This ballad begins: 'There wis a laud was born in Kyle, / In winter cauld an' drear, / An' tho' that he is fair awa', / His memory's ever dear.' The name of the publisher is not included and the sheet is not dated.
Employing the natural imagery that Burns himself used in his Romantic poems, this threnody is dedicated to the immortal memory of Scotland?s national bard, who died in 1796. In effect, this ballad is a literary form of the 'immortal memory', as proclaimed on the 25th of January by Burns' societies the world over. A festival in the poet's honour was held at Alloway in 1844, and the ballad might well have been written specially to celebrate this event. Many broadside ballads dedicated to the memory of Robert Burns are held in the National Library of Scotland's collection.
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.70(16b)
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