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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Highland Laddie'


Verse 1: 'The Lawland Lads think they are fine, / But O they're vain and idly gawdy, / How much unlike that graceful Mien, / and manly Looks of my Highland Laddie: / O my bonny Highland Laddie, / my handsome smiling Highland Laddie / may Heav'n still guard and love reward, / the Lawland Lass and her Highland Laddie.' The text below the title reads 'Set by Mar Arne and Sung by Mt Mattocks at the Theatre RL. In Drury Lane'.

The music for this ballad was arranged by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778), composer of 'Rule Britannia', who arranged other ballads in the National Library of Scotland's collection. This dates the ballad to some time in the mid-eighteenth century. The fact that the song was performed at the prestigious Theatre Royal in Drury Lane reflects a burgeoning English interest in Scottish Highland culture that was to increase dramtically with the success of Sir Walter Scott's 'Waverley' novels after 1814.

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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Period of publication: 1740-1770   shelfmark: S.302.b.2(163)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Highland Laddie'
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