Verse 1 begins: 'From Munster I came and I went into Leinster, / I met with a maid and they called her a spinster'. This sheet was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow. There is a woodcut above the title which depicts three deer crossing a rocky, tree-lined stream.
James Lindsay was a prolific broadside and chapbook producer who operated in Glasgow between 1847 and 1909. He worked from King Street, however, between 1852 and 1859. It was during the early part of the nineteenth century that Irish immigrants began to arrive in Glasgow, seeking work and better living conditions. It could be that this sheet was published to appeal to this section of the market.
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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