The Wandering Shepherdess; or the Betrayed Damsel.



The Wandering Shepherdess; or the Betrayed Damsel.


Glasgow; Printed for the Booksellers.


1840-1850 per University of Glasgow Union Catalogue of Scottish Chapbooks


8 pages




woodcut image of young woman standing in front of a gate
9 printed at the bottom of the title-page


A rather shocking cautionary ballad meant to encourage young women to guard their virginity and not be coaxed by men into pre-marital relations. In the tale, a merchant’s daughter is courted by a squire’s son at Oxford. A marriage date is agreed upon by her family, but she allows herself to be talked into sleeping with him before they marry, after which he abandons her and disappears to London for two years. After he leaves her, she decides to go become a wandering shepherdess. Years later, her betrothed returns to Oxford where he is confronted by her parents, but he blames it on her own falsity. When he hears about a beautiful shepherdess in the country, he tracks down this beauty and, not recognizing her at first as his jilted lover, attempts to convince her to sleep with him. When he recognizes her and she refuses him, he comes back the next day and rapes and kills her and throws her body in a river. As a moral tragedy, her death is punishment for her original transgression, while her lover is tormented by the thought of what he has done, which drives him to his own deathbed, where he confesses to her father, which causes his death as well.


Oxford, England


Scottish Studies Collection, Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library

Is Referenced By

University of Glasgow Union Catalogue of Scottish Chapbooks


JPEG derived from master file, which was scanned from the original book in 24-bit color at 600 dpi in TIFF format using an Epson Expression 10000XL scanner. PDF from PDF-A file.




“The Wandering Shepherdess; or the Betrayed Damsel.,” Scottish Chapbooks, accessed February 18, 2019,


Social Bookmarking