This ballad begins: 'WHERE wholesom Pot-Herbs flourish all around, / And spring luxuriant from the fertile Ground, / Behind a Bush, whose scanty Leaves afford / A flight Defence, whilst loud the Cannons roar'd, / High o'er his Head, and whistling thro' the Air, / The lethal Bullets fly in [b]lack Despair, / Taylor on the cold Earth extended lay, / And thus himself bemoan'd - O luckless Day.'
The events referred to in this ballad took place during the Jacobite uprising of 1745. The Jacobite soldiers of Charles Edward Stewart, having taken control of most of Edinburgh, blockaded Edinburgh Castle, which was still occupied by a government garrison. After six days of siege, the garrison commander General Guest ordered a cannonade to be opened against the Jacobite soldiers, killing Jacobitres and citizens alike, but ultimately ending the blockade. Much of this ballad is narrated by Captain Taylor, a terrified Jacobite officer trapped in nearby Livingston's Yards, who laments taking part in the blockade.
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:
1745 shelfmark: S.302.b.2(120)
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