Verse 1: 'Come all you brave hearts of Gold, / let's learn to be merry and wise / For it is a true saying of old, / Suspicion is doubtless disguis'd: / Whatever we say or do, / Let's not drink to disturb our brain; / But laugh for an hour or two, / And never be Drunk again.' This ballad was to be sung 'To an Excellent New Tune', and was published by John Moncur of Sclater's Close, Edinburgh, in 1707.
This ballad celebrates the advantages of moderate drinking, such as inspiring convivial company or giving courage to soldiers and courting men, yet warns the listener against drinking to excess. The advice seems to have fallen on deaf ears: Edinburgh was famous for its public houses and gentlemen's clubs, and the three greatest Scots poets of the eighteenth century, Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns, all wrote extensively in praise of drink.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1707 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(038)
View larger image