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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Evils of War Or, The Ruined Family'


Verse 1: ''Twas Just as the sun sank down at the gloamin', / The west sky was bright with his soft setting beam; / I heard the sad song of a poor lonely woman, / As she rocked to and fro, by the Clyde's noble stream.'

This touching and heartfelt ballad is from the point of view of a mother who has received word that her son is dead. It appears that he was fighting in the Crimean War (1854-6), and was killed during the bombardment of Odessa. She is also grieving for her daughter, who died of a broken heart following the departure of her sweetheart - who is also fighting in the war. This ballad not only conveys the woman's tremendous sense of loss, it also highlights the futility of war and its full impact on the individuals involved.

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 period of publication: 1854-1856   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(102)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Evils of War Or, The Ruined Family'
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