Verse 1: 'The winter is gane, love, the sweet spring again, love, / Bedecks the blue mountain and gilds the dark sea, / Gie'en birth to the blossom, and bliss to the bosom, / And hope for the future to you love, an' me. / For far to the west, to the land of bright freedom, / The land where the vine and the orange trees grow, / I fain would conduct thee, my ain winsome dearie - / Then hey, bonnie lassie, will you bundle and go?'
This moving ballad is narrated by a young man trying to persuade his sweetheart to emigrate with him from the Highlands to the United States or Canada. Vast numbers of Highlanders emigrated west during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Emigration was greatest in times of hunger, such as the harvest failures of 1771-2 and 1782 and the potato blight of 1845-6. In the latter period many emigrant ships were controversially funded by landlords keen to clear tenants off their land. Close-knit Gaelic communities descended from these Scottish immigrants still exist in modern Canada.
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:
1880-1900 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(38a)
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