This ballad has a preface which reads: The last SPEECH, Confession, and dying Words, o[f] the Bogs, who were burnt in the Pleasance, on Monday the 25th of May, 1767. For the horrid Crime of Blood-sucking, A FARCE.' The ballad begins: 'HOW do you think your works will after thrive? / What cruelly to burn us all alive?' The broadside carries no publication details
The inspiration for this farcical ballad is not very clear. 'Bogs' is a Scots word for 'bugs', and it may be that the ballad was written to commemorate the burning of a house in Edinburgh's Pleasance that had become infested with some sort of bloodsucking insect or pest. This ballad is a parody of those that were written and published on broadsides describing the last words of condemned criminals.
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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1767 shelfmark: APS.4.82.15
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