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Broadside entitled 'Murder: An Elegy'


This memorial notice begins: 'An Elegy on the lamented Death of Alexander Cairns, who was barbarously murder'd on Thursday last'. The elegy begins: 'WHat dismal News approach our listning Ears, / Which fills our Hearts with Grief, our Eyes with Tears.' Handwritten on the sheet is the date 'Aug 15th 1728'.

Compared with the majority of other illustrated broadsides, which merely boast a small woodcut above the title, this broadside contains a large amount of illustrative detail. This detail can also be found on an elegy lamenting the death of the Rev. John Wilson. Whilst there are no publication details printed on either elegy, it is possible they were issued by the same publisher. It was common practice for broadside producers to reuse their, often limited, stock of woodcut illustrations.

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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Probable date published: 1728   shelfmark: RB.l.106(087)
Broadside entitled 'Murder: An Elegy'
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