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Broadside ballad entitled 'On the Banks of Allan Water'


Verse 1: 'On the banks of Allan Water / When the sweet spring-time did fall / Was the miller's lovely daughter, / Fairest of them all, / For his Brlde a soldier sought her, / And a winning tongue had he! / On the banks of Allan Water, / None so gay as she.' The broadside was published by the Poet's Box in Dundee. It does not carry a date of publication.

'On the Banks of Allan Water' is believed to have been written by Matthew Lewis (1775-1818), the English author, socialite and one-time member of parliament best known for his gothic novel 'The Monk'. Although Lewis was an Englishman, his song refers to a Scottish river, the Allan Water, which rises in the Ochil Hills and joins the Forth south of Bridge of Allan. The song became very popular and features in Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel 'Far From the Madding Crowd'.

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: 1880-1900   shelfmark: RB.m.143(211)
Broadside ballad entitled 'On the Banks of Allan Water'
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