This ballad is sung to the tune of the 'Laird of Cockpen' and begins: 'To get drunk at Nairday is counted nae sin, / Although that your neighbours be leadin' you blin', / For wasting of money there's naebody cares; / They run and they'll roar like the Russian bears.' The chorus begins: 'And now we've to enter another New Year, / When little is thought on but whisky and beer'. A woodcut illustration showing a man standing next to large kegs of whisky, rum and brandy has been included at the top of this sheet.
This ballad, although light-hearted, demonises the drinking of alcohol - particularly the excesses of the New Year. The last line calls out for intemperance to be banished 'far from our shore'. The Temperance Movement was a phenomenon that first appeared in the nineteenth century. Supporters of the movement, believing that alcohol was responsible for a great many of the social ills of the day, strongly advocated abstinence from alcohol.
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:
1860-1890 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(104)
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