This ballad begins: 'Come all ye knight templars that blest round the globe, / That wear the badge of honour, I mean the royal robe; / For Noah he wire it in the ark where he stood, / When the world was destroyed by a deluge flood.' It is undated but was probably printed in the mid-19th century.
This poorly printed broadside seems to relate to the Freemasons. There is another copy of the same text in the Library's collection which is illustrated with masonic symbols, but the illustration here bears little relation to the text.
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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