, the Central City Face is dated 1932.

I'm still looking for the early version of the poem - anybody have any luck? I'm still looking for a volunteer to go to Gainesville and look for the Titus version.

-Joe Offer-

15 Nov 02 - 02:01 AM (#826606)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: open mike

i remembered the Central City face from
travelling in the rockies as a small kid.
I am glad that others here have seen her, too.
I think the memory was etched in by a traumatic
event that happened there. i lost a little flask
of gold which i had panned--left it in the bathroom-
did any of you find it?? it would have been 1964-66
(I think)--it was in the girl's bathroom...

18 May 05 - 10:43 PM (#1487744)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'

i nust have this SONG!!!!!!!! email me a way to get it thanx

18 May 05 - 11:17 PM (#1487771)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Sorcha

Can you say Please?

18 May 05 - 11:47 PM (#1487785)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: open mike

just read the threads and follow the links...

29 Nov 05 - 03:56 AM (#1616134)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: GUEST,Lisa

Who is the artist that the poem talks about? where is this barroom?

29 Nov 05 - 04:57 PM (#1616667)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M.Ted

Check the link at the top of the thread, which is to the original discussion--at the end of it, someone has posted a long biography of the author, John Henry Titus--the artist is named, as is his wife

Here is an except--

    "The Face on The Bar Room Floor" contains a message of moral, clothed in beautiful romance of fact and legend, covering a period of more than 600 years. Artist Bob and Madgelene, his sweetheart and ideal soul, were in reality identified with the legend, which had its origin in an Alpine royal family mystery. The "Ole Pine Tavern" at Jefferson, Ohio was a Famous way-side inn, in the early stage days: "Astir the pine in somber lay.".... the pine was a favorite stopping place for the travelers.

Which we take to mean that the story itself is an old Alpine legend, associated with some royal family, that the tavern that the poem is set in is a real place, and that the characters, the artist Bob, and his wife, Magdalene, were real--There are a couple of Bob's paintings mentioned in the article (though not his last name), none of which are "The Hunt of Fame", which may not be the title of a famous painting (at least I couldn't find it, if it was), but is a line from John Dryden's play about Cleopatra, "All for Love"

29 Nov 05 - 08:45 PM (#1616815)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Publishing History, "The Face Upon the Floor," 1887, Henry Antoine D'arcy (1843-1925).
Perhaps this will counteract some of the nonsense in this thread.

1. H. A. D'arcy, "The Face Upon the Floor." 1887. Four page pamphlet. Listed in NUC (National Union Catalog), NUC D 0043083, 4:DLC CU-8 InU N. This Catalogue is not available on line.
2. H. A. D'arcy, "The Face Upon the Floor," 1890, Seer Press, NY, 4pp. Copy in Library of Congress, Rare Books, Special Collections Reading Room. LC Control Number 50045293. Listed in Library of Congress Online Catalog. A reprint of the 1st. edition.

3. Sullivan, Francis (Ed.), 1889, "No, 25, Standard Recitations by Best Authors." Includes "The Face Upon the Floor," by D'arcy. The second appearance of the poem.

4. "The Face on the Barroom Floor (sic)," a plagiarism, Bowery Song Sheet.
This is the source of the commonly used title.

4. H. A. D'arcy, "The Face Upon the Floor and Other Ballads," 1912, 104pp., William G. Hewitt, NY. First collected edition of D'arcy's poems.
5. H. A. D'arcy, The Face Upon the Floor and other Poems," 1918, Green Room Club, ed. 110pp. D'arcy signed many copies. Contains the legend, "Magdelen."

Reprinted in many volumes since.

The painting on the floor of the Teller House, Central City, CO., is by Herndon Davis, of his wife. It started out as a joke, but the proprietors saw dollar signs and tied it to D'arcy's poem. Davis became an artist for the Smithsonian Institution, and was working there when he died in 1962.

29 Nov 05 - 08:52 PM (#1616822)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

The title of the Green Room Collection should be "The Face Upon the Floor and Other Ballads."
Both of the collections of D'arcy's poems are readily available.

The Titus claim to the ballad was never upheld.

