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Broadsheet featuring three ballads titled 'Forget not the Soldier', 'The Return of the Admiral' and 'Merry Maids of England'.

Date: c 1850
Dimensions:
Overall: 252 x 190 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017433
Place Manufactured:London

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    Description
    A broadsheet featuring three ballads titled 'Forget not the Soldier', 'The Return of the Admiral' and 'Merry Maids of England'.
    'Forget Not the Soldier' ballad was written by Edward Fitzball and 'The Return of the Admiral' was written by Barry Cornwall.


    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.
    HistoryFORGET NOT THE SOLDIER.

    Forget not the soldier, who'll ne'er forget you,
    Whatever his fortunes may be ;
    By the watch-fire bright in each planet of night,
    That beautiful face, love, he'll see ;
    Though he sleep on the heath, in his dreams thy dear form
    Enraptur'd, his fancy will view,
    Then, oh ! for the love which is enter'd above !
    Forget not the soldier, who'll ne'er forget you,
    Whatever his fortune may be.

    The wine cup shall never be rais'd to my lip
    Till warm'd with a pray'r to thy name ;
    Through the terrible fight, like an angel of light,
    Thine image will guide me to fame ;
    Though I fall 'mid the slain, with my life's latest sigh,
    Heart-broken, I'll bid thee adieu ;
    Then, oh ! for the love which is enter'd above,
    Forget not the soldier, who'll ne'er forget you,
    Whatever his fortune may be.

    MERRY MAIDS OF ENGLAND.

    Oh, the maids of merry England, so beautiful and fair,
    With eyes like diamonds sparkling, and richly flowing hair,
    Their hearts are light and cheerful, and their spirits ever gay,
    The maids of merry England, how beautiful are they.
    They are like the lovely flowers in summer time that bloom,
    On the sportive breeze shedding their choice and sweet perfume,
    Our eyes and hearts delighting with their varied array,
    The maids of merry England, how beautiful are they.

    They smile when we are happy, when we are sad they sigh ;
    When anguish wrings our bosoms, the tear they gently dry ;
    O, happy is that nation that holds their tender sway,
    The maids of merry England, how beautiful are they.

    Then ever like true patriots we join both heart and hand,
    To protect the lovely maidens of this our fatherland ;
    And that heaven may ever bless them we all devoutly pray
    O, the maids of merry England, how beautiful are they.

    THE RETURN OF THE ADMIRAL.

    How gallantly, how merrily we ride along the sea !
    The morning is all sunshine, the wind is blowing free :
    The billows are all sparkling, and bounding in the light,
    Like creatures in whose sunny veins, the blood is running bright,
    All nature knows our triumph, strange birds about us sweep;
    Strange things came up to look at us, the masters of the deep,
    In our wake, like any servant, follows even the bold shark—
    Oh, proud must be our Admiral of such a bonny barque.

    Proud, proud must be our Admiral, (though he is pale to-day)
    Of twice five hundred iron men, Who all his nod obey !
    We've fought for him, and conquer'd we've won with sweat and gore,
    Nobility ! which he shall have, whene'er he touch the shore,
    Oh ! would I were our Admiral, to order with a word—
    To loose a dozen drops of blood, and straight rise up a lord,
    I'd shout e'en to yon shark, there, who follows in our lee,
    Some day I'll make thee carry me like lightning through the sea,

    —The Admiral grew paler and paler as he flew :
    Still talk'd he to his officers, and smil'd upon his crew ;
    And he look'd up at the heavens, and he look'd down on the sea,
    And at last he spied the creature, that kept following in our lee,
    He shook—'twas but an instant,—for speedily the pride,
    Ran crimson to his heart, till all chances he defied :
    It threw boldness on his forehead, gave firmness to his breath,
    And he stood like some grim warrior, new risen up from death.

    That night, a horrid whisper, fell on us where we lay ;
    And we knew our old fine Admiral, was changing into clay,
    And we heard the rush of waters, though nothing could we see.
    And a whistle and a plunge among the billows in our lee !
    Till dawn we watch'd the body in its dead and ghastly sleep,
    And next evening at sunset, it was launch'd into the deep !
    And never, from that moment,— Save one shudder through the sea
    Saw we (or heard) the shark, that had follow'd in our lee.


    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
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