Verse 1: 'Now simmer decks the fields wi' flow'rs / The woods wi' leaves so green; / And little birds around their bow'rs / In harmony convene: / The cuckoo flies from tree to tree, / Whilst saft the zepyrs blaw; / But what are a' thae joys to me, / When Jockie's far awa.' The name of the publisher is not included and the sheet is not dated.
After an opening that lists the joys of nature, the first verse closes with its dominating theme - lovers who are apart from one another. The ballad continues to lament that, without her Jockie beside her, the heroine is unable to obtain any enjoyment from life. The content of the last verse sadly reveals that Jockie is away at sea because of a war, and will only return home when peace also returns. Many romantic broadside ballads such as this are held in the National Library of Scotland's collection.
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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