Verse 1: 'I am the king of sporting blades, / In Dublin city used to abide, / For courting the pretty fair maids, / Both far and near; / I have been in Italy and, / I have been in France and Spain, / Sicily and Germany, / And now I am back home again.'
This risque ballad tells the story of a lowly soldier who, due to his legendary prowess with his sword, ends up working as a personal servant for the colonel's wife. Although this promotion might sound like a step up in the world, the jealous colonel ends up shooting the soldier in the groin. The ballad is ribald and highly camp in tone, with innuendo and double entendres dominating throughout.
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:
1880-1900 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(133b)
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