29 Aug 06 - 07:15 AM (#1821506)
Subject: RE: BS: Edgar A. Guest
From: catspaw49

Hey Ted.......I remember those threads well as I didn't particpate but did read them with interest at the time. There were lots of good research about D'Arcy, Service, and others as to who was the actual author but then a Guest showed up with the Titus info below. I'll coppy it here just in case someone is about to debate this again....(;<))


                                                                         Why And How He Wrote

                                                                  "The Face on The Bar Room Floor"

                                                                         By Elizabeth Pfleiderer

    Little has been published of his life and works. To quote his words "My writing are my life." Know the man, then no one will mistake his work for that of another ! The key to the understanding of his writings can be found in the manner he worked. "The Face on The Bar Room Floor" is an American scene and the fifth canto of "An Ideal Soul" in seven cantos. John Henry Titus, the author SPENT sixty years perfecting this poem. Its dawning followed the followed the civil war, in the late '60s, when inspiration and eloquence came fourth. TEMPERANCE was championed by eloquent speakers, and ABOLITION intensified by great writers, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe. Burning zeal glowed in fine expression borne on the spirit of the time...temperance, the fervor fever, was apparent in all things, no less in this poem. The young poet, Titus recognized the denizens of temperance, in the guise of righteousness: he saw and felt the hypocrisy of temperance.
    Jefferson, Ohio, his birthplace was a small town but its atmosphere was far from local. It was the home of many men, eminent, in state and national affairs; as Benjamin F. Wade, Vice President following Lincoln's administration; Congressman Giddings; A. B. Lampson, reader, House of Representatives, in Washington, for seventeen years; and the famous William D. Howells, with whom the poet's father, William K. Titus was associated for forty-five years in varied capacities--- furbishing of writings and publication of the "Sentinel" a Jefferson paper, owned by the Howells, in which the first printing of "the Face On The Bar Room Floor" appeared.
    William K. Titus, father of the poet, born at Greenwich, Conn. was a fine literary critic and his criticism of the poem was ever heeded by the son. " A poet should have written for fifty years and know that he is a poet before giving his writings to the world" said his father. This criticism has been as a restraining hand to the poet, until now, sixty years after it was begun... parodies written and translated into many languages.
    John Henry Titus, the poet was born in the "Old Pine Tavern" that his poem is immortalized. The environment of his boyhood home was ideal for a gifted youth. "That the meal hour was the best hour of the day" was an oft repeated saying of the mother: at the family table and home fireside he became familiar with the best literature; listening to discussions and conversations led by the father.
    The early associations of the father, in the east, were those high in letters and affairs and they were vividly imprinted on the sons mind. they included experiences he had with Washington Irving and Edger Allen Poe, the famous American authors, with whom he had taken holiday excursions, on the Hudson, in and about Sleepy Hollow. The first hand knowledge gleaned from early friendships passed on to the son---methods of creating and writing used by those famous writers. It was an intimate introduction to the writings of Titus and helped to stamp them, with the mark of high quality, and lofty ideals. The poem "The Awkward Boy" written by Titus at the age of twelve was published in the McGuffey Readers. The father told him interesting tales and legends, known in the east: of which he had enjoyed with Poe and Irving. These nuggets impressed the mind of the youth, as a chapter or a poem... the genius of his perception could see the golden train of thought. The original " Black Dove Legend" known to Poe, that influenced the writing of "The Raven" also influenced Titus in the writing of " The Face on The Bar Room floor."
    While as a youth he became an apprentice to the tannery trade in Jefferson. Here his first strong work began to eke out... in patches and bunches, written on bits of bark and leather. During his day's work messengers ( of thought ) hovered impressing inspirationally his mind with conditions of life that were conducive to moods, during the inception of his poem... moods that showed the soulful side of the youthful poet, that will never die! The web structure of his entire life and work were woven at this time:
                                                                   And in the sunset of life the poet tells
                                                                   For future youth the thought:
                                                                   Of worth in the tan unto making of fame,
                                                                   And where... father was taught.
    The vivid picture as drawn, in later years, by Titus, as he tells of the unfoldment of the poem, is evidence of his undeniable genius. In a state of unrest and frenzy, he worked, ever and anon! unmindful of return. To quote his own words, "I didn't and could not sleep, it stuck to me so.
    Walt Whitman was credited with having worked in the fields and forests, when he thrashed out his poem."Leaves of Grass"-- the dream of a great man which was also those of the people of the earth. Just so, Titus worked in the tannery with the hides, shaping "The face on The Bar Room Floor"... dreamed for the people a message on temperance reform. His power of moral discernment shines when compared to the immoral hypocrisy around him.
    The "clan" or political bunch, who labeled all outside of their inner circle; the beautiful truth that beamed in the lives of creatures, as Bob the artist, and Madgelene his sweetheart, seemed as romance, and nuggets he recognized at the inn ( The Tavern ).
    Legends handed down by the father (as that of Poe) had rooted deep into his nature. He, the boy poet, developed them in the tannery, as a photographer does his negatives, in a dark room. The entire poem was oralized, as he worked alone--- his spare time and working hours spent in happy musings. There are persons still living who recall the inspired tanner poet, oralizing and jotting down the nucleus of " The Face on The Bar Room floor" on bits of bark and leather. The townspeople recognized his genius, and often referred to the bits of writing on the leather, as "His Writings."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Under vernal-elms old,
                                                                   the village tanner tans;
                                                                   As boys run at play anon
                                                                   or mark in picture-plans.
                                                                   So in life-idea as aye,
                                                                   ye village-tanner scans,
                                                                   As boys hie at play anon,
                                                                   or mark in picture-plans.

