This broadside contains two separate ballads. The opening line of the first ballad reads: 'I am a sturdy beggar loon, weel kent the country through'. The opening line of the second ballad reads: 'As I walked out one morning all in the month of May'. This sheet was printed by James Kay of Glasgow and cost one penny. According to the National Library of Scotland's index of the Scottish Book Trade, James Kay's publishing business was located at 179 Argyll Street in 1844.
The first ballad on this sheet is a light-hearted travelling song, written from the viewpoint of a pedlar. Although the tone of this ballad is cheery and humorous, the diverse list of jobs and errands that the pedlar performs reveals much about rural society in Scotland at this time. Set in springtime, the second ballad tells of a lovesick Scottish lad whose love for a beautiful Irish lass, ends up with her parents threatening the suitor that they will send her back to Ireland unless he desists. The rest of the ballad consists of yearnful musings about the object of his desire.
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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