This political ballad begins: 'Come all Reformers sing again, / For what reformer can refrain, / On hearing the heart-string strain, / Huzza for honest Aytoun?' A note below the title states that it should be sung to the tune of 'The Arethusa', which is a traditional Scottish song dating from around 1730. The sheet was published by Waugh of Edinburgh, and the date of publication was probably around 1833.
This celebratory broadside has a satirical companion in another political sheet entitled, 'Huzza! for Provost Spittal!!!', which is also included in the National Library of Scotland's collection. Jamie Aytoun (1797-1881) and Sir James Spittal (1769-1842) were rival candidates for the position of Lord Provost of Edinburgh. Aytoun never succeeded in his fight, but Spittal was Provost from 1833-37. Spittal Street, located in the Tollcross area of the city, was named in tribute to him.
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 date published:
1833 shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(089)
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