    Boys of favored circumstances, at play, often listened at the open windows, of the tannery, to his expressions and shaping of thought, into expressions; but were careful not to disturb his muses and moods... quietly unnoticed they would slip away remarking, sadly; "To bad John cannot have a chance." The truth was, that he was having his chance and making the most of it. "To organize a sentiment is a great task," he has said.
    His heights and flights, of expressions were strengthened by sensitiveness, to local conditions... a local option town, in the early '70s, a liquor traffic, and its hypocrisy, as practiced by the "godly lot" of the town, who had demijohns. He also remembered, finding empty whisky bottles hidden away, in the court house wood-pile--- as a youth he had often replenished the wood box, for the judges, lawyers and officials. Then, too, his father, a temperate man had been labeled by "the godly lot" because of an occasional drink. He was neither intemperate, nor a hypocrite--- the young poet resented the injustice to a great soul, his father; his soul had suffered from these insinuations. These conditions served as a background to his moods during inception, perception and conception of the poem.
    "The Face on The Bar Room Floor" contains a message of moral, clothed in beautiful romance of fact and legend, covering a period of more than 600 years. Artist Bob and Madgelene, his sweetheart and ideal soul, were in reality identified with the legend, which had its origin in an Alpine royal family mystery. The "Ole Pine Tavern" at Jefferson, Ohio was a Famous way-side inn, in the early stage days: "Astir the pine in somber lay.".... the pine was a favorite stopping place for the travelers.
    The Tavern room where the scene occurred was frequented by judges, juryman, lawyers, men of quality and those of national prominence. Above was a room ( ball-room ) used for court sessions during a period of rebuilding the court house:      

                                                                   "that 'oversaw' Joes bar room
                                                                   as court on the square;"

    The term bar room used by Titus, does not refer to an ordinary saloon bar room, but to a tavern registry room, where guests of the tavern on arriving, by stage were received and registered. Beneath the desk was kept a supply of " whiskey, rum or gin " according to Federal Law requirements... guests could receive a certain quantity on arrival.
    It was necessary to keep the " whiskey score " : " fetch the char you mark the whiskey score "--- plagiarists and parody writers, in the versions wrote: " Bring the chalk you mark the baseball score score. " A baseball score had not yet come into existence. Those claiming authorship of the poem knew little of the place, and customs existing, at the time the poem was written.
    In like manner, the phrase, " Ten Nights in A Bar Room " was grossly misinterpreted. Titus told of Ten Knights ( Ten Nights ) meeting in upper room of the Tavern with demijohns, to settle difficult violation cases... difficult and hard cases which took ten consecutive nights, and until morning to complete. They were members of a fraternal order ( Knights of Templars ) and a part of the " godly lot ." Artist Bob, on the memorable night, of his returning to the tavern was recognized by a member of the secret order ( Knights of Templar ) hence, as given in poem:

                                                      " As barinage the mystcreant took in static
                                                       grace intact, as one of place;
                                                       and doting low as embers fall---- nods
                                                       inturn as secret call."

