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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Bridgeton Tragedy'


This ballad begins: 'Good people all of Glasgow, pray listen unto me, / Whilst I relate this woeful tale and mournful tragedy; / 'Tis of a fair and handsome girl, in Bridgeton she did dwell, / She was her parents sole delight, her comrades loved her well.' It was advertised as a new song and includes a woodcut illustration of a small leprechaun-like figure reading a book.

This moralising ballad recounts the tragic tale of a young woman called Jane, who meets and falls in love with a wealthy man who promises to marry her. Upon this pledge, she becomes his lover and soon becomes pregnant. Only when he callously disowns her and the unborn child, does she discover his true nature. Unable to cope, Jane tragically takes her own life. The theme of misguided love that ultimately ends in tragedy is a familiar one in broadside ballads, and many examples can be found in the National Library of Scotland's collection.

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: 1830-1850   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(203)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Bridgeton Tragedy'
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