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Broadside ballad entitled 'The young damosels complain[t]'


This ballad begins: 'The Carle came hirpling ov'r a tree / With many fair fleetching good days and good deens to me.' The text preceding the ballad reads: 'For being slighted by a Youngman in a Palmers Weed. / To the Tune of the, Gaberluingie Man'.

Very little information is known about the lyrics to this ballad but there is a similar ballad dated c.1680 entitled 'The West-Country Damosels Complaint'. As with all narratives in the oral tradition there was scope for changing details to interest the audience. As these changes are retold they become established in the tradition, but with no record of the change. There is a ballad known as the 'Gaberlunzie-man' which was first written down in 1724. Both songs have similar themes.

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: 1701-   shelfmark: S.302.b.2(022)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The young damosels complain[t]'
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