   The vagabond, known in earlier days in the town, as artist Bob, was known in the east before coming to Jefferson, by the poets father. artist Bob had won fame as an artist... had conceived the well known picture " The volunteer Choir. " he was present at the first funeral at " The Little Church around The corner " on twenty-ninth street, New York City, for the stage folks, when the volunteer choir supplied the music. This incident in the life of artist Bob, was told to the poet, by his father, as legend.
    That the soul of the young poet, or singer was craving for a larger life of greater expression can be recognized throughout the poem, and his susceptibility to the spirit of the age and local conditions, discerned... nothing was too local to have the ear marks of deduction, and the consciousness of the existence of an evil, that could become universal, is conspicuous throughout.
    He was gifted with a scholarly touch and an easy command of rhyme and rhythm: it must sound correctly to he ear... the euphony of tones, their shades and shapes is that of a poet of the highest rank; choice and use of words show the realm in which he dwelt: although he has said " My poems are the soliloquy of my soul--- technique gives way to divine passion."
    His art of poetry writing was applied in disputation of intemperance--- which resembles that of today. John Henry Titus was truly the discoverer of the immoral phases, existing in a liquor traffic, in the name of temperance. His fame today rests upon this poem, undoubtedly a masterpiece. The scene in The Pine Tavern, in the late '6os and the conditions of life--- a pious-role played by a "godly lot"... social conditions, good and evil, which underlined a distinctive period of our history.
    Who, that has read it, has ever forgotten it? It has truly niched itself into the world's utterances... its charm and moral purity charms the heart.
    However, one contribution does not make a poet. Titus has been wise and true, in aim of soul, and obedient to an inner voice, for sixty years. Having no set rules of diction, creed; religion, cult, isms or schisms. he has lived in the world and his poems carry the essence of great truths. The poem, " They Had no Poet and so They Died " is destined to fill a niche and need. Quoting from poem:

                                                       " In the dim waste lands of the Orient stands
                                                             The wreck of a race so old and vast
                                                          That the great legend cannot lay hands
                                                             On a single fact of its tongueless past; "

This poem is a complete resume of his world travels.

    The opportunity came to him for world travel--- opened the way to live his life into his poems. A large leather concern commissioned him to look after their varied interests, in all parts of the globe, he being versatile with all angles of the leather industry. At different times, he traveled in all parts of the globe, while thus engaged... friendships were made that influenced the production of his finest poems.
    He has embodied his friendship with Edgar Bushnell, the famous actor, in the poem, " The Three Great Lessons of Life: Love, Pain and Hate. " Bushnell played with Sir Henry Irving on his famed tour to America, in 1903, at The Manhattan theatre, New York City.
    The meeting of Bushnell and learning of his domestic disappointment gave impetus to the birth of " Love, Pain and Hate "... in reality a mask for his own domestic unhappiness.
    Bushnell had married an actress, the daughter of Dean Hurd of Oxford University, England. His married life had been stormy and the parting scene, on leaving for America, between he and his wife was deeply strained and affected him: at which he turned to her and gave his feelings from the depths of his soul. This scene he reenacted when he called on Titus in New York. " The same old Story of Life," said Titus. Bushnell asked his meaning, Love, Pain and Hate was the reply. from this social hour, Titus gleaned the situation, and later, on his return handed to Bushnell the poem. " Love, Pain and Hate." The conflict of feelings that raged within his bosom throughout this painful parting scene, and after, are touchingly depicted in the lines written, and which though not mentioned, as addressed to her by name, were evidently for the heart of his loved one.

                                                         You taught me the first great lesson of life,
                                                             The terrible lesson of love;
                                                         You came into my world of struggle and strife,
                                                             As an angel of light from above.
                                                         And you taught me the faith I never had known,            
                                                             Brought me sunshine as radiant dove;
                                                         You taught me to trust you and call you my own;
                                                             You taught me the lesson of love.

