Verse 1: 'I who was once a day Courted by many, / Now am most scornfully Slighted by thee; / Others some reason had, thou ner'e had any, / Returning with Disdain my Court[e]sie: Slave to Affection and thy sweet Complection, / Thus far have I been but no longer shall be; / A rash Election, goes not by Direction, / Of the weak Feminine Amorous we.'
The title of this ballad is intriguing. It is the same, although differently spelled, as one of the most famous of all Scots ballads, 'Bonnie Dundee'. The contents of the two ballads could not be more different, however. 'Bonny Dundee' appears to be a dialogue between two lovers who have become temporarily estranged, whilst 'Bonnie Dundee' is a celebration of the Jacobite general John Graham of Claverhouse (1648-1689). It may be that 'Bonny Dundee' was so named because it is intended to be sung to the same melody as its more famous counterpart.
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 date of publication:
1701 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(031)
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