This ballad begins: 'JEEN your Speun Haund to your Lang Goon. / Hod him up, Sir. / Hod him doown the Speun Seede, hod him down now. / Opin your Kittle, sir . . . ' Below the title, there is a short note, presumably addressed to the Prince of Wales, advising him 'Tak Care on your Sell, sir, noow'.
The ambiguous reference to the 'pretended' Prince of Wales in this ballad's title, suggests that the song could be about the 'Old Pretender', James 'VIII' and 'III' - the son of James VII and II. Strangely, the verses to this ballad appear to be nonsense lyrics, although the tone of the piece is certainly not deferential. As with people's political opinions during this turbulent and dangerous era, this song can swing both ways.
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:
1700- shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(124)
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