3.9.09

ART IMITATES LIFE IMITATES ART. I purchased one of these at a recent flea market.




Link, if embedded video doesn't work.

The song has a basis in fact.
Most accounts give the origin of the song as a wayfarers' inn in Piercebridge on the border of Yorkshire and County Durham called the George Hotel. The hotel was owned and operated by two brothers called Jenkins, and in the lobby was an upright longcase clock. The clock kept perfect time until one of the brothers died, after which it lost time at an increasing rate, despite the best efforts of the hotel staff and local clockmakers to repair it. When the other brother died, the clock stopped, never to go again. It is said that in 1875 Henry Clay Work visited the hotel and based "My Grandfather's Clock" on the stories he heard there.
The hotel's website features the clock. It has great potential as a conversation piece.

"This clock isn't running."

"That's right, mate, it stopped, short, never to go again, when the owner died."

One source had neither Jenkins brother marrying, suggesting that poet Henry Clay Work used artistic license to give a life-cycle structure to the poem. No doubt the experts on such things would point out the formulaic structure and lack of deep symbolism and consign it to the realm of doggerel. I doubt, however, that any of the assaults on the rules of good grammar and punctuation that pass for contemporary poetry will change the vocabulary. Instead of longcase clock or floor clock or whatever other adjectives one might have used to refer to such a thing, English speakers know it as a grandfather clock.

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