Living by the Pen
For John Taylor, with a natural talent for versifying but little education, the sensible course would have been to turn his hand to ballads and ephemera. Instead, he resolved to make his name as a poet. His background constituted a barrier for verse written by a waterman would never be taken seriously. Behind his jocular style lay a severe determination. His success owed much to his own skill in packaging and promoting his work. Instead of concealing his trade, he drew attention to it. There is much evidence for his flair for showmanship. Though he quickly achieved fame, he complained repeatedly that writing brought very few rewards. He often complained of poverty, and the evidence suggests that he died in confined circumstances.
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