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Broadside ballad entitled 'My Maggie she can wash'


This ballad begins: 'Noo, I am a simple chappie and plainly you may see, / I have settled doon in to this toon, and would you credit me, / I have married got, it was my lot, I have got a decent.'

As with many broadsides, there is no further information about this ballad included on the sheet. It is, however, quite decorative in comparison to most others held in the National Library of Scotland's collection. The image, a rather grim and stark figure, does not seem entirely appropriate to the topic and tone of the lyrics. Woodcuts, however, were expensive to create and so one generic image was often used across many sheets. It also made the sheet a more competitive and attractive purchase.

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 date of publication: 1880-1900   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(109b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'My Maggie she can wash'
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