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Broadside ballad entitled 'They're a' teasing me'


Verse 1: 'O' wha is he I love sae well? / who has my heart an a' / O wha is he, 'tis sair to tell, / he's o'er the seas awa,. / There's Charlie, he's a sodger lad. / and Davie blythe is he; / And Willie in his tartan plaid, / they're a' a' teasing me.' The address of the publisher has been obscured on this broadside, although an advertisement for another of its publications, 'The Ball-Room Companion', has been left intact.

This ballad is narrated by a young woman who apparently has a romantic dilemma. In the first verse, she describes three men who are 'teasing' her, and suggests that she does not know which one she loves the best. Carl, the wealthy clan chief, gets all of verse two to himself. Ultimately, however, in verse three, the narrator realises she loves her 'Jamie' and vows to marry him 'tho his siller store be sma''. The question of whether it is better to marry for money or for love is one that recurs in ballads, and more often than not, love wins.

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 period of publication: 1870-1890   shelfmark: L.C.1269(156b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'They're a' teasing me'
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