Verse 1: 'SCOTS wha hae wi' Wallace bled, / Scots wham Bruce has often led, / Welcome to your gory bed, / On to Victory! / Now's the day and now's the hour, / See the front of battle o'er, / See approach proud Edward's power, / Chains and slavery.' The broadside was published by Pitts at the Toy and Marble Warehouse, 6 Great St Andrew Street in the Seven Dials area of London.
'Scots Wha Hae' is one of the most famous and popular songs by Robert Burns (1759-96), and appears on several broadsides held by the National Library of Scotland. In a letter to George Thomson (1757-1851), who composed the music for many of Burns's songs, the poet explained that he had written the patriotic words to fit a pipe air that he believed had been Robert Bruce's march at the Battle of Bannockburn. An indication of the spread of Burns's popularity beyond Scotland is given by the fact that this broadside was published in London, in an area called Seven Dials, which was historically the centre of broadside publishing in England's capital.
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:
1820-1845 shelfmark: RB.m.169(138)
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