This ballad begins: 'Good people give attention / To those truths I herewith mention, / And pour in full extension / Your sympathy to me.' It was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow, and probably sold for one penny.
In this ballad, McGorran laments his impending execution and the murderous misdeeds that have brought him to this point. He admits to having been roused to such heights of 'cruel jealousy' by his wife and her lover that he drew 'the fatal knife'. Such tales of repentence and pleas for forgiveness and salvation were popular amongst the broadside readership. Street literature relating to crime was by far the most popular and outsold all other broadside genres.
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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