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Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Transport's Return or, Moher [sic] Don't You Cry' and 'Cookey Darling'.

Date: c 1850
Overall: 256 x 189 mm, 0.015 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017364
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This broadsheet contains the ballads 'Transport's Return or, Moher [sic] Don't You Cry' and 'Cookey Darling'. 'Transport's Return' has a woodcut headpiece representing the title and tells the story of a convict who, after being transported for his crimes and missing his mother, is pardoned and returns home. 'Cookey Darling' is a comical ballad about a sordid policeman pursuing a woman.
    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 and migration.
    HistoryCookey Darling.

    I’m waiting at the airey, Cookey, darling,
    Your fire burns brightly, I can see:
    Then hasten to your peeler, Cookey, darling,
    For you know, my love, I’m waiting for thee.*
    You know that ’twas last night you gave me
    Only half a leg of mutton and a goose,
    Then hasten to your peeler, Cookey darling,
    Or on Sunday I shan’t be of any use.
    Cookey, stunning Cookey!

    I’m waiting at the airey, Cookey, darling,
    Then bring me up somwthing good to eat,
    Some lush for my stomach to be warming,
    And the grub I’ll put away on my beat.
    I can see wine, too, on the table,
    Sent down because it was not bright,
    To drink it, Cookey, you know I am able,
    My love, you know, to put it out of sight.
    Cookey, stunning Cookey!

    I can see pies and puddings, Cookey darling,
    Veal, ham, and every thing so nice,
    I’m sure I shall go mad, Cookey darling,
    If off that beef I haven’t a two pound slice.
    But I hear the sergeant coming,
    Full well I know his power,
    Then get the grub ready, Cookey darling,
    And I’ll be back in half an hour.
    Cookey, stunning Cookey!

    "When the present Police force was first organized it was composed of men decidedly inferior in physique, intelligence, and education, to those constables whose protection we enjoy. They were made the butt of every kind of coarse witticism, and were generally addressed by some slang name. Above all they were chaffed for their supposed partiality for the society of Cooks."

    Broadsheets or broadsides, as they were also known, were originally used to communicate official or royal decrees. They were printed on one side of paper and became a popular medium of communication between the 16th and 19th centuries in Europe, particularly Britain. They were able to be printed quickly and cheaply and were widely distributed in public spaces including churches, taverns and town squares. Their function expanded as they became used as a medium to galvanise political debate, hold public meetings and advertise products or cultural events.

    The cheap nature of the broadside and its wide accessibility meant that its intended audience were often literate individuals but from varying social standings. The illiterate may have also had access to this literature as many of the ballads were designed to be read aloud. In 'Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England', Peter Burke notes that the golden age of the broadside ballad, between 1600 and 1700, saw ballads produced at a penny each which was the same price for admission to the theatre.

    The ballads also covered a wide range of subject matter such as witchcraft, epic war battles, murder and maritime themes and events. They were suitably dramatic and often entertaining, but as James Sharpe notes, also in 'Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England', some of them were designed as elaborate cautionary tales for those contemplating a life of crime.

    The broadside ballads in the museum's collection were issued by a range of London printers and publishers for sale on the streets by hawkers. They convey, often comically, stories about love, death, shipwrecks, convicts and pirates. Each ballad communicates a sense that these stories were designed to be read aloud for all to enjoy, whether it was at the local tavern or a private residence.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Transport's Return or, Moher [sic] Don't You Cry' and 'Cookey Darling'.

    Web title: Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Transport's Return or, Moher [sic] Don't You Cry' and 'Cookey Darling'.

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