The first ballad begins: 'O, the bright beaming queen o' night, / Shines in yon flow'ry vale'. The second ballad begins: 'As I went out a walking one morning in May, / I met a pretty Irish girl by chance upon the way'. The third ballad begins: 'Begone dull care, I prithee begone from me, / Begone dull care, for you and I shall never agree'. The sheet carries no publication details. It is illustrated with two woodcuts.
Of the three songs included here, by far the best known is 'Begone Dull Care'. The song was reprinted and anthologised many times and is still performed today. It has been traced back to at least the time of James VII and II (r.1685-89) but it is believed to be based on a French chanson that predates this. There are several songs known as 'Irish Molly O', and the one included on this sheet is not one of the better known versions.
This broadside was probably sold for a penny or a penny and a half. The inclusion of three ballads, and the woodcut illustrations, would probably have led to it being considered very good value at the time of its publication. Broadsides usually contained only one song or story and often featured little or no decoration.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable period of publication:
1850-1870 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(256)
View larger image