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Broadside ballad entitled 'Gathering the Sweet Mistletoe'


Verse 1: 'Now, often I'm asked why I'm always so sad / When jolly King Christmas is near, / And why I prefer the country to town / At this happy time of the year? / Just listen, I'll tell you, 'twas at Christmas I fell / In love with my dear little Lou, / In a dear country glade when together we strayed / Gathering the sweet mistletoe.' A note under the title informs the readers that the ballad was 'Sung with immense success by TOM BOWLING'.

At the bottom of this particular broadside an advertisement listing a number of other songs to be had at the Poet's Box is included. Broadsides featuring songs and ballads were always extremely popular with the public. Usually bought for one penny, the song could be memorised and passed on to countless others. Although the literacy rate at this time was extremely low, songs could easily be memorised upon hearing.

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(116a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Gathering the Sweet Mistletoe'
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