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Broadsheet ballad titled 'Tom Tackle'.

Date: 1802 - 1844
Overall: 259 x 94 mm, 0.024 kg
Medium: Printed text on paper mounted on card
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00031080
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Broadsheet ballad titled 'Tom Tackle'. The song refers to the vices and virtues of a sailor called Tom Tackle which was a popular them for ballads of the time.
    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.
    HistoryTOM TACKLE

    TOM Tackle was noble was true to his word
    If merit brought titlesTom ight be a lord
    How gaily his bark thro' life's ocean would sail,
    Truth furnish'd the rigging and honour the gale
    Yet Tom had a failing if ever man had.
    That good as he was made him all that was bad,
    He was paltry and pitiful, scurvy and mean,
    And the sniveringest scounrel that ever was seen
    For so said the girls and the landlord's long score
    Would you know what that fault was,
    Tom Tackle was poor,
    Tom Tackle was poor, was poor,
    Tom Tackle was poor,
    Would you know what that fault was,
    Tom Tackle was poor.

    'Twas once on a time when we took a galloon,
    And the crew touch'd the agent for cash to some tune,
    Tom a trip took to jail an old messmate to free,
    And four thankfuls prattlers soon sat on his knee
    Then Tom was an angel downright from Heaven sent.
    While they'd hands be his goodness should never repent.
    Return'd from next voyage he bemoan'd his sad case
    To find his dear friend shut the door in his face,
    Why'd ye wonder, cry'd one, you're serv'd right to be sure.
    Once Tom Tackle was rich, now Tom Tackle is poor.
    Once Tom Tackle &c.

    I ben't, ye see, versed in high matters and sitch
    But don't the same honour concern poor and rich
    If it don't come from good hearts I can't see where from,
    And damme if e'er tar had a good heart tw'as Tom
    But some how or other Tom never did right,
    None knew better the times when to spare or to fight,
    He, by finding a leak once presev'd crew and ship,
    Sav'd the Commodore's life; then made such a rare flip,
    And yet for all this no one Tom could endure,
    I fancy's as how, 'twas because he was poor.
    I fancy's as how, &c.

    At last an old ship mate that Tom might hail land
    Who saw that his heart sail'd too fast for his hand
    In the riding of comfort a mooring to find
    Reef'd the sails of Tom's fortune that shook in the wind.
    He gave him enough thro' life's ocean to steer,
    Be the breeze what it might, steady thus or no near,
    His pittance is daily, and yet Tom imparts,
    What he can to his friends, and may all honest hearts,
    Like Tom Tackle, have what keeps the wolf from the door,
    Just enough to be gen'rous, too much to be poor.
    Just enough &c.

    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.
    Related People
    Printer: John Pitts

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