Verse 1: 'All Gentlemen and Cavaliers / That doth delight in sport, / Come here and listen to my song, / for it shall be but short: / And I'le tell you as brave a Jest, / as ever you did hear: / The Lasses of Kinghorn Town / put our Officers in fear.' The ballad was to be sung to the tune of 'Clavers and his Highland Men'.
'The Lasses of Kinghorn' tells the tale of a young chapman, or book-pedlar, who is captured by the army then rescued by the women of Kinghorn, who attack and outfight the army regiment holding the chapman. The ballad is a knockabout comic tale mocking the army, but the circumstances underlying it are more serious. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were times of civil war in Britain, and book-pedlars would have played their part in distributing polemic for the various factions.
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 of publication:
1701 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(009)
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