This ballad begins: 'A Wake now Muse, and so Peruse / Thy self now in this bit of time / Help me to use and abuse / Some sense now in this piece of Ryme; / And so to Write, that no debate, / May after Threaten, Hurt or Kill.'
Broadsides were cheap to produce and sell. Production of them focused on variety and speed, not necessarily accuracy and quality. and as a result the printing process was quick and changed often. Broadside sales were usually made on the street and were purchased mainly from sellers or chapmen. They often sang the songs or chanted the titles out to attract attention. That in itself must have been a colourful entertainment!
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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