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Broadside entitled 'Groans from the Dungeon'


This lamentation begins: 'MORTALS on various projects bent, / Attend the mournful cry, / Nor scorn the melancholy plaint / Of him condemn'd to die.' It was printed by Thomas Duncan, of the Saltmarket in Glasgow.

It is unlikely that this 'lamentation' was really written by Peter Gray. Lamentations of the condemned were common topics in broadsides, following a typical formula that involved renouncing sin, repenting and asking for God's and the public's forgiveness. The ghost-writers were probably broadside journalists, or else churchmen who had attended the condemned. The melodramatic title of this example suggests that its author had higher poetic ambitions.

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 period of publication: 1810-1830   shelfmark: 6.314(20)
Broadside entitled 'Groans from the Dungeon'
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