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Broadside ballad entitled 'Kathleen O'More'


Verse 1: 'My love still I think I sae her once more; / But, alas! she has left me her loss to deplore, / My own little Kathleen, my poor little Kathleen, O.' This broadside was published by W.R. Walker of Royal Arcade, Newcastle, and sold by B. Stewart of Botchergate, Carlisle.

The woodcut illustrating this broadside shows a Scottish Highland soldier and a tartan-clad woman with a spinning wheel. The picture has no discernible connection to 'Kathleen O'More', which is a song narrated by an unidentified man lamenting the death of his sweetheart. The choice of illustration, particularly coming from an English publisher, suggests the extent to which Scottish Highland imagery became associated with romantic tragedy after the international successes of James Macpherson's 'Ossian' poems and Sir Walter Scott's 'Waverley' novels in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries.

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: 1870-1890   shelfmark: L.C.1269(88b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Kathleen O'More'
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