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Broadside ballad entitled 'Half-Past Ten'


This ballad begins: 'mind when I conrted my ain wifie Jean / Though often I gaed, she little was seen, / For her faither-the elder- like a' godly men, / Aye steekit his door about half-past ten.' There are no publication details given, but this is one of two songs - printed by James Lindsay - on this sheet.

This light-hearted ballad revolves around the issue of a curfew during courtship. Jeanie's father has decided that 10.30 is a suitable deadline for her returning home. Not convinced by this, Jeanie makes a mockery of her father's rule. Her brilliant and mischievous idea of stopping the clock is eventually uncovered by the 'craw o' the cock', which signifies the morning. The familiar theme of courtship and, most importantly, its trials and tribulations would have proved popular reading amongst the broadside-buying public. Since storytelling began, people have always favoured stories that provide them with at least one character or scenario they can easily identify with.

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(077)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Half-Past Ten'
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