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Broadside ballad entitled 'Watty and Meg, or the Wife Reformed'

Introduction:
This ballad begins: 'KEEN the frosty winds were blawing, / Deep the snaw had wreathed the ploughs, / Watty, waried a' day sawing, / Daunert down to Mungo Blue's.' Included at the top of the sheet is a woodcut illustration of a man and woman.
Image Rights Holder:
National Library of Scotland
Ref:
16314
Project:
749:Popular Print in Scotland, 1650-1850
Material:
Broadside
Dimensions:
189 x 248mm
Subject:
The author of 'Watty and Meg' is said to be the celebrated American ornithologist, Alexander Wilson (1766-1813). Born in Paisley, Scotland, Wilson left school at an early age to train as a weaver. He soon abandoned his apprenticeship to take up work as a pedlar and, inspired by the likes of Robert Burns, began to write his own poetry. After years of roving the countryside as a pedlar and working to survive, Wilson finally emigrated to America in the early 1790s. 'Watty and Meg' was written in 1791 and is generally considered to be one of his best works.
Who:
Alexander Wilson (author)
Watty (subject)
Meg (subject)
Mungo (associated)
National Library of Scotland (keeper of collection)
When:
After 1791 (likely date of publication)
Where:
The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Background:
The author of 'Watty and Meg' is said to be the celebrated American ornithologist, Alexander Wilson (1766-1813). Born in Paisley, Scotland, Wilson left school at an early age to train as a weaver. He soon abandoned his apprenticeship to take up work as a pedlar and, inspired by the likes of Robert Burns, began to write his own poetry. After years of roving the countryside as a pedlar and working to survive, Wilson finally emigrated to America in the early 1790s. 'Watty and Meg' was written in 1791 and is generally considered to be one of his best works.
Description:
This lengthy ballad follows the tale of Watty and Meg, a husband and wife. It opens with Watty complaining to his friend Mungo about his wife's 'confounded girning'. Mungo suggests that he should call her bluff and threaten to leave, thereby silencing her once and for all! Watty follows this advice and the ballad ends with Meg pleading with him to stay and pledging never to scold him again. Presented entirely from Watty's perspective, it says nothing of the trials of having a drunken husband.