This ballad begins: 'Provock'd at length by such unhumane Spite, / Such sordid Stuff, we're now compelled to write; / And who'd complain, when some so void of Sence, / Attempt to ridicule that sacred Fence . . . '
Judging by the title of this light-hearted ballad, it must have been a reply to some previous broadsides that caused offence to the fairer sex. In response, the writer highlights many aspects of male behaviour that show men to be creatures of ridicule. Particularly delightful is the imaginative manner in which the usual epic and heroic metaphors (Hercules) employed in much eighteenth century poetry, are subverted for humorous and satirical effect. The tone and style of this ballad, combined with the use of rhyming couplets, is strongly reminiscent of the writings of poets such as Alexander Pope.
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 date published:
1715- shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(116)
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