Broadsheet ballads titled 'After Many Roving Years' and 'King Death'. The ballad are printed on both sides of the paper.
SignificanceBroadsheets were designed as printed ephemera to be published and distributed rapidly. This also meant they were quickly disposed of with many of them not surviving the test of time. The museum's broadsheet collection is therefore a rare and valuable example of how maritime history was communicated to a wide audience, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. They vibrantly illustrate many of the themes and myths surrounding life at sea. Some of them also detail stories about transportation, migration.
King Death was a rare old fellow,
He sat where no sun could shine,
And he lifted his hand so yellow,
And poured out his coal black wine.
Hurrah! for the coal black wine.
There came to him many a maiden,
Whose eyes had forgot to shine,
And widows with grief o'er laden,
For a draught of his coal black wine
The scholar left all his learning,
The poet facied his woes,
And the beauty her bloom returning,
Like life to the fading rose.
All came to the rare old fellow,
Who laugh'd till his eyes dropp'd brine,
And he gave them his hand so yellow,
And pledg'd them in Death's black wine.
AFTER MANY ROVING YEARS.
O, after many roving years,
How sweet it is to come
To thedwelling place of early youth,
Our first and dearest home!
To turu away our weary eyes
From proud ambition's towers,
And wander in the summer fields,
Amoung the trees and flowers.
But I am changed since last I gazed
On yonder tranquil scene,
And sat beneath the old witch elm,
That shades the village green;
And watched my boatupon the brook,
As 'twere a regal galley
And sighed not for a joy on earth,
Beyond the happy valley.
I wish I could recall again
That blest and blameless joy,
And summon to my weary heart,
The feelings of a boy!
But I look on scenes of past delight,
Without that wonted pleasure,
As a miser on the bed of death
Looks coldly on his treasure.
Broadsheet rhymes and verses were the cheapest prints available during the 18th and 19th century. They were sold by street sellers known as Flying Stationers, who charged a minimal fee of a penny or half-penny. They featured popular songs that were often sung in homes, inns and taverns and covered a range of themes relating to contemporary events or stories. Printed alongside the songs were woodcut illustrations. Most of the broadsheet publishers did not date or mark their works, making it difficult to pinpoint when they were produced.
The publication of ballads was part of the commemoration and production of material about shipwrecks. Ships were part of the everyday life in the 19th century and stories about their voyages, wrecks, record breaking voyages and commissions often featured in newspapers and commemorative souvenirs.