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

Broadside ballad entitled 'The Lowland Lovers'


Verse 1: 'Come all you Lowland lovers, and listen to my song, / A sad and dismal story, I will not keep you long; / Concerning a poor unhappy girl, distracted in her mind, / All for a brisk young sailor, no comfort can she find.' This broadside does not carry the name of its publisher, nor the place or date of publication.

'The Lowland Lovers' is a song narrated by a woman whose sweetheart has joined the navy and gone to sea. Love and separation are common themes in broadside ballads, and the separation usually involves a woman being left at home while her husband or fiancÚ either emigrates to find work, or joins the armed forces. It is ironic that, although in these ballads the army and navy seem to steal the men away, in some other ballads soldiers and sailors are portrayed as romantic heroes or figures of desire.

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: 1830-1850   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(208)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Lowland Lovers'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland