This ballad begins: 'Argyle and Mar are gone to War / Which hath breed great Confusion / For Church & State they do debate / Through Difference and Division'. A note below the title states that this dialogue was to be sung to a tune called 'the Hare Merchants Rant, &c'. Unfortunately, no publication details are included on the sheet.
Illustrated with woodcuts depicting martial scenes, this broadside refers to the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. It was 'Bobbing' John Erskine, the Earl of Mar, who raised the standard for the House of Stewart, following his sacking by King George I. Leading the Protestant and Hanoverian forces against Mar's army, meanwhile, was the Duke of Argyll. The two armies engaged one another at Sheriffmuir, just outside Stirling. However, just when victory was in his grasp, Mar lost his nerve, and inexplicably withdrew his army from the battlefield. Many historians argue that if Mar had held his nerve, then the Stewarts might well have been returned to the throne.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable date of publication:
1715 shelfmark: RB.l.106(073)
View larger image