This ballad begins: 'Brittania the gem of the ocean, / The home of the brave and the free, / The shrine of each patriot's devotion, / This world offers homage to thee.' The sheet was published by McIntosh, of 96 King Street, Calton, which is probably Glasgow. A woodcut of a sailing ship adorns the top of the sheet.
This ballad celebrates the British Navy's achievements in war at sea, and highlights especially those achieved under Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). Nelson commanded the Navy throughout the French Revolutionary War and in the early stages of the Napoleonic War. The 'Red, White and Blue' refers to the British flag, the Union Jack.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable date published:
1849 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(015)
View larger image