The first ballad begins: 'A goblet of Burgundy, fill, fill, for me / Give those who prefer it, champagne'. The second ballad begins: 'MERRILY pass the glass around, / We'll spend a night of glee'. The third ballad begins: 'March! March! Ettrick and Teviotdale, / Why, the de'il, dinnar ye march forward in order?'. The fourth ballad begins: 'Say, shall we meet when the sun is glowing, / Down by the streamlet softly flowing'.
As this broadside contains four ballads, the pedlars - or chapmen - who sold these publications to the general public would have marketed it as a wonderful bargain. The two ballads on the left hand side are all about drinking alcohol and making toasts of undying loyalty to the king. The third ballad, meanwhile, is a celebration of the martial qualities of famous Scottish figures from the past. Employing warm imagery from nature to create a favourable setting, the fourth ballad is a romantic description of two eloping lovers arranging a secret rendezvous.
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 date published:
1820-1837 shelfmark: APS.3.84.5
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