This ballad begins: 'SCOTMEN ! In Auld Reekie born, / You, who fools and tyrants scorn, / Welcome, this bright April morn, / To do the needful here !'
The Mound in Edinburgh was created in 1769, after Nor' Loch had been drained six years earlier, by the rubble and back-fill from the new housing estate or the New Town. This building work had been ongoing for at least two years, when one of the engineers, Boyd, laid a temporary bridge across the gap to shorten the route between the two towns. The railway was eventually run underneath the Mound during the 1840s, and the National Gallery and Royal Institute were built here afterwards. This broadside probably relates to the controversy over the construction of the National Gallery. There was a widely-held view that the Mound was being ruined by the new buildings. The mention of a 'primrose' in the penultimate verse, may be a veiled reference to Mr. Bouverie Primrose, secretary of the Board of Manufactures who were responsible for financing the building of the Gallery.
The fact that the real point of this poem is difficult to understand for modern readers, and that there is no contextual information included for the reader's benefit, illustrates the broadside's function in society. It was immediate, topical and disposable - momentary entertainment on the issues of the day!
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Probable date of publication:
1852 shelfmark: L.C.1268
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