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Broadside ballad entitled 'A New Song Called the Bridgeton Tradegy'


Verse 1 begins: 'Good people all of Glasgow, pray listen unto me, / Whilst I relate this woeful tale and mournful tragedy'. The woodcut at the top of this sheet shows an Irish leprechaun reading an outsize book.

This ballad addresses the common theme of innocence deceived, through the story of Jane and John. John, the rakish, moneyed blade, meets with the good and virtuous Jane in Glasgow, whereupon he persuades her into a relationship with him. He eventually drops her, but her despair is heightened by the knowledge of her pregnancy. The broadside ends on the practical, if not necessarily appropriate, scene of the girl's death in childbirth, the comment being that she no longer has to live in sin, while John, oblivious to the misery he caused, continues with his life.

Broadsides, cheap and accessible, were often used as moral forums with 'lessons of life' included in the narrative. Broadside authors tended to see themselves as moral guardians and teachers in society. As such, publishers often disseminated 'educational' texts outlining the social and personal consequences of undisciplined or immoral behaviour.

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Probable period of publication: 1850-1860   shelfmark: RB.m.169(032)
Broadside ballad entitled 'A New Song Called the Bridgeton Tradegy'
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