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Broadside entitled 'The Coalier Lassie'


Verse 1: 'The Coalier had a Daughter, / And she is wondrous bonny; / But if you had once brought her / To a true sense of Joy, / Although she struggle for a while / yet you'll won about her, / If once her Heart you can beguile / you'll never go without her.'

The lyrics of this song are rather offensive to modern sensibilities. It endorses men forcing themselves on young girls, until they give in. The singer tells of how he persuaded the collier's daughter to lose her virginity to him. He says in the second verse, 'And ay the more that she refus'd / the more [kisses and caresses] I was applying'. In the last verse we learn that the lassie is also sleeping with her father's master, the Laird. This song reveals much about attitudes to women and class in the early eighteenth century.

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(044)
Broadside entitled 'The Coalier Lassie'
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