This ballad begins: 'As I was walking one evening of late, / When Flora's gay mantle the fields decorate, / I carelessly wandered where I did not know, / On the banks of a fountain that lies in Glencoe.' Two woodcut illustrations decorate this sheet, one of a man and a woman in a rural setting and the other of a young woman on her own.
Donald's wanderings bring him into contact with a young woman named Flora. Upon talking to her, he realises that the young woman is awaiting the return of her sweetheart, also called Donald, from the wars in Europe. The ballad ends on a happy note, with her realisation that the stranger she is confiding in is none other than her beloved Donald. Another broadside in the National Library of Scotland's collection, entitled 'The Massacre of Glencoe', which features two characters of the same name, sadly does not have such a happy ending!
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:
1830-1850 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(206)
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