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Broadside ballad entitled 'Nether Mill Glen'


Verse 1: 'I've wandered my ain native isle, Caledonia, / O'er moor and o'er mountain, through valley and fen, / But nae pleasure like those at the clear crystal fountain, / By the banks o' the Forth, in sweet Nether Mill Glen.' This ballad was to be sung to the tune 'Garland of Love', and was written by James Niven, author of 'Kinninie Braes'.

There are many broadside ballads extant that were written in praise of Scotland's countryside, but this is more skilfully constructed than most. The poem draws parallels between the short lives of the flowers in Nether Mill Glen and the transience of human beauty, but compares the spring that runs through the glen to a fountain of eternal love that will keep a young couple happy all their lives if they drink from it.

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: 1860-1880   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(150b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Nether Mill Glen'
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