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Broadside ballad entitled 'Bottom He Cam' Here to Woo. An Excellent New Song'


This political ballad begins: 'Bottom he cam' here to woo, / Ha, ha, the wooing o't; / Wi' him cam' the auld Whig crew, / Ha, ha, the wooing o't'. A note below the title states that the ballad should be sung to the air, 'Duncan Gray'. Although there are no publication details included on this sheet, the political context referred to suggests that it was most likely published in Edinburgh during the 1830s.

This irreverent broadside almost certainly relates to a political contest that took place in Edinburgh during the 1830s - hence the writer's frequent references to political 'wooing'. Unfortunately, however, the people mentioned in this ballad are not particularly well known figures, so it is difficult to place the broadside in its exact historical context. It is possible, however, that the Whig politician called 'Bottom' is a contemptuous allusion to the famous Edinburgh lawyer, writer and publisher, Henry Brougham (1778-1868). The National Library of Scotland's collection contains numerous political broadsides that report on elections in Edinburgh during the 1830s and 1840s.

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: 1830-1840   shelfmark: ABS.10.203.01(094)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Bottom He Cam' Here to Woo. An Excellent New Song'
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