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Broadside ballad entitled 'I Canna' Leave my Hieland Hame'


This ballad begins: 'I canna leave my Highland hame, / Nor' a' the clans that bear my name; / I canna leave the bonny glen, / Nor a' I lo'e nor a' I ken'. The chorus reads: 'Flowers may bloom fair ayont the sea; / But oh! My Highland hame for me.' It was published by James Lindsay of 11 King Street, Glasgow, and includes a woodcut illustration of a highlander playing the bagpipes.

Although no date has been included on this broadside, it was most likely published between 1860 and 1894 - the years during which Lindsay had premises at 11 King Street. This ballad presents a romantic view of rural life that was extremely popular during the nineteenth century, and can be found in the literature of the day. It would have appealed to those who had moved from the Highlands to the overcrowded and polluted cities of the south. Although life in the Highlands was far from idyllic, existing in the often squalid conditions of the cities, understandably, led to people romanticising their past.

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: 1860-1880   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(071)
Broadside ballad entitled 'I Canna' Leave my Hieland Hame'
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