Verse 1 begins: 'AULD ROBIN he came frae the town, / An' a frighten'd man was he'. The text preceding this reads: 'FROM THE CALEDONIAN MERCURY, AUGUST 4, 1803. / TUNE - "I hae been Courting at a Lass".'
This ballad is a pessimistic account of the determination of Napoleon Bonaparte to conquer Scotland and the lack of action of Scots people to obstruct him. In fact, contemporary Scots fair badly in comparison with William Wallace and Robert Bruce. This allusion to Scottish freedom fighters would suggest that the author may be Scottish. There are other broadsides held in the National Library of Scotland's collection which express concerns about a French invasion into Scotland. It would appear that this was an especially worrying time for Scottish society.
This style of text, with its implicit political propaganda, would not only have made for compelling entertainment, but would also perhaps have stimulated political thought, reasoning and debate.
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Probable date published:
1803 shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(030)
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