                                                         You taught me the second great lesson of life,
                                                             The terrible lesson of pain;
                                                         You mocked at my anguish and soul-strife,
                                                             And my cry for your love in vain.
                                                         You came into my life step by step,
                                                             And caused me to weep as the rain;
                                                         You broke your word,---and feigning, you wept,
                                                             You taught me the lesson of pain.

                                                         Oh! the third great lesson you must not teach,
                                                             The terrible lesson of hate;
                                                         I'll go while I love, repent! I beseech---
                                                             I'll go, love. ere the hour's too late;
                                                         Lest life's scars come, which time can't efface,
                                                             Ere steps I might take be our fate,
                                                         I leave,---but my love will enshadow your face;
                                                             I go ere my love turns to hate.

    Unknown to Titus, he mailed the poem to his wife at Liverpool, England, and within a few weeks, Bushnell made another call...he flourished a letter, on which was a Liverpool postmark, saying, read that! The poem had had the desired effect, and Bushnell was sailing at once for England, having already resigned his engagement at the Theatre. Titus read the letter and incidently the poem " Her Lament "---between the lines was her anguish and lament. A year later Titus visited Bushnell, in his beautiful home at Liverpool, England, and for the first time met his wife. After dinner in the trellis of the arbor, in rustic chairs, Bushnell ( smoking a pipe ) refers again to his domestic life and pours out a soliloquy of his soul, in a strain of perpetrated feeling, instead of a soul's reconciliation. The recital was as if it were an outpouring of the constant feeling of a martyr... the third poem was then written " Truth and Error " ( or reconciliation ). The close intimacy of two strong characters, the actor and poet drew out the material for the companion poems; that show how clearly he could feel and relate the emotions of a romance.
    Throughout the years an enduring friendship existed between John Henry Titus and Elbert Hubbard, II. The following statement's taken from a letter dated, May 27th, 1915, and addressed to John Henry Titus. The letter was written after the sinking of the Lusitania, on which Elbert Hubbard and his wife Alice lost their lives: " I can only thank you with all my heart for your kind words of sympathy and cheer. They give me much comfort. Their spirits live and go gloriously down the corridors of time. With strength and courage I bear it all. You have helped me much. Signed Elbert Hubbard, II. In a letter dated October 4th, 1912, from Elbert Hubbard to Titus are the following words: " I must thank you for your good letter of the 1st. Your spelling is a bit original, but then, we must not expect conformity in a genius. My idea is that anyone who can write as good poetry as you should keep right at it." The 3 'Hs, which were used and referred to innumerable times, in the writings of Hubbard were taken from a poem by Titus: Head, Heart and Hand. Hubbard, after many reprints made a public statement, in his chapel---"that from that time on it would always appear in Quotes, thereby giving due credit to its author, John Henry Titus." The poem was written after a delightful visit to the Roycroft Shops, at East Aurora... while alone and reflecting on the beautiful work of Hubbard and his wife, Alice---comparing it with his earlier life, in the Larkin Soap Industry. The beauty and greatness of the Roycroft Shop was seen and felt through the eyes and soul of a poet...he saw the unison of "Head, Heart and Hand." The 3 'Hs were carved on the private door of Hubbard's office.
    At one time Hubbard was the guest speaker, at a banquet, at Boston, Mass. attended by the presidents of ten railroads. Mr. Daniels, Pres. of the New York Central Railroad saw such elegance and beauty in the words of the poem as given by Hubbard that he suggested use of them---to be used in marble, for the New York Terminal, where they are today---Head, Heart and Hand in marble.
    Hubbards interest and admiration for " The Spartan Warrior " and " The Litany " poems of Titus brought them to the attention of the same group of men. Hubbard's comment on the poem, " The Spartan Warrior " was, " It has more Spartan in it than have found in ten volumes of Grecian history." " Neither snow nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night, stays these couriers ( corridors in the original ) from their appointed rounds " the inscription on the General Post Office, New York City, taken from " The Litany " and suggested by Elbert Hubbard.
    His travels in all the world, in different lands, under many conditions brought forth deductions, from his culture, that was broad and general; not that of a bookworm or student, but of a receptive and communicative mind. " They Had no Poet and so They Died " gives angles of his deductions, of the past, present and a prophetic message; he could see in the works of Socrates, Plato, Demosthenes, Diogenes and Aristotle, at Athens, that their souls pulsated to other men and their lives. In Carthage, Troy, Egypt, Japan, in the dim waste lands of the Orient, and regions of the dark Congo...all goes unrecorded and for nought: the Land of Tropics and our own sun crowned West, yes! even here as the earth waxed old, a race Titanic did once abide, their story too was left untold, as he observed, hence:
                                                   They had no poet and so they died.
Nothing has ever changed or obscured his deep sincerity and natural poetic expressions...thus, he has been a kind bard or singer of beautiful verses throughout a long period of years---giving poetry of grace and originality, and earned the title of a delightful evening with him and undergone the charm of his poetry. The essence of Titus writings might be defined thus: the romance is genuine, sentiment pure and heart-felt, with soulful heroism. The commonplace things of life reflect the worth of character and high ideals; yet, no tendency toward any creed, cult or schism. This is beautifully illustrated in his poem " Le Titusian." It answers the question of immortality for those of any creed.

