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Broadside ballad entitled 'Professor Nimmo's Lament'

Commentary

Verse 1: 'O, fare ye well Stirling town, / And Athrie braes a while, / For I have gone and left you now, / To get a cover in Argyle.' Verse 2: 'O, when I was in Stirling town, The ladies I met there, / They were always glad to see me, aye, / And I shared of their good cheer.' This song was to be sung to the air 'Black Joke'. The broadside carries no publication details.

This ballad is narrated by a 'Professor Nimmo', and involves him leaving Stirling for Argyllshire and bidding farewell to the 'ladies he met there'. Professor Nimmo implies that he has made several of these women pregnant, and his hasty departure may have something to do with this. A famous 'History of Stirlingshire', first published in 1777, was written by the Rev. William Nimmo of Bothkennar, who was regarded as an accomplished scholar. However, there is no evidence that he may be connected to the 'Professor Nimmo' of this ballad.

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(241)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Professor Nimmo's Lament'
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