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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 called Sally Munro, / James Dixon's my name, I'm a blacksmith by [t]rade / 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 sheet carries no publication details.

'Sally Munro' is narrated by a Scotsman whose bride dies when the ship taking them to Canada sinks. The National Library of Scotland holds several broadside ballads on the same theme, reflecting the sad fact that this was not an uncommon event. Emigration from the Scottish Highlands and Ireland to North America ran at a high level in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly at times of crop failure and poverty. Frequently the ships crossing the Atlantic were overcrowded and in bad repair, and this inevitably led to ships sinking and many lives being lost.

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: 1830-1850   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(211)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Sally Munro'
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