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Broadside ballad entitled 'I'm Afloat, I'm Afloat'


This ballad begins: 'I'm afloat, I'm afloat, on the fierce rolling tide, / The ocean's my home and my bark is my bride; / Up, up with my flag, let it wave o'er the sea: / I'm afloat, I'm afloat, and the Rover is free.' The sheet was printed by J. Bowie of Causeyside, Paisley.

A detailed, though not very well printed, woodcut adorns the top of this sheet. It illustrates the ballad's themes of virility and belligerence well. It features a well-dressed young man wearing a long sword around his waist and carrying a shorter sword in his right hand. Behind him is a low wall, against which rests a large anchor and a cannon. Beyond the wall lies the sea, and a large war ship and a lightouse are visible.

Woodcuts are the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Probable period of publication: 1830-1860   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(004)
Broadside ballad entitled 'I'm Afloat, I'm Afloat'
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