The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside ballad entitled 'Alice Grey'


This ballad begins: 'She's all my fancy painted her, / She's lovely, she's divine; / But her heart it is another's, / She never can be mine.' The sheet was published by J. Elder of Edinburgh.

This well-written song focuses on a common theme of broadside ballads, and indeed of folk song throughout the ages: that of unrequited love. Alice has given her heart to another, and the singer is devastated. The ballad ends, somewhat pessimistically, with the singer accepting that he will die with a broken heart, 'for the love of Alice Grey'.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Probable period of publication: 1820-1840   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(006)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Alice Grey'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland