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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Bonnie Lassie's Answer'


Verse 1: 'Farewell to Glasgow, / Likewise to Lanarkshire, / And farewell my dearest parents, / For I'll never see you mair; / For the want of pocket money, / And for the want of cash, / Makes mony a bonny laddie, / to leave his bonny lass.'

This ballad is narrated by a young man who is about to go off to become a soldier. The 'bonnie lassie's answer' referred to in the title is his sweetheart's response of 'no, no' every time the narrator tells her he must leave. The theme of young men leaving their loved ones to join the army was quite a common one in ballads and popular songs. Sometimes the prospect of military service is portrayed as a heroic adventure, sometimes, as in this case, it is portrayed as financial necessity.

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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Likely period of publication: 1860-1880   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(127b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Bonnie Lassie's Answer'
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