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Broadside ballad entitled 'Bonny Mary of Argyle'


This ballad begins: 'I have heard the mavis singing, / Its love song to the morn, / I have seen the dew-drop clinging / To the rose just newly born'. The sheet was published by James Lindsay of 11 King Street, Glasgow. A woodcut of a woman walking along a country lane carrying a basket in each arm and a birdcage on her head, decorates the top of the sheet.

This traditional love song is typical of the type of material published as broadsides. James Lindsay was a prolific publisher and the number 40 at the bottom of the sheet suggests that this was part of a collectable sequence - a shrewd marketing move. Not wanting to waste any space on the sheet, at the bottom Lindsay also advertises the services his business provides, which are 'every description of Letterpress Printing . . . Lithography, Bookbinding &c. &c.'

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: 1860-1890   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(077)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Bonny Mary of Argyle'
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