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Broadside ballad entitled 'Jemmie Forrest'


This ballad begins: 'Hey, Jemmie Forrest, are ye waukin' yet? / Or are your Bailies snoring yet? / If ye were waukin' I would wait, / Ye'd hae a merry, merry morning.' It was to be sung to the tune of 'Johnny Cope' and includes a woodcut illustration of a carriage pulled by a team of horses.

The 'Jemmie Forrest' of the title refers to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, James Forrest. The song revolves around a rather unfortunate incident that took place upon the arrival of Queen Victoria in Edinburgh, during her 1842 tour of Scotland. Although the Lord Provost and the Bailies of Edinburgh were meant to form a welcoming party to greet the sovereign, when Victoria arrived in the capital there was no one there to meet her. This was highly embarrassing for those involved and provided fuel for a great many humorous broadsides.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable date published: 1842   shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(151)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Jemmie Forrest'
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