This ballad begins: 'A lass lived down by yon burn-braes, / And she was weel provided wi' claes'. At the top of the sheet it mentions that the song was first printed in Chambers's Journal, No. 175, and was written by an old spinster 'as a kind of burlesque of her own habits and history'. The tune is similar to 'The Laird of Cockpen'.
Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, which was called Chambers's Journal after 1854, was a hugely popular nineteenth-century journal of literature, science and the arts. It was founded by Robert Chambers (1802-71) in 1832 and ran until 1938. Cribbing songs and news reports was common practice among broadside publishers looking to make a quick profit, and copyright laws were not so strict then as they are today.
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:
1880-1900 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(26a)
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