Verse 1: 'When silent time wi' lightly foot / Had trod on thirty years, / My native home I sought again, / Wi' mony hopes and fears. / Wha kens gin the dear friends I left / Will still continue mine? / Or gin I e'er again shall meet / The joys I left langsyne'. The sheet carries no publication details.
'Traveller's Return' is narrated by a traveller who revisits his home after an estrangement of thirty years, and finds that all but one of his former friends has died. Travel and separation were two of the most common themes in broadside ballads. Often travellers were portrayed as romantic figures, but frequently the adventure and excitement of travelling was balanced, as in this case, with the idea that there is no place like home. In other ballads, reflecting historical reality in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, men might be forced to travel or emigrate to find work, or to join the armed forces, leaving their young families behind.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable period of publication:
1830-1850 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(215)
View larger image