This ballad begins: 'Now since you've call'd me for a song / If you will give attention, / General Garibaldi is the theme, / To you I'm going to mention.' The chorus reads: 'I was never fond of telling lies, / My name is Pat M'Salday, / He was afraid of our Irish boys, / Was General Garibaldi.'
This ballad pokes fun at the Italian general and political leader, Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-82). Despite Garibaldi's status as a revolutionary hero, Pat McSalday is far from impressed by this leading light from the campaign for Italian unificiation. During 1862 and 1867, Garibaldi led two unsuccessful campaigns to liberate Rome from papal rule. In response to these efforts, many impassioned Irishmen travelled to Europe to fight in defence of papal power. Their reaction to Garibaldi's endeavours possibly explains the disparaging tone of this ballad.
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:
1860-1870 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(088)
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