The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside ballad entitled: 'The Books of the Bible, a Literary Curiosity'


This ballad begins: 'In Genesis the world was made by God's creative hand; / In Exodus the Hebrews marched to gain the Promised Land. / Leviticus contains the law - holy, and just, and good; / Numbers records the tribes enrolled - all sons of Abraham?s blood.' The sheet was published by L. Macartney at the The Poet?s Box, 184 Overgate, Dundee. Its date of publication is not included.

This is a summary of some of the principal events in the books of the Bible, laid out chronologically and in verse form. All sixty-six books are mentioned, and the ballad is divided into two verses echoing the division of the Bible into the Old and New Testaments. The ballad was probably written as an act of devotion, but also perhaps as a way to help Christians remember the names, events and sequence of the books of the Bible. In the nineteenth century, when this broadside was published, adults and children were expected by many Christian churches to have a comprehensive Biblical knowledge.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Probable period of publication: 1880-1900   shelfmark: RB.m.143(073)
Broadside ballad entitled: 'The Books of the Bible, a Literary Curiosity'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland