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Broadside ballad entitled 'Maggie Lauder'


Verse 1: 'WHA wadna be in love / Wi' bonnie Maggie Lauder? / A Piper met her gaun to Fife, / And spier'd what was't they ca'd her? / Right scornfully she answered him, / Begone, ye hallan-shaker! / Jog on your gate, you blather skate, / My name is Maggie Lauder.' 'Hallanshaker' is Scots for a 'rascal' or 'beggar' and 'blather skate' or 'blatherskite' is a person who talks nonsense. This broadside was published by Simms and McIntyre of Donegall Street, Belfast, and includes an unusually large and detailed illustration.

Although this ballad bears no attribution, it is purported to be by Francis Sempill (c.1616-1682) of Beltrees, Renfrewshire. Francis was also responsible for such works as 'The Blythsome Bridal' and 'The Banishment of Povertie'. The reference to 'Habbie Simpson' in the final verse was in recognition of the popular ballad, 'The Life and Death of Habbie Simpson, Piper in Kilbarchan', which was written by Francis' father, Robert Sempill (c.1595-c.1665).

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 published: 1825   shelfmark: S.302.b.2(094)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Maggie Lauder'
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