This ballad begins: 'I crossed Forth, I crossed Tay, / I left Dundee, and Edinborrow, / I saw nothing there was worth my stay.' This song was supposed to be sung to its own proper tune.
This song was printed on other broadsides, held in the National Library of Scotland's collection, indicating its popularity. During the late eighteenth century highland figures were romanticised and a literary motif of rolling a girl in a highlander's plaid to claim her was established. Perhaps this reflected an aspect of social behaviour at the time. This rather racy song discusses a woman's folly at choosing a poor and almost uncouth highlander, who in reality cannot provide for her - a stern social warning to other prospective brides.
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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Date of publication:
1701 shelfmark: S.302.b.2(019)
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