Verse 1: 'A Blackbird, a Craw, a Swan, and a Lamb / Ae day wi' the Forrester met on the Sands ; / Says the yin to the ither, "the rabbits are thrang ; / "Could we no' get a day to gie them a bang?".' A chain-detail decorative border has been included on the sheet to increase its perceived value.
Broadsides were sold as the cheap and mass entertainment of their day. They were intended to be read out loud to groups of people in pubs, coffee houses and at home. As a result, the stories are often entertaining narratives, which cover topics which would have been instantly recognisable to many sections of the society they were published in. Hunting for birds and rabbits and the mention of crows and swans would probably have endeared this song to the audience quite quickly!
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 date of publication:
1880-1900 shelfmark: APS.4.90.37
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