This ballad begins: 'As I went out to my cot, at the close of the day, / About the beginning of June, / By a jessamine shade, I spy'd a fair maid, / And she sadly complain'd to the moon.' It was printed by T. Birt of Great St Andrew Street, London, and includes an advertisement.
Whilst this song relies heavily on the familiar and highly formulaic theme of tragic love found in so many traditional ballads, it does possess a poignancy that others often do not. The narrator upon retiring to bed one night overhears a young woman confiding her woes to the moon. Her grief and hopelessness are very real and combine with the poetic imagery to make this rather unassuming ballad quite memorable.
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:
1830-1850 shelfmark: RB.m.168(065)
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