Verse 1 begins: 'O John what's this ye've done John, / Yer head this morning's sair'. The woodcut above the title displays a well-dressed couple sitting in a parlour playing cards. Despite the rough nature of the illustration, the lady looks out of the scene to catch the reader's eye and engage them. This is a classic artist's trick.
This is the story of a couple who spent all their money and pawned most of their goods so that they could enjoy the Paisley fair to its full extent. Now the event is over, they are left quarrel about their decisions and behaviour but promise to start economising, but only until New Year! Both partners seem to have had romantic affairs during this period also, but they remain unconcerned about this as a couple.
Broadsides, cheap and accessible, were often used as moral forums with 'lessons of life' included in the narrative. Broadside authors tended to see themselves as moral guardians and teachers in society. As such, publishers often disseminated 'educational' texts outlining the social and personal consequences of undisciplined or immoral behaviour.
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