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Broadside ballad entitled 'One Pound Two'


This ballad begins: 'Now Maggy dear, I do hear you have been on the spree. / Where is my whole week's wages gone, I pray come tell to me / When I come home at night I get no smell of drink on you, / Yet I wish to know how you lay out my one pound two.' It was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow, and includes a woodcut illustration of a young man begging before a seated gentleman. A woman stands to one side and a windmill is visible in the background.

At a time when married women generally stayed at home and 'kept house', it was common practice for the woman of the house to be handed a portion of her husband's weekly wages for the housekeeping. In this light-hearted ballad, Maggy's husband questions her over the spending of his wages. He appears to believe the idle chit-chat of neighbours and accuses her of misspending it. What follows is a complete breakdown of the weekly expenditure, and his humble apologies for doubting her.

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 period of publication: 1852-1859   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(052)
Broadside ballad entitled 'One Pound Two'
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