Verse 1: 'As the Laird o' Glentosh was haudin' hame, / Astride o' his nit brown steed, / Up came muckle Macpherson Rab, / Talking o' bleaching thread, thread, thread / Bleth'rin' 'bout bleaching thread.'
In this ballad, Macpherson Rab is advised by the Laird o' Glentosh to leave the parish because of his philandering ways. It is suggested that he move to an area where 'The population stood in need, need, need- / The kintra stood in need.' It is suggested by this and by 'his size and the shape o' his weel-fill'd breeks' that his behaviour is inevitable and will continue wherever he may be. Certainly, the ballad ends with Rab working near the Clyde 'Whaur, dootless, the wives and the lasses a' / Are praying he lang may abide, bide, bide - / Are praying he aye may abide.' Whilst the ballad clearly deals with the subject of virility, it also highlights the positive female reaction and interest in Rab's sexual prowess.
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:
1860-1890 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(095)
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