Verse 1: 'Good people now just pray attend for awhile, / And I'll sing you a song that will cause you to smile, / Some curious facts to you I will tell, / But I can?t tell you yet that Sebastopol fell.' The author of the ballad is named on the sheet as George Billinge. The broadside was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow. It is not dated, but was probably published either between 1852 and 1859, or between 1891 and 1894, when Lindsay is known to have had premises at 9 King Street
'The Sebastopol Fashions' is a song mocking Russian lifestyle. It was probably written as anti-Russian propaganda during the Crimean War (1854-56). France and Britain, declared war in an attempt to prevent Russian expansion, as Russia was seeking to control the Dardanelles and Britain's Mediterranean sea routes. Sebastopol, the Russian-held principal city in the area, was besieged and finally fell to the French and British on 11 September 1855. The intentional irony of 'Sebastopol Fashions' is that as a city under siege, Sebastopol would have experienced terrible hardships and shortages, and life there would have been quite unlike the luxurious picture painted by the song.
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:
1852-1859 shelfmark: RB.m.169(140)
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