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Broadside ballad entitled 'A Woman is the Torment of Man'


Verse 1: 'You married men, I pray, come listen to my lay, / I will tell you the truth if I can; / You will by what I say, if attention you pay, / That a woman is the plague of a man.' This sheet was published by James Lindsay of Glasgow.

This ballad appears to be little more than a misogynist rant - although it could be intended as ironic. However, it does at least reveal much about the nature of society at the time, and how women were still tainted with causing the 'the Fall', our banishment from Eden and the subsequent concept of original sin. The anonymous writer does tone down his invective in the last verse, however, when he concedes that a sober wife is acceptable. The advertisement at the bottom of this sheet is especially interesting, as it gives a good illustration of the diversity that a broadside publisher could offer the public.

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: 1860-1890   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(3b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'A Woman is the Torment of Man'
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