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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Gallant Admiral'


The first verse reads: 'Come awa, my gallant chield, / Ye canna come too early, / For Bruce o' Kennet's i' the field, / Keep back the Tory, Charlie.' The chorus begins: 'Come quickly hither, gang round & gather, / Try the canvassing fairly'. The song was to be sung to the tune, 'Wha'll be King but Charlie'.

As political broadsides often assumed a certain degree of knowledge amongst the readership, the subject matter can at times appear impenetrable to today's reader. The context of this highly-politicised ballad, however, is made clear by references to the corn laws, slavery, the church and free trade. The National Library of Scotland's collection includes many political ballads, a large number of which date from the nineteenth century - a time many claim was infected by 'reform fever'.

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: 1820-1840   shelfmark: APS.3.94.10
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Gallant Admiral'
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