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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Royal Shepherd's Happy Life'


This ballad begins: 'How sweet was the time when keeped our Flocks, / In Shades of the Mountains, and Coverts of Rocks?' This ballad is sung to the tune of 'The Yellow-hair'd Laddie: Or Jenney Milking the Ewes'.

This is the only extant occurrence of these three elements, these lyrics and two melodies, coming to together in one song. The melodies were old in the eighteenth century and had their own anonymous lyrics. Allan Ramsay (1686-1757), however, used the melody in his 'Tea-Table Miscellany' (1724-27), where he wrote another set of lyrics and included a further set. These are not the same as those carried on this broadside.

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(048)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Royal Shepherd's Happy Life'
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