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Broadside ballad entitled 'Freedom and Learmonth Must Carry the Day'


This ballad begins: 'All honest electors of this our fair town, / Come listen to me, and I plainly will shew / How an impudent Lawyer, with wig and with gown, / By a good man and true, shall soon be laid low'. It was advertised as a new song and was to be sung to the tune, 'Lillibulero'. A small illustration of a horse and cart crossing a bridge has been included at the top of the sheet.

This song is referring to John Learmonth who was the owner of the Dean Estate, and Lord Provost of Edinburgh in the early 1830s. He is perhaps best remembered for funding the construction of the Dean Bridge, which was built by Thomas Telford in 1831. Here, he is being hailed as an acceptable alternative to the corrupt power of 'an impudent Lawyer, with wig and with gown'.

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(098)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Freedom and Learmonth Must Carry the Day'
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