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Broadside ballad entitled 'John Highland Man's Remarks'


This ballad begins: 'When her nain shell to Edinburgh / she pe saw pony tings, / She many pony Lasses saw, / that flutter'd a wit wings, / Tat town apout teire shouters / as plack as ony flea, / An rattel a like Onion Skins, / a pra high pe pra put tea.'

This song, with its almost indecipherable lyrics, is a send up of Highlanders, their Highland English and their Gaelic phrasing. At this time a line of industrialisation was beginning to form and society was demarcating the north and south. Highlanders were represented as rural, 'simple' people whereas southern 'townies' were portrayed as a little more sophisticated. Many of the factual reports on broadsides, also contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection, comment as to whether a person is a Gaelic or English speaker and normally his job is also mentioned.

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(073)
Broadside ballad entitled 'John Highland Man's Remarks'
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