The verse begins: 'Ye Muses nine with me combine, / Assist my slender quill, / I hope you'll pay attention, / To every line I fill; / My name is Pat McGuire, / How can I it conceal, / By the cruelty of Mary Caze, / I lie in Lifford Jail.' In other versions of this ballad Pat McGuire appears as Pat Maguire, and Mary Caze is referred to as Mary Kays or Mary Keys.
Pat McGuire calls on the nine Muses of Greek mythology to assist him in telling his tale. Wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit by 'Mary Caze', as revenge for refusing to marry her, McGuire ends up thrown in Lifford Jail. The truth does out, however, and McGuire is soon set free to pursue his ambition of serving the Church of Rome. The ballad of Pat McGuire appears on another broadside contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection, along with an illustrative woodcut and publishing details. Printed beside another item which bears the date '9 July 1832'.
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 period of publication:
1832 shelfmark: L.C.1268
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