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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Child's Dream: A Story of Heaven'


Verse 1: 'Before a lonely cottage once, / With climbing roses gay, / I stood one summer's eve to watch / Two children at their play: / All round the garden walks they ran, / Filling the air with glee, / Till they were tired and sat them down / Beneath an old oak tree.' This broadside was published by J. Scott of Pittenweem in Fife, and sold by J. Wood of Edinburgh.

'The Child's Dream' is a dialogue between two children, in which they discuss how much better it would be to be in heaven than on earth. At the end of the poem it is revealed that the next winter, the two children and their mother were taken to be with their father in heaven. To most modern sensibilities this ballad would probably seem in quite bad taste, but in the late nineteenth century similar sentiments were commonly found in popular culture, especially among those writing 'Kailyard' literature, such as Ian Maclaren and J.M. Barrie.

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: 1843-1855   shelfmark: L.C.1260(181a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Child's Dream: A Story of Heaven'
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