This ballad begins: 'As I went to Mallinger Fair / with my Battel of Bear, / I met with young Peggie, / who's Beautie was clear. / Ratting a rew.' The text preceding it reads: 'OR, / The Female-Dear-Joy tricked of her Maiden-Head. / To a New Irish Tune.'
Although the words are written down on this sheet implying they would be read, many more, mainly illiterate, people would have had access to the information carried here. This was due to the public and group-based nature of broadside entertainment. As a result this song still exhibits features of the oral tradition, such as short verses and an easy repetitive chorus, so that it can be easily remembered. (Mallinger is probably an old spelling of Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland).
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:
1700 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(068)
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