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Broadside ballad entitled 'The Pearl of the Irish Nation'


This ballad begins: 'HArd was my Lot for to be shot / By Cupits Cunning Arrows, / Both Night and Day I fall away, / Through perfit grief and Sorrow, / To the Hills and Deals I oft Reveal, / And breaths forth my Lamentation, / Which I endure for that Virgin pure, / The pearel of the Irish Nation.' The text above the title reads, 'An Excellent new Song lately composed'.

Although the ballad was to be sung 'To its own proper New Tune', no musical notation has been provided. This was not unusual, as many of the songs and melodies that featured on broadsides were already well-known amongst the populace and, therefore, such information was unnecessary. Also, at a time when few people could read, even fewer could interpret musical scores. Most people familiarised themselves with songs and melodies by carefully listening.

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: 1700-1710   shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(140)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Pearl of the Irish Nation'
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