This ballad begins: 'Two jolly old Topers once sat at an inn, / Discussing the merits of Brandy and Gin'. The sheet was published by R. McIntosh of 96 King Street, Calton, which is in Glasgow.
The theme of this broadside - the dangers of drink - is a very common one. Indeed, many of the crime-related broadsides held by the National Library of Scotland cite alcohol as mainly, or solely, responsible for criminal behaviour. Similarly here, a spell in the 'Teetotal Mill' is named as a cure for disease, marital problems, bad language, financial troubles and weakness - alcohol having been the root cause of these ills.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable date published:
1849 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(016)
View larger image