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Broadside ballad entitled 'Peter's Picture for a Bawbee'


Verse 1: 'SIR Peter Curlew - we maun reason wi' you, / Ye meddle sae sair an' sae aft wi' the Frees, / And were ye review'd and as keenly pursu'd, / We'll tell you what we wad discern if ye please. / Amidst a' your cunnin' an' science in punin', / Your stock o' impudence an' columns o' lies, / We come to the sequal - ye hinna an equal / Mair greedy an gabby to gather Bawbees.' The sheet carries no publication details.

This ballad condemns a newspaper writer or publisher, Sir Peter Curlew, who has been repeatedly attacking or mocking members of the Free Church in print. Curlew is accused of 'dealing in scandal', a criticism that is still frequently levelled at the press in Britain. The author of 'Peter's Picture for a Bawbee' was Alexander Rodger (1784-1846), a native of Midlothian who gave up an apprenticeship as a handloom weaver to work on a Glasgow newspaper, named 'The Sprit of the Union', in 1819. The newspaper was suppressed for sedition, but Rodger found employment writing for the 'Reformers Gazette'. Rodger is best remembered for songs and poems that were political in tone but retained a sense of humour.

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: 1843-1846   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(239)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Peter's Picture for a Bawbee'
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