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Broadside ballad entitled 'Huzzah for Aytoun'


The first verse begins: 'Come all Reformers brave and free, / All honest men come join with me, / And pitch your voice on the highest key, / To sing - Huzza for Aytoun!' Advertised as 'A New Song', it was to be sung to the tune 'The Arethusa'. This broadside includes a woodcut illustration of a man and woman - both of whom appear to be merrily drunk - walking arm in arm.

Unlike the majority of political broadsides, the publisher of this piece has deemed it necessary to include a number of explanatory notes at the bottom of the page. Whilst the information was obviously intended for the readers of the day, it is particularly helpful to a modern-day audience. As political broadsides often assumed a certain degree of knowledge amongst the readership, the subject matter can at times appear impenetrable to today's reader. James Ayton or Aytoun (1797-1881) was prominent in Edinburgh politics in the 1840s.

Broadsides are often crudely illustrated with woodcuts - the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Likely date of publication: 1810-1830   shelfmark: RB.m.143(037)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Huzzah for Aytoun'
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