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Broadside entitled 'Elegy'


The memorial notice begins: ' ELEGY / On the much to be lamented Death, / OF / Lord Alexander Ross, Bishop of Edinburgh. / Who departed this Life March the 27th 1720'. The elegy begins: 'OH Cruel Death, what's thy Rage or Intent? / To robe the Church, or make in her such Rent? / Could nothing pasify thy Rage but he, / Who was a Patron of a high Degree?'

Eighteenth-century broadside elegies such as this one, used death as a public occasion for restating and reinforcing values of the community. The dead most often provided a moral lesson, serving either as an example of a good Christian death or as a warning to sinners. Bishop Ross is obviously in the former category and is hailed for his piety and humility.

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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Date of publication: 1720   shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(064)
Broadside entitled 'Elegy'
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