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Broadside entitled 'Elegie'


This memorial notice begins: 'To the Memory of the right Honourable MARGARET COUNTESS OF WEEMS. Who departed the Life at Weems, February 20 1688. A FUNERAL ELEGIE.' The elegy which follows begins: 'Like as an aged lofty-fronted Oak, / Whose Verdure, Boughs, and Shelter, might provock, / The proudest in the Dodonean Grove, / Which Superstition did devout to Jove'. The name 'N. Paterson' is given at the foot of the sheet. This may refer to the author of the elegy, or it could refer to the broadside publisher.

Margaret Leslie, the sister of John Leslie, 7th Earl and 1st Duke of Rothes, married David, 2nd Earl of Wemyss in 1652. After David died in 1679 their daughter Margaret (d. 1705) became legal Countess of Wemyss, although the dedication on this elegy suggests that the elder Margaret could also continue to use the title. Both the Leslie and Wemyss families were staunch supporters of the House of Stuart and the intermarriage may have been as much for political as for romantic reasons. The National Library of Scotland also holds a broadside elegy on John Leslie.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Date of publication: 1688   shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(002)
Broadside entitled 'Elegie'
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