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Broadside entitled 'An Elegy'


This memorial notice begins: 'An Elegy On the much to be Lamented Death, of the Reverend, Mr Joseph Foord. Minister of the Gospel at Edinburgh, who Departed this Life July the 15th, 1719. In the 26th, Year of his Age.' The elegy begins: 'O Death, why Tyrranisest thou in they Might? / Why so sever, to strick so choice a Weight?'

Whilst numerous elegies were published lamenting the deaths of such high-profile figures as kings and queens, politicians and national heroes, this broadside indicates that elegies for lesser-known local figures also proved popular amongst the public. As a minister in Edinburgh, Joseph Foord would have known a relatively large number of people who, upon his tragic death, would have been only too willing to part with a penny and purchase this elegy.

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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Likely date of publication: 1719-1721   shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(010)
Broadside entitled 'An Elegy'
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