This ballad begins: 'One morning in the month of May, / It's sweetly shone the sun, / All on the banks of daisies gay, / There sits a lovely one.' Unfortunately there are no publication details printed on this sheet.
A woodcut illustration of a young woman holding up a caged bird has been included at the top of this sheet. Alongside her, a disproportionately large cat gazes longingly at the little bird in the cage. This particular woodcut can also be found on another broadside in the National Library of Scotland's collection, accompanying a ballad entitled 'Bonny Mary of Argyle'. It was common practice amongst broadside producers to reuse their often limited stock of woodcuts.
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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