The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside ballad entitled 'A Tee-total Song'


Verse 1: 'Let ilk drouthie neighbour that likes a wee drap, / Rejoice o' the gill-stoup, and laugh o'er the cup, / Let them boast o' their fiddle, and crack o' their sang, / But the Tee-total job's been a guid thing for me. / Let them boaet &c.' 'llk' means 'each', 'drouthie' means 'thirsty' and a 'gill-stoup' is a tumbler or pitcher that holds one gill of fluid.

In this song the narrator describes the experiences that persuaded him to give up drinking alcohol. There are no publication details, making it difficult to tell when the song dates from. Despite Scotland's reputation for hard drinking, the country has had a strong temperance movement for almost two hundred years. The movement reached its height in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when various local authorities voted areas of their jurisdictions free from licensed premises, or 'dry', under the local veto acts.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Probable period of publication: 1830-1860   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(140a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'A Tee-total Song'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland