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Broadsheet ballad titled 'Our Ship She Lays in the Harbour'.

Date: 1813 - 1838
Overall: 240 x 93 mm, 0.024 kg
Medium: Woodcut and printed text on paper mounted on card
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00031091
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Broadsheet ballad titled 'Our Ship She Lays in the Harbour' that tells the story of a woman waits many years to finally marry her sailor love, against her father's wishes.
    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.

    Our ship she lays in harbour,
    Just ready to set sail,
    May heaven be your guardian, love,
    Till I return from again.
    Says the father to the daughter,
    What makes you so lament,
    Is there no man in all this world
    That can give your heart content.

    Said the daughter to the father,
    I will tell you the reason why,
    You've sent that man to the sea,
    That could me satisfy.
    If that is your inclination,
    Her father did reply,
    I wish he may continue there,
    And on the seas may die.

    Then like an angel weeping
    On the Rocks side every day,
    A waiting for her own true love,
    Returning from the seas
    When nine long years were over,
    And ten long tedious days,
    She saw the ship come sailing in,
    With her true love from the seas.

    O yonder sits my angel,
    She is waiting there for me,
    To morrow to the church we'll go,
    And married we will be.
    When they had been to church,
    And returning back again
    She spied her honoured father,
    And several gentlemen.

    He said my dearest daughter,
    Five hundred pounds I'll give,
    If you will forsake the sailor lad,
    And go with me to live,
    It is not your gold that glitters,
    Nor yet your silver that shines,
    I am married to that man I love,
    And I am happy in my mind.

    Broadsides were issued by a number of London publishers for selling by hawkers on the street and were a popular form of entertainment in 18th and 19th century England. By their very nature they are extremely fragile and ephemeral ;as a result they are notably scarce in good condition .
    They were also known as 'roadsheet’, 'broadsheet', ‘stall’, ‘vulgar’ or ‘come all ye’ ballads'. In the 19th century many ballads were written about people emigrating. A large number to escape the difficult economic conditions they faced or to try and make their fortunes to bring home.The ballads reflect a deep love of their home place and in many cases the hero - usually male – is pining for a loved one he had to leave behind.

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