This ballad begins: 'ALL you that would hear of a merry jest, / Come listen to what I say: / For a Woman to have her Will is best, / and always to bear the Sway.' A note below the title states that this dialogue was to be sung 'To 'its own Proper new Tune'. Unfortunately, no publication details are included on the sheet.
Illustrated with two woodcuts of a man raising his glass and a woman dressed in her apron, this is a light-hearted ballad that muses on the belief that, for a marriage to succeed, the woman must have full control over what happens in the household. After outlining the thrust of his argument, the writer (most likely a male) then goes on to list a number of domestic episodes to show what works best in a marriage, in order to support his stated argument. Despite this amusing argument that the woman should 'wear the trousers' in a house, women hardly had any rights at all during this era. Consequently, it would be interesting to know what the female readership thought of this broadside.
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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1720- shelfmark: RB.l.106(074)
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