                                                         The wick pales..
                                                         Curls; bends---
                                                         "Tis nearer dawn,
                                                         Its beam I see.
                                                         I wake; I rouse;
                                                         I yawn; I live:
                                                         I am; "Tis I:
                                                         Close not the
                                                         door; "tis I!
                                                         be not afraid.
                                                         So be my bourn
                                                         as dawn.. alway:
                                                         True nobleness.
                                                         Honorable man,
                                                         citadel of God.

    While his poems were not written in the beginning with thought of publication, they soon found a way into all parts of the world. " The face on The Bar Room Floor " has a firm hold on the hearts of all English-speaking people, and brought fame. He has always written and given to the world utterances, unmindful of return. Incidents that agree in the progression of the poem " The Face on The Bar Room Floor " from the concept, to its completion have made the poem immortal. It could not have been written at another place or time. The descriptions of the Old Pine Tavern, a local option town, in the early '70s, the tavern bar room ( not a saloon in New York ), Artist Bob and Madgelene, can easily be identified; his descriptions are so accurate. He had the gift of preserving local characters, in the vernacular; preserving them in oral expression, for all ages and, in such a way, that they will never be merged into oblivion. It resolves itself into folk-lore and so it will ever be.
    He wrote around a local problem " temperance " and the control and regulation of liquor traffic, a problem that has become national in importance. The " godly lot " a term that serves well today, he used in irony, not in the absolute. The godly lot we still have playing pious-roles with demijohns, and engaged in a nefarious liquor traffic.
    This biographical sketch is given to the world, the world is entitled to it, that no injustice be done anyone, that the inner urge of his age---the ways of it, be known, and leave the author, unlabeled from any sophistry or creed.
       Winfred P. Welden, President of the Anti-Cigarette League of America has started for publication, " that the poem The Face on The Bar Room Floor belongs with the literature of temperance reform as inevitable as 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' belongs to the literature of abolition."

    I moved all the "face" posts here from the "Edgar A. Guest" thread. It was just too confusing to mix the two discussions.
    -Joe Offer-

29 Aug 06 - 06:39 PM (#1822137)
Subject: RE: BS: Edgar A. Guest
From: GUEST,282RA

Looks like we got us a real mystery. One link says Titus, 2 say D'Arcy and a 3rd says Robert Service.'Arcy

29 Aug 06 - 09:04 PM (#1822250)
Subject: RE: BS: Edgar A. Guest
From: M.Ted

We've been through this before--as mentioned in the article posted above(written in the 1930's), Titus wrote and published the poem in an Ohio newspaper in 1872. D'Arcy published a somewhat re-written version in 1887. Service, on first arriving in Alaska, did some dramatic reading of that version and was inspired to write verses of his own in a similar style.

The poem was popular for many years, and ended up being made into a movie--according to one website that I can no longer find, Titus subsequently sued the D'Arcy estate for claiming his work, he produced newspaper clippings of his orginal, and won--the upshot being that D'Arcy's work was deemed to be a revision--

No matter how much stuff I cut, paste, and save, there is always something I miss--

29 Aug 06 - 09:21 PM (#1822259)
Subject: RE: BS: Edgar A. Guest
From: GUEST,282RA

And where is this article? Who wrote it?

30 Aug 06 - 03:15 AM (#1822410)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: Joe Offer

I don't know that I'd dismiss Titus as summarily as Q does, but it's certain that the poem that endures is the one attributed to D'Arcy (now, whether it was written by d'Arcy is another matter, since some say it was attributed to him as the actor who performed it). We still haven't found a complete copy of the Titus text. I guess we need to send an emissary to Ashtabula for that.
But whatever the case, I think we have adequate proof that the poem wasn't written by Robert W. Service.
-Joe Offer-

30 Aug 06 - 08:36 AM (#1822597)
Subject: RE: BS: Edgar A. Guest
From: M.Ted

Catspaw49 posted the article. count back six posts above your own--it is entitled "The Life of John Henry Titus: Why and How he Wrote "The Face on the Barroom Floor", by Elizabeth Pfleiderer. I was posted to another thread by a GUEST, surnamed Titus, who posted it in response to questions about who the artist was supposed to be, and what tavern might have been the model--

29 Apr 09 - 03:08 PM (#2621405)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'

Wow, I know this is digging up so old threads but if anyone is interested I have a four page pamphlet of The Face On The Bar Room Floor that apparently was published by JHT and says copyright by him also. It is signed in black ink on the cover under his picture and name. The publisher is Pocantico Publication in NYC.
The inner two pages and half the back page are the poem. Interestingly, there is a glossary of terms used in the poem on the lower half of the last page.
Just thought this might stoke up your interest.

30 Apr 09 - 12:57 AM (#2621675)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'The Face on the Bar-room Floor'
From: M.Ted

Another bit of information about JHT:

19 October 1944, New Castle (PA) News, pg. 1, col. 4:
Old Man Is Eloper

Aged Author Of "The Face On
The Barroom Floor" Is On
ELKTON, Md., Oct. 19—(INS)—Ninety-seven-year-old John Henry Titus, who penned his way to fame with "The Face on the Barroom Floor," today was honeymooning with the former Mrs. Elizabeth Pfliderer, after their elopement in Elkton.
The marriage was Titus' third. He was reportedly received more than half a million dollars to date for his 120-verse Saga of an old artist ruined by drink, which he wrote 72 years ago.

Turned down by editors for two years, the "Face on the Barroom Floor" was on the lips of virtually every elocution student in the nation within a short time after it was eventually published in 1874.

Reformers glorified in it at Temperance rallies, despite Titus' avowal that he meant it as a satire on "Goodie-Goodies."

Once queried on how he felt about drinking, the former tannery worker replied:

"The only time I drink is when I'm alone or with somebody."

25 Nov 11 - 04:01 PM (#3263479)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Face on the Bar-room Floor
From: GUEST,Bill Collins

I ewmwmber in the early fifties Mad magazine had a version of the face on the Bar room Floor
we young men in my group all started to put the poam to memory . i wish i could find again that version

29 Jun 12 - 08:01 AM (#3369502)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Face on the Bar-room Floor
From: GUEST,Country Dave

Don't know about computers but I've got a record of the song. If you tell me how I'll play it down the computer. D

29 Jun 12 - 10:59 PM (#3369899)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Face on the Bar-room Floor
From: GUEST,Country Dave

I've dug out the record I've got. It's on one side of a 10" Regal Zonophone 78. Buddy Williams. It seems to be on the same theme as the extended monologue. Just more tune and less pain. I could play it through the phone, or if you want the basic tune, sing it, God help us.   Otherwise could wait a while until our local radio station is ready for internet and let them play it at a pre-arranged time. D.

29 Jun 12 - 11:41 PM (#3369913)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Face on the Bar-room Floor
From: katlaughing

There's an audio of Tex Ritter reciting it HERE. I've heard other versions I prefer, but it's kind of neat it being Tex and all.:-)