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Broadside ballad entitled 'Up and Waur Them A', Johnnie'


This ballad begins: ''Tis here and there, and every where, / We meet the lawyer clan, Johnnie'. The chorus reads: 'Up and waur them a', Johnnie, / Up and waur them a', / Up and save AULD REEKIE's pride, / And ding the man o' law!'

This political ballad clearly decries the corruption amongst the lawyers of Auld Reekie, and makes several references to the power they wield. Disillusionment with both the Whig and Tory parties is also highlighted, with a call instead to 'choose a man frae 'mang OUR AIN' as Edinburgh's parliamentary representative. This ballad is a parody of the traditional Jacobite song 'Up and Warn A', Wullie', which, according to Robert Burns, was the warning of a Highland clan to arms. It was referred to by Lowlanders as 'Up and Waur Them A', Willie', and this updated version could in a sense be viewed as a last-ditch political war cry!

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: 1830-1840   shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(096)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Up and Waur Them A', Johnnie'
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