The first ballad begins: '[I am] going for a soldier, Jenny, / Going o'er the rolling sea'. The second ballad begins: 'Ye braw decent women I'll sing you a song, / Of the wit of the auld and the pride of the young'. The third ballad begins: 'The sea was brigh and the bark rode well, / The breeze bore the tone of the vesper bell'. The fourth ballad begins: 'The flowers are blooming Katty Darling, / And the birds are singing on each tree'.
The four ballads here are printed on one broadside headed 'Harmonist'. Although it was not uncommon for more than one ballad to appear on a broadside, the separate title for the sheet suggests that this may be one of a series of broadside songsheets entitled 'Harmonist', that made several different songs available in every issue. There are, however, no publication details or issue numbers printed on the broadside to verify this.
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:
1860-1880 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(143)
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