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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

XIV. Scottish Popular Poetry before Burns

§ 22. Literary value of the Jacobite Songs

Many of the songs—as is usually the case with political songs—are parodies of the popular ditties of the day; and, since many English songs were popular in Scotland in the eighteenth century, various Jacobite songs of Scottish origin were parodies of English songs and sung to English airs. It is thus not always easy to distinguish between songs of English and songs of Scottish origin, although the context is an assistance to a decision; and, in the case of broadsides, there is usually little difficulty. Some interesting broadsides are included in Ebsworth’s Roxburghe Ballads, vols. VII and VIII; but a good many are still only to be found in private or public collections. In regard to those in MS. collections, the apprehensions of Hogg were far from groundless: there is an embarrassment, and it is not one of riches. The merit of most is very slight; but an editor of a very patient and laborious temperament might, under the auspices of some learned society, be able to collect a considerable number of more or less interest. As for Hogg’s edition, it would be very difficult not to spoil it in any attempt at re-editing.