The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside ballad entitled 'Whistle my Love and I'll Come Down'


This ballad begins: PEGGY's a maid both kind and fair / and Peggy is dear to Johnnie, / And none in all Scot'and here or there / None is so blythe and bonny'. The broadside was published by John Pitts at the Toy Warehouse, 6 Great St Andrew Street, in the Seven Dials area of London.

'Whistle my Love and I'll Come Down' is a Scottish ballad about the love between 'Peggy' and 'Johnny'. Peggy is a very idealised romantic heroine, who is beautiful, kind, musical and humble. The refrain 'And Peggy has vowed their love to crown / O whistle my love and I'll come down, / and gang to the church with Johnny' suggests that Peggy has agreed to marry Johnny, and will do so whenever he whistles. The whistle is a well-known roamantic sign that also features in the song 'Whistle and I'll Come To You, My Lad', by Robert Burns (1759-1796).

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.

previous pageprevious          
Probable period of publication: 1820-1845   shelfmark: RB.m.169(222)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Whistle my Love and I'll Come Down'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland