Verse 1: 'WHen my dearest Dear did first appear, / I bless'd the time that I had found her: / Her beauty did my Heart inchear, / But now alas we two must sinder!' This should be sung 'To the Tune of Wo's my Heart that we should sinder'. Here 'sinder' is the poet's or printer's orthography for sunder, meaning to part.
This ballad is narrated by a man who regrets the fact that his marriage has failed because of his wife's jealousy. Throughout the poem he maintains that he has remained faithful, and that his wife's jealousy is unfounded. Initially it seems that the narrator is merely lamenting parting from his wife, but by verses ten and eleven a more tragic aspect emerges, as it becomes apparent that this ballad is a suicide note: 'But yet alas! I must be gone, / I'm glad to die before we sinder.'
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 date of publication:
1701 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(027)
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