This crime ballad begins: 'I find I was a Fool to mock the Laws, / My Notes are finely chang'd for Hangie's Taas.'
Currency was and indeed still is the property of the Crown in the United Kingdom, therefore forgery or the defacing of currency is an offence against the Crown. It was normal for moral lessons to be conveyed through fictitious, shock stories. Here, however, a hand-written note claims that Currie was scourged through town, had his ear nailed to the Tron and was then banished. This suggests that John Currie and his crime were real. Hangie was the nickname for the hangman.
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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1728 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(092)
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