Verse 1: 'Since nought can satisfy the Wrath / Of these my Foes, but only Death / Before that I the world leave / My Confession ye's get, I believe / It wad be tedious to narrate / Each single Sin I did create / Because that they seem to be more / Than Sand that is on the Sea Shore...' The name of the publisher is not included.
This broadside ballad claims to be written from the viewpoint of Mrs McLeod, who was sentenced to death for committing forgery. In contrast to another broadside on the same subject in which she protests her innocence, this sheet provides readers with a detailed inventory of her crimes. The answer to this puzzle is that Mrs McLeod most likely did not write either of these broadsides. Instead, both sheets were probably written by experienced broadside writers who knew that crime sells and were looking for different angles on the same story. These broadsides are held in the National Library of Scotland's collection.
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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