Search the Collection
Advanced Search
Image Not Available

A broadsheet with six ballads, 'The Cabin Boy', 'The Rose of Allendale', 'Robin Hood', 'The Light Guitar', 'Maid of Judah' and 'Ellen the Fair'.

Date: 1790-1870
Overall: 252 x 185 mm, 0.015 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017378
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A broadsheet featuring six ballads titled 'The Cabin Boy', 'The Rose of Allendale', 'Robin Hood', 'The Light Guitar', 'Maid of Judah' and 'Ellen the Fair'.

    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.
    HistoryThe Rose of Allendale.

    The morn was fair, the skies were clear,
    No breath came o'er the sea,
    When Mary left her Highland cot,
    And wandering forth with me.
    Tho' flowers deck'd the mountain's side,
    And fragrance fill'd the vale,
    By far the sweetest flower there,
    Was the Rose of Allendale.

    Where'er I wandered, east or west,
    Thoughfate began to lower,
    A solace still was she to me,
    In sorrow's lonely hour,
    When tempest lash'd our gallant bark,
    And rent her shiv'ring sail,
    One maiden form withstood the storm
    'Twas the Rose Allendale.

    And when my fevered lips were parch'd,
    On Afric's burning sand,
    She whisper'd hopes of happiness,
    And tales of distant land!
    My life had been a wilderness,
    Unblest by fortune's gale,
    Had fate not link'd my lot to her's,
    The Rose of Allendale.

    Robin Hood.

    Bold Robin hood, was a forester good
    As ever pull'd bow in merry Greenwood,
    And the wild deer w'll follw.
    There is none so bonny, blithe and gay
    As Mary, the pride of the morning
    Little John with his courage so strong
    And he conquered them all with I hey ding dong,
    With his bugle horn he echoed.
    His bugle horn he echoed,
    There is none so bonny, blithe and gay,
    As Mary, the pride of the morning
    Bold Robin Hood &c.

    The Light Guitar.

    Oh! leave the gay and festive scene,
    The hall, the halls of dazzling light,
    And rove with me through forests
    Beneath the silent night.
    Then as we watch the ling'ring rays,
    That shine from every star,
    I'll sing the song of happier days,
    And strike the light guitar.
    I'll sing, &c.

    I'll tell thee how the maiden wept,
    When her true knight was slain,
    And how gentle pirit slept,
    And never woke again.
    I'll tell thee how the steed drew nigh,
    And left his lord afar,
    But, if my tale should make you sigh
    I'll strike the light guitar.
    But if my tale, &c.

    Maid of Judah.

    No more shall the children of Judah sing,
    The lay of a happier time,
    Nor strike the harp with golden string,
    'Neath the sun of an eastern clime.
    This, this was the lay of a Jewish maid,
    But not in her father's bowers,
    So sweetly she sung as in sadness she stray'd
    O'er the ruins of Babylon's towers.
    No more, &c.

    Oh, where are the sons of mine ancient race,
    That were born but the javelin to bear
    Oh, where is that city whose wreck I trace,
    Which once was so lovely and fair?
    The green grass grows on that fertile spot,
    Where once grew the sweetest of flowers ;
    Land of my kindred thou shalt ne'er be forgot,
    While a ruin remains of thy towers.
    No more, &c.

    Ellen the Fair.

    Fair Ellen one morn from her cottage had strayed,
    To the next market town tripp'd the beautiful maid ;
    She looked like a goddess so charming and fair,
    Come, but my sweet posies, cried Ellen the fair.
    I've cowslips and jessamines, and hair-bells so blue,
    Wild roses and eglantines glistening with dew ;
    And the lily, the queen of the valley so fair.
    Come buy my sweet posies, &c.

    Enraptured, I gazed on this beautiful maid,
    For a thousand sweet smile on her countenance played ;
    And while I stood gazing, my heart I declare,
    A captive was taken by Ellen the fair.
    O! how could I but gain this nymph for my wife,
    How gladly I'd change my condition in life ;
    I'd forsake the fine folks of the town, and repair,
    To dwell in a cottage with Ellen the fair.

    But need I care for the lordly and great?
    My parents are dead, I've a noble estate ;
    And no lady on earth - not a princess share
    My hand and my fortune with Ellen the fair.
    In a little time after, this nobleman's son
    Did marry the maid his affections had won ;
    When presented at court, how the monarch did stare,
    And all the ladies envied sweet Ellen the fair.

    The Cabin Boy.

    The sea was rough, the clouds were dark,
    Far distant every joy
    When, forced by fortune to embark,
    I went a cabin boy.

    My purse soon filled with Frenchmen's gold,
    I hastened home with joy,
    But, wrecked in sight of port behold
    A hapless cabin boy.

    "The Rose of Allendale" is an English song, with words by Charles Jefferys and music by Sidney Nelson, composed in the 1840s.The English song lyrics are about a maiden from the town of Allendale, Northumberland (in love songs, a rose, regarded as a beautiful and romantic flower, is often the fairest maiden of a region or village). It is a soldier's farewell song to his beloved and reflects the unstable times of war. It is still a very popular folksong in Ireland, Scotland and England.

    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.

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.