The first verse reads: 'I'm the lad that's free and easy, / Whereso'er I chance to be: / I'll do my best I'll try to please ye, / If you will but list to me.' It was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow, and includes a woodcut illustration of a carefree young man throwing a stick for a dog.
The free and easy lad of this song appears to be very philosophical, living his life according to a very simple yet profound belief: 'I care for all, yet care for no man, / Those who mean well should not fear, / I like a man and love a woman, / What else makes this life so dear'.
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.
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Probable period of publication:
1852-1859 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(053)
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