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Broadside ballad entitled 'Johnie's Lamentation'


Verse 1: 'Ye gentle muses that's nice in number, / I pray assist me to I explain, / The fate of love it has so induced me, / And by it's wounds my poor heart is slain.' This sheet was published by R. MacIntosh of 96 King Street, Calton, Glasgow. The woodcut at the top of the sheet shows a street entertainer playing musical instruments and making two puppets dance.

The topic of love and the sweetness of a lover are very popular broadside themes and must have provided compelling escapism. This song must have been quite popular as there are numerous copies of it held in the National Library of Scotland's collection. The woodcut at the top of the sheet would also have enhanced its appeal and perceived value, especially for those who were only semi-literate.

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 published: 1849   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(014)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Johnie's Lamentation'
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