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Broadside ballad entitled 'Sally Munro'


Verse 1: 'Come all you young females I pray you attend, / Unto these few lines that I have here pen'd; / I'll tell you the hardships I did undergo, / With my bonny lass named Sally Munro, / James Dixon's my name, I'm a blacksmith by trade / In the town of Ayr I was born and bred, / From that unto Belfast I lately did go, / There I got acquainted with Sally Munro.' The broadside carries no publication details.

The National Library holds more than one broadside featuring 'Sally Munro', which suggests that it was quite a popular song. This is unsurprising, as it contains some of the more common themes in broadside ballads. The story is of a Scotsman who is separated from the Irish girl he loves, but is finally reunited with her and marries her, only to lose her again when the ship they are emigrating on sinks, and Sally is drowned. Love songs were always popular with broadside audiences, and the themes of separation and tragedy often accompanied them, as in this case. In addition, the Irish aspect of the song probably made 'Sally Munro' more popular, as Lowland Scotland had a high Irish immigrant population.

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: 1850-1860   shelfmark: RB.m.169(128)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Sally Munro'
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