This ballad begins: 'One night I went up in a balloon, / On a voyage of discovery - to visit the moon, / Where an old man lives, so some people say - / "Through cutting of sticks on a Sunday".'
This whimsical and dream-like ballad waxes lyrically about a journey to visit the man in the moon, travelling there by hot air balloon. It is likely that this light-hearted ballad was written for a child, given the playful - yet educational - tone of the verses. After telling us about all the exciting things he saw during his fantastic journey, the writer breaks the magical spell by suddenly revealing that the whole episode was merely a dream. Many broadside ballads such as this one are held in the National Library of Scotland's collection.
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(63a)
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