This ballad begins: 'The oldest person in the world, on land or on the water, / Never saw such times before, since Sampson killed his daughter.' The chorus reads: 'Tens of thousands out of work, what will the country come to ? / I cannot think, says every one, where all the trade is gone to.'
Whilst no publication details have been included on this sheet, it is known that James Lindsay of Glasgow published this particular ballad in the late nineteenth century. It is impossible to say for sure, however, whether he was responsible for this copy. The ballad laments the lack of money across all sectors of Scottish society - everyone is feeling the pinch! Reference is made to the Crimean War (1854-6) and the possibility that all the money has been sent there: 'Some say its off to Sebastopol to fight the Russian Bear'.
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:
1854-1856 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(100)
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