The Gude and Godlie Ballatis

The Gude and Godlie Ballatis

Edited by Alasdair A. MacDonald


Scottish Text Society



New edition of a collection of songs and ballads from sixteenth-century Scotland, shedding important new light on the English and Scottish Reformation.
The Gude and Godlie Ballatis is a collection of religious lyrics from the early years of the Scottish Reformation. It was a highly popular, if controversial, volume, was often reprinted, and is considered one of the most important literary works of vernacular Scots from the period. It contains translations of a number of Psalms, but most of the contents consist of shorter songs and ballads, many of which have been adapted from a secular to a spiritual use.
The previous edition of the collection dates from 1897. The new edition not only revises the information given there, but presents the text of the earliest print (1565), which was unknown to the previous editor. The textual development of the collection through the various printings is studied, and is related to the changing historical, political, literary, cultural and theological contexts of Reformation Scotland. The editor addresses questions of authorship, transmission, source material, and the use and significance of these lyrics. Drawing on recent work in book history and English psalmody, as well as a deep knowledge of Older Scots lyric, he demonstrates the close connections between the collection and Continental hymnody, as well as interactions with English and Scots lyric, both sacred and profane.

Alasdair A. MacDonald is Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature of the Middle Ages, University of Groningen.


September 2015
1 black and white illustrations
425 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
Scottish Text Society
Scottish Text Society Fifth Series
ISBN: 9781897976418
Format: Hardback
Scottish Text Society
BISAC LIT004120, POE002000, REL052000
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Table of Contents

Witnesses (printed)
Witnesses (manuscript)
Supposed witnesses
Changes in contents
Printing history
Sources of texts
The Wedderburns
Textual transfers
The archaeology of the collection
The GGB and literature
Cultural significance
The value of 1565 GGB
Previous editions
Text criticism
Early fortunes of the GGB: some hypotheses
The language of the GGB
Treatment of Text
Appendix: The Lamentatioun of a Sinner

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