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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Birks of Aberfeldy'


Verse 1: 'Bonnie lassie will ye go, / Will ye go, will ye go, / Bonnie lassie will ye go, / To the birks of Aberfeldy.' Although his name does not appear on the sheet, this ballad was written by Robert Burns.

Robert Burns wrote this ballad in late August 1787, during a visit to the Birks of Aberfeldy, then known as the Den of Moness. Legend has it that Burns wrote the song after resting in a natural seat on the rock, just at the side of the Birks. This natural seat is well-known and a plaque now exists at the exact spot where Burns was inspired to write the ballad. The accompanying woodcut to this broadside ballad shows a pastoral scene of young women playing, and the song's verses celebrate the reborn joys of nature in Spring and female beauty.

Broadsides are often crudely illustrated with woodcuts - the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Probable period of publication: 1860-1890   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(7b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Birks of Aberfeldy'
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