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Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Pirate Crew', 'Have You Seen My Missus' and 'The Standard Bearer'.

Date: 1834 - 1886
Overall: 252 x 185 mm, 0.024 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017381
Place Manufactured:Durham

User Terms

    This broadsheet or broadside has three ballads printed on it titled, 'Pirate Crew', 'Have You Seen My Missus' and 'The Standard Bearer'. They were printed in Durham, England.
    SignificanceThe museum's broadside collection is a colourful 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.

    YOU'VE heard my children two, seeking for each other?
    My daughter left her home first, soon followed by her brother.
    But there never was so sad and wicked world as this :
    My family all are mad, for now I've lost my missus.
    Toora, loora la! toora loo, &c.

    I've studied well my dame, from the first time I did woo her,
    But never thought she'd roam, such a husband I've been to her
    She's taken all the plate, but far much worse than this is,
    I fear she's got a mate -- now, have you seