Broadsheet ballad titled 'The Stag'. The song recounts the activities of HMS STAG which was away from England from 1832 - 1835. The STAG was part of the Lisbon station protecting British Trade in Portugal during the civil war between Dom Pedro and Dom Miguels, a side trip to the Gambia and Sengal is also mentioned.
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.
COME, listen awhile, attend to my song,
And the fame ofthe STAG in your ears shall resound;
From the year 32, the time she got loose,
To the year 35, when she ended her cruise.
It was up the North Sea we first made a start,
From our wives and our sweethearts were forc'd to depart,
So a cruising we went, without more delay,
Until things were settled which ended the fray.
The first cruise being ended the second begun;
Our course to fam'd Lisbon straight forward did run;
And so we have been running from that time to this,
Which you plainly might see by the yarn I will pitch.
When to Lisbon we came, off Oporto were sent,
Our ship being in order, our sails were ready bent;
So we cruis'd till we cruis'd our appointed time out,
And then for the fam'd Lisbon we soon put about.
But the devil any time in Lisbon could we stay,
Don Miguel wanted a ship, so we got under way;
From All Saints'Bay took him, depend on the fact,
And off for Genoa we went in a crack.
Short cruises we had, which I cannot here mention,
For to make a long tale, it is not my intention;
So to Plymouth were sent, for to get a refit,
Where the lads stuck it into those who gave tick.
A refit we soon got, for famed Lisbon set out,
Which put all the Bumboats and Jews to a rout;
And if they were not pleased with the lads of the Stag,
Let them say what they will it will wash to a rag.
When to Lisbon we came, we began the old game,
Started off for the coast almost with the same,
Where we drank tarry water, scoff'd Callelow soup,
Until our poor lads they began to croak.
Gambia water, d--d bad, we were glad to catch it,
Which sent us all back with a face like a hatchet;
We d--d Senegal and the rst of the coast,
While the sun's burning heat our poor carcass did roast.
When matters were right and things quite settled,
With a fine roaring breeze back to Lisbon we rattled;
Where we waited for our orders for Old England to steer,
To see our fond wives and our sweethearts so dear.
After seven days cruise in the Sound we arrived;
Our cruisings nearly over, our lads all alive:
Here's success to the next one, whate'er she might be,
If she equals the Stag with the cruising at sea.
So now to conclude and finish my song,
Here's a health to the Captain that to her belongs;
Here's to all te' officers in her, dram from the keg;
May they conduct the next ship as they did the bold Stag.
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.