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Broadside ballad entitled 'Diana Kitty Annie Maria'


This ballad begins: ''Twas in the month of June, when the birds were in full tune, / I first met a charming little creature, / Hey eyes they shone as bright as the twinkling stars at night, / And a kind smile played on every feature.' A note below the title states that ' Copies of this highly popular song can only be had in the Poet's Box', (probably Glasgow) and that the sheet cost one penny. A further note mentions that the ballad should be sung to an original tune.

Set in Glasgow, this romantic ballad is written from the viewpoint of a young man who was been thunderstruck by the grace and beauty of a young woman called Diana Kitty Annie Maria, whom he encountered while out walking. Madly in love with his sweetheart, the young suitor proceeds to describe the various places in Glasgow that he and his beloved have visited, plus the favourable reaction that Diana's beauty has aroused in Glasgow. The stricken suitor concludes his tale by telling his audience about his ambitious plans to marry Diana, and the number of children he hopes they will have together.
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: 1864   shelfmark: L.C.1269(172b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Diana Kitty Annie Maria'
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