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Broadside ballad entitled 'Song of the Jolly Jurymen'


Verse 1: 'The Boar an' Geordie* tried a race, / Atween the pantry an' the brace, / Geordie fell an' brack his face - / The sow's tail to Geordie'. The footnote belonging to the star in the first line, explains that 'Geordie' is the Railway. The lyrics should be sung to the tune, 'Sow's Tail to Geordie'.

This sheet is an excellent example of the function of broadside literature in its society. To the modern reader the meaning of this text is virtually unintelligible and its point is quite lost. To readers of the day, however, who were familiar with the breaking news stories, slang and euphemisms of the day, this story would have probably been at the sharper end of the entertainment market.

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: 1820-1840   shelfmark: APS.3.94.11
Broadside ballad entitled 'Song of the Jolly Jurymen'
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