This political ballad begins: 'The Tories they have had their day / The lang-tongued Whigs have had their say'. The chorus begins: 'Here's a Health to Aytoun, / Health and wealth to Aytoun'. A note below the title states that the ballad should be sung to the tune 'Carle an' the King Come'. Although there are no publication details included on this sheet, the reference to Jamie Aytoun suggests that it was most likely published in Edinburgh during the 1830s.
Illustrated with a woodcut of three cronies drinking a toast, this 'Age of Party' political pamphlet is dedicated to the principles of James Aytoun (1797-1881). During the 1830s, Aytoun was a member of the Radical Party who unsuccessfully stood for election in Edinburgh. The writer criticises the Whigs and Tories for being corrupt, and proclaims that 'honest Aytoun' is the solution to the electorate's woes. The National Library of Scotland's collection contains a number of broadsides that report on political contests in Edinburgh during the 1830s, many of which refer to Aytoun.
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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