This ballad begins: 'Trust to luck, trust to luck, and stare fate in the face, / Sure the heart must be easy if it's in the right place; / Let the world wag away, let your friends turn to foes, / Let your pockets run dry and threadbare your clothes.' This broadside was published on Saturday, 12th August 1871 and priced at one penny. The publisher was the Poet's Box. The city of publication has been obscured but can be made out as Glasgow.
'Trust to Luck' is a song designed to raise the morale of its audience, encouraging people to remain open, positive and to 'stare fate in the face'. The song has similar sentiments to songs that became popular during the First World War, such as 'Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag' or 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'. Like the latter song, 'Trust to Luck' probably originated in music halls, which were the most popular sources of entertainment in Britain in the late nineteenth century.
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.
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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Date of publication:
1871 shelfmark: L.C.1269(174b)
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