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Broadside ballad entitled 'Lottie Lane'


Verse 1: 'Oh! once I was gay as the lark in May, / And my young heart beat in tune; / While my way was bright, and my step was light / As the linnet's wing in June; / but sad and alone in my grief I've grown, / And all day I now complain, / For I've lost every bliss in a world like this, / Buried deep is sweet Lottie Lane.' This song was to be sung to an 'Original' tune and was priced at one penny. It was published on Saturday, 2nd July 1870 by the Poet's Box, probably in Glasgow.

'Lottie Lane' is a touching but unremarkable song mourning the death of a loved one. Of more historical interest is some of the text surrounding the poem. Although the city of publication has been obscured in this broadside, the additional text matches text in broadsides from the Glasgow Poet's Box that are held by the National Library of Scotland. The Glasgow Poet's Box was not only a publisher and supplier of broadsides: as the adverstisement reveals here, it would also provide 'Letters and Petitions?on the most moderate terms'. In an era when adult literacy was lower than it is today, this was an important service.
The Poet?s Box in Glasgow operated from 1849 to 1911. Matthew Leitch was the proprietor at 6 St. Andrew Lane?s, a narrow street on the south side of Gallowgate, from 1850 to 1858. His son William Munsie Leitch worked at the same address from 1859 to 1865 and at varous addresses in London Street until 1911. Many of the broadsides published by the Glasgow Poet?s Box were dated and some carried advertisements, not just for printed items but also for shoe blacking and ?soap for lovers?! Like the other ?boxes? in Dundee and Edinburgh, the Glasgow one sold love songs, sea shanties, parodies and dialogues. It is not clear what the connection between the different Poet?s Boxes were. They almost certainly sold each other?s sheets. It is known that John Sanderson in Edinburgh often wrote to the Leitches in Glasgow for songs and that later his brother Charles obtained copies of songs from the Dundee Poet?s Box. There was also a Poet?s Box in Belfast from 1846 to 1856 at the address of the printer James Moore, and one in Paisley in the early 1850s owned by William Anderson.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Date of publication: 1870   shelfmark: L.C.1269(156a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Lottie Lane'
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