This ballad begins: 'The broom, the brier, the birken bush, / Bloom bonnie o'er thy flowery lea, / And a' the sweets that ane can wish, / Frae nature's hand are strew'd on thee.' The number 20 has been attributed to this song suggesting it was one of a series.
A woodcut has been included at the top of the page. Woodcuts were expensive to create and so were often made on a generic topic so that they could be reused. Here a pastoral landscape has been included adding to the attractiveness of the sheet. In a largely illiterate age, illustrations were used as visual rhetoric so those who were being read to could also enjoy the sheet and equate the words with the graphics.
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:
1880-1900 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(112a)
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