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Broadside ballad entitled 'A New Song on the Dear Times'


Verse 1 begins: 'Good people pay attention / To these my humble rhymes, / About the state of Trade, / And those shocking dear times'. This poem was written by John Wilson, Glasgow. The sheet was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow.

It is relatively unusual to find an author's name attached to a broadside as most of the sheets remained anonymous. This was a trade-off as it was cheap and quick to have work published this way. It was likely that John Wilson was the compiler of 'The songs of Scotland' published in the early 1840s. He is the subject of another song of this site 'Scotia's dirge' which laments his death in 'America' (probably QuebecCity ) in 1849. Wilson was best known as a tenor, successful in Covent Garden and Drury Lane, London and throughout the eastern seaboard of North America.

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: 1850-1860   shelfmark: RB.m.169(035)
Broadside ballad entitled 'A New Song on the Dear Times'
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