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Broadside ballad entitled 'John and his Wife on Using Tea'


This ballad begins: 'Neighbours draw near and I'll tell you a tale, / To lend your attention I'm sure you won't fail, / Concerning a couple that lived near Armagh, / Their grand conversation would make a horse laugh.' It was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow, and probably sold for one penny.

This humorous song deals with the subject of drinking tea. It is sent out as a warning to all husbands, advising them not to interfere with the tea-drinking habits of their wives. If they refuse to take heed of this warning, the song lays testament to what can happen. In another broadside in the National Library of Scotland's collection, entitled 'A Lecture to the Ladies by a Disobliged Admirer of the Fair Sex', it is suggested that contemporary women have replaced the 'forbidden apple' with the habit of drinking tea.

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: 1852-1859   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(026)
Broadside ballad entitled 'John and his Wife on Using Tea'
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