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Broadsheet ballads titled 'The Cruel Lowland Maid' and 'Why Did My Master Sell Me'.

Date: 1845 - 1849
Overall: 255 x 184 mm, 0.015 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017446
Place Manufactured:London

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    Broadsheet ballads titled 'The Cruel Lowland Maid' and 'Why Did My Master Sell Me'.
    'The Cruel Lowland Maid' tells the story of Mary Ann who rejects her sailor because he looked so poor. She later invites him in when he shows her "a purse of gold", but now he rejects her beacuse of her falseness. She and another suitor kill the sailor for his gold but there is a witness and both are then condemned to die.

    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.
    HistoryThe Cruel Lowland Maid.

    It is of a jolly sailor that ploughs the stormy sea,
    He drest himself in tarry clothes, like one in poverty,
    His pocket well were lined, so off the sailor strayed,
    To try the heart of Mary Ann, that little lowland maid.

    Good morning lovely Mary, I am glad to meet with you,
    Have you forgot your old true love and chang'd your love for new,
    Or is your inclination unto some other stray'd?
    Begone, said lovely Mary Ann, the little lowland maid.

    She seem'd to be so scournful till the sailor said, behold,
    And from his trouser's pocket he pull'd a bag of gold,
    Oh then, replied false Mary Ann, excuse me what was said,
    You are welcome to the cottage of the little lowland maid.

    Oh, then replied the sailor, remember what you said,
    And I can lay 'til morning in some distant barn or shed,
    Farewell, deceitdul damsel, your falseness will be paid,
    As he rambled to a stable from the little lowland maid.

    It was at the hour of twelve at night, young Mary Ann did stray,
    She told some other courter where the sailor he did lay,
    Cheer up your heart, said Mary Ann, you shall not be betray'd,
    So its rob and slay the sailor for the little lowla maid.

    Twas then with a dark lanthorn and daggers in their hand,
    They crossed the wood and meadow and they pass'd the muddy lands,
    They reached the fatal stable wherein the sailor laid,
    Come, slay him in his slumber, said the little lowland maid.

    They both did plunge their daggers into the sailor deep,
    And robbed him of his glittering gold and left him there to sleep,
    A keeper watching near them he from the woods had stray'd,
    And swore against the villain and the little lowland maid.

    They both did stand trial and they were condemned and cast,
    And on the fatal gallows tree they must be hang'd at last,
    What thousands flock'd around them nd scornfully they said,
    Begone, you cruel monster and the cruel lowland maid.


    Oh, I have lost my Dinah,
    Away down in Carolina,
    O, tell m where to find her,
    Alas! she's gone away.
    Oh! I have lost!, &c.

    O why did my master sell me,
    Why did my master sell me,
    Why did my master sell me
    Upon my wedding day!

    Happt I was with Dinah,
    Down in Carolina,
    My own sweet lovely Dinah,
    Upon my wedding day.

    My master he does scourage me,
    And oft to work does urge me,
    And Dinah's freedom forg'd he,
    Upon our wedding day.

    Now by master's dogs I'm worried,
    And by the lash I'm flurried.
    I would we'd never been married,
    My Dinah's far away.

    And now I've found my Dinah,
    Away down in Carolina,
    No more can she be kinder,
    For my Dinah's dead and gone

    But still my heart grows colder,
    I to my breast could fold her,
    I cannot now behold her,
    My Dinah's in the grave.

    For Dinah still I'm pining,
    Upon her grave reclining,
    Alas, I feel I'm dying,
    This is our wedding day

    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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