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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Poor Forsaken Village Maid'


Verse 1: 'A VILLAGE maid she sat weeping / She thought of happy days gone by, / And as her darling babe lay sleeping / A tear fell gently from her eye. / She tho ught of home and her deceiver / Poor girl by him she was betrayed, / She's left alone now broken hearted, The poor forsaken village maid.'

'The Poor Forsaken Village Maid' tells the story of a village girl who is seduced and taken to live in a large town by her lover, but who is then abandoned when she falls pregnant. At the end the girl drowns herself and her baby. This ballad reflects, without condemning, the harsh presbyterian morality that prevailed in Scotland as late as the nineteenth century. It is implied that the girl cannot possibly return to her home village because of the shame it would bring her parents. Her suicide is presented as a tragic, but inevitable, consequence of her actions.

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(78c)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Poor Forsaken Village Maid'
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