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Broadside ballad entitled 'Country Hirings'


Verse 1: 'Come all ye blooming country lads & listen unto me / And if I do but tell the truth, I know you will agree / It's of the jolly farmers, who servants want to have, / For to maintain them in their pride and be to them a slave.' There are no publication details given on this broadside.

'Country Hirings' was obviously a popular song. The National Library of Scotland holds at least two broadside versions of it. Ballads had long been sung among the peasant and working classes in Scotland, and political protest was a recurring thread in the genre. This song is highly critical of the increasing superior and exploitative attitude of farmers to their hired labourers. The rural labour pool became relatively greater in the nineteenth century as specialisation and mechanisation of farming meant that less workers were needed on many farms, leaving farmers with greater power.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable period of publication: 1880-1900   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(44b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Country Hirings'
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