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Broadside entitled 'An Elegy'


This memorial notice begins: 'Who departed this Life January 20th, 1718. / WHY, why dull Poets of this canker'd Age, / Affright you young Beginners with your Rage?' The elegy begins: 'Why, why dull Poets of this canker'd Age'.

This poem, due to its lack of contextual information, is a little difficult to understand. The only real record of Lucky Gibson left for posterity seems to be this broadside. From some of the scenarios and language used here, it would appear that Lucky kept a 'house of ill-repute'. It is implied that now this service had been withdrawn from the community there would be a vacuum in the leisure market. Surprisingly for broadside literature it is not judgmental in tone.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information often for entertainment, such as memorials and eulogies. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Although many of the people are now lost to researchers, their stories offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in.

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Date of publication: 1718   shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(037)
Broadside entitled 'An Elegy'
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