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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Contented Wife and her Satisfied Husband'


Verse 1: 'You married people high and low, come listen to my song, / I'll show to you economy and not detain you long, / In this town lived a tradesman, who wished to see all things right, / And to accoant 'a t Monday morn he called his loving wife.' This ballad was published by Muir, but the city and date of publication are not cited.

Many broadside ballads were concerned with the social roles men and women were expected to play. In ballads dealing with courtship, women were usually cast as the guardians of moral propriety while men were shown as hopelessly in thrall to their impulses. Ballads dealing with husbands and wives sometimes portrayed marriage as a battleground or a contest of wits, but this example reaffirms patriarchal roles where the man is the breadwinner and the woman manages the household. It is likely that this ballad originated in the Victorian period (1837-1901) where songs and poems celebrating and reinforcing women's domestic responsibilities were common.

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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Likely period of publication: 1840-1860   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(138a)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Contented Wife and her Satisfied Husband'
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