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Broadside ballad entitled 'Things I'd like to see'


This ballad begins: 'Come all you good people wherever you be / Of high and low station and every degree, / If you'll pay attention and listen to me - / I'll tell you a few things I'd like to see.'

This is a good example of the political use of the broadside genre. Many of the publications were anonymous and the author of the lyrics was likewise unknown. It often cost money to record these two pieces of information, and besides, these were the older equivalents of 'tomorrow's fish and chip wrappings'. The audience reached by broadsides was vast and fairly up to date on topical news due to the proliferation of publications. It means that much of the symbolism and shorthand is lost to us today but would have been immediately recognisable then. As a result this genre was an ideal forum for cutting-edge criticism and idealism.

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: 1880-1900   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(95a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Things I'd like to see'
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