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Broadside ballad entitled 'Samson's Foxes'


This ballad begins: 'FROM the fine Roman Whore, or Geneva Slut; / The one dawbed with Paint, the other with Smut; / From the Beast's horned Head, or his cloven Foot, / Libera, &c.' The text preceding it reads: 'A New Litany, / To the Tune of, An old Courtier of the Queen.' It was printed by James Watson, of Edinburgh, in 1713.

James Watson was a prolific broadside printer who operated in Edinburgh between 1695 and 1722. His father had taken over the publishing house of Colmar and Solingen, and so he had inherited a solid business to begin with. Many of his broadsides were on religious topics, like this one, and reflected many of the religious and political tensions of the time. Here both Catholic and Protestant strongholds are being attacked.

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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Date of publication: 1713   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(072)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Samson's Foxes'
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