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A broadsheet featuring two ballads, 'The Man at the Nore' and ' A Pound or a Penny'.

Date: 1874
Overall: 255 x 192 mm, 0.022 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017379
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A broadsheet featuring two ballads titled 'The Man at the Nore' and 'A Pound or a Penny'.
    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 Man at The Nore.

    Oh my father he kept the Eddystone light,
    And married a m rmaid one fine night,
    Owing to which cime offsprings three,
    Two of them was fish, and the other was me,
    Now when I was only a youngish chip,
    I was put in command of tho Nore light ship,
    I could light all the lamps in a first-rate style,
    game that I played according to ' oil.'

    Chorus :—

    The Jolly Nore the stormy Nore,
    Where the waves they tumble o'er and o'er :
    But oh, what life is there on shore,
    Like the life that is led by the man at the Nore.

    One night when I was lighting the glim,
    A whistling a verse of the evening hymn,
    I saw by the light of the signal lamp,
    Mother looking awfully cold and damp ;
    When a voice from the starboard cries out ' ship, a boy,'
    And there she was a floating on a buoy,
    Meaning a buoy for a ship that sails,
    And not that boy that's a juvenile male.

    So I says, hello, mother, how do you do,
    And how goes on my sisters two ?
    And she says, you artful dar,
    You not got no sisters, nor yet no pa ;
    Your pa was wrecked with several pals,
    And digested by the canine bells.
    And your sisters—one was cooked in a dish,
    And the other one is the talking fish.

    So now farewell, my boy at the Nore,
    And don't yon ever go on shore :
    She vanished from my sight a glittering scale,
    And that was tho end of my mother's ale.
    So here I am by maternal wish,
    I can't see my sister, she's the talking fish,
    And if any of you should soe her on shore.
    on can give her the love of the Man at the Nore.

    A Pound or a Penny.

    Some very good sayings I've heard in my time,
    Some I beljeve to be true,
    There is one I will mention now in my rhyme,
    As one that is well known to you ;
    If you know a man that is in distress,
    And assistance you can give him any,
    Remember that many can help one they say,
    Where one cannot always help many.

    Then do what you can for a man in djstress,
    Let it be a pound or a penny ;
    There's many can help one I've heard people say,
    Where cannot always help many.

    A man may be wealthy one end of the year,
    The next may be wretched and poor,
    He struggles his hardest to keep himselp up,
    But has sunk down to poverty's door ;
    It's that kind of man that needs your support,
    Oh, give it to those most in need,
    For those who've experienced poverty knows,
    It's a very hard battle indeed.
    Then do what you can, &c.

    How often a trifle may save a man's life,
    When he is near dying with want ;
    He has tried to live honestly all the way through,
    But finds in the end that he can't :
    At last he is tempted to steal—or must starve,
    While those that are rich pass him by,
    They know not his troubles, they heed not his Wants,
    He's left like a dog there to die.

    I hope what I've mentioned to-night in my song,
    There's nothing I've said out of place,
    A man may be poor, yet honest be,
    For poverty's not a disgrace ;
    Then assist all you can with a generous heart,
    For how soon the tide it may turn,
    Just give him one chance to rise in the world,
    And your kindness he soon will return.

    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.

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