An arrow may fly through the air and leave no trace; but an ill thought leaves a trail like a serpent.
Charles Mackay (18141889) was a British poet and journalist, son of a naval officer, born at Perth, and educated at the Royal Caledonian Asylum, London, and at Brussels, but spent much of his early life in France. Coming to London in 1834, he engaged in journalism, published Songs and Poems (1834), wrote a History of London, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and a romance, Longbeard. His fame, however, chiefly rests upon his songs, some of which, including Cheer, Boys, Cheer, were in 1846 set to music by Henry Russell, and had an astonishing popularity. In 1852 he became an editor of the Illustrated London News, in the musical supplement to which other songs by him were set to old English music by Sir H.R. Bishop. Mackay acted as Times correspondent during the American Civil War, and in that capacity discovered and disclosed the Fenian conspiracy. He had the degree of LL.D. from Glasgow in 1846.