Verse 1: 'Quo' Nell, my wife, the ither day, / Provisions they are cheap man; / And for the trifle it wud tak', / A sow we weel micht keep, man; / Indeed, says I, my dearest Nell, / I've just been thinking sae mysel', / And since we've on the notion fell, / I'll just gang doon to Mattie Broon, / This afternoon, and vera soon / Bring hame yin in a rape, man.'
'Tam Gibb and his Sow' is a wonderful Scots comic song about a man who buys a sow and then loses control of it on his way home. The layout of the broadside, which includes transcriptions of the spoken sections between verses, marks the song very clearly as a performance piece. The song contains great examples of the vividness of the Scots language in words like 'grumphy', meaning 'pig', 'glaur', meaning 'sticky mud', 'skaith' meaning 'harm' or 'injure', and 'dree', meaning 'endure'.
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
Probable period of publication:
1880-1900 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(51)
View larger image