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Broadside ballad entitled 'Mungo M'Gill'


Verse 1 begins: 'Draw near ilka wight, that licens'd to retail / A dribble o' spirits, an' porter, an' ale, / While I sing o' a carle, a great mense to your trade, / Tho' he forty land miles frae King Willie was bred.'

Not only is this song written in broad and colloquial Scots, but the typesetting is not all that accurate either, making parts of it virtually unintelligible. It also illustrates the speed with which most of these sheets were conceived, produced and sold. This sheet celebrates the excellent atmosphere which the well-rounded and socially-adept publican, Mungo McGill, creates in his ale-house. Although he is praised for his standards and skills, his ability to mix with everyone appears to make him seem peculiar to most people.

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(112)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Mungo M'Gill'
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