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Broadside ballad entitled 'An Answer to the Assembly of Bum-bees'


This ballad begins: 'As snarling Momus sung descenting Bees; / That in Assemblies sat to civilize, / A wand'ring Wasp who lately lost his Sting, / By soaring higher then he'd Strength of Wing.'

Broadsides were often used as a vehicle of political agitation, due to their anonymity and the scope of the audience it could reach. This poem has even gone as far as cloaking many of the points it is raising and the people relating to them, in heavy symbolism and imagery. This, however, also adds to its entertainment value, as this was a ballad's first and foremost purpose. These were ephemeral even when published, but this is further illustrated by the fact that the symbolism and issues are now largely meaningless to today's audience.

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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shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(074)
Broadside ballad entitled 'An Answer to the Assembly of Bum-bees'
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