The first verse reads: 'AT rest on a sofa the --- --- was laid, / Not asleep --- yet a drowziness over him hung ; / Some say that he thought on his bills yet unpaid, / But the notion at this time was certainly wrong.' Unfortunately, no publication details have been included.
This verse appears to recount a resurrectionist's encounter with the devil, during which the devil states 'I came just to tell ye, the doctors are writing, / And thinking to ruin both us and our cause'. Whilst the resurrectionist appears horrified by the spectre in front of him, the devil considers them 'True brothers'. Resurrectionists, also known as body-snatchers, were particularly feared and reviled by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century society. Their crime involved removing bodies from fresh graves and selling them for dissection. The resurrectionist in this verse is obviously plagued by a guilty conscience, which manifests itself in his dreams.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
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Probable period of publication:
1820-1830 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(043)
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