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Broadside ballad entitled 'A Pointed and Poetic Appeal to the People!'


This ballad begins: 'Will the people submit to the horrid disgrace, / Than which I can't fancy a greater, / Of a Member whose nose is agee on his face, / (And his principles not one whit straighter;)'. 'Agee' in this instance means 'crooked'. A woodcut illustration of a carriage pulled by a team of horses decorates the top of this sheet.

This ballad takes the form of an open attack against the Tories and the candidate chosen to represent them in an upcoming election. The candidate in question was the renowned Edinburgh merchant, John Learmonth. Owner of the Dean Estate and Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1832), Learmonth stood for parliament as the Tory candidate for Edinburgh in the mid-nineteenth century. He is perhaps best remembered for funding the construction of the Dean Bridge in 1831. In fact, in the fourth verse of this ballad, his nose is disparagingly compared to his beloved bridge: 'And then see its bridge! What a terrible height! / So towering! fleshless! and lean! / Just almost as high, altho' not perhaps quite, / As its counterpart over the Dean!'

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(105)
Broadside ballad entitled 'A Pointed and Poetic Appeal to the People!'
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