This ballad begins: 'OH, gin a body meet a body / Canvassin' the wynde, / Wi' P____k R_____n before, / And Tories a' behind.' It was to be sung to the melody, 'Comin' through the rye'.
This satirical ballad is a parody of one of Robert Burns's most well-known and popular songs, 'Comin' thro' the rye'. As the title suggests, it is written in the style of a mock lamentation, in which 'Learmonth' decries the treatment he has received at the hands of the electorate. Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1832) and owner of the Dean Estate, John Learmonth stood for election as a Tory member of parliament for Edinburgh in the mid-nineteenth century.
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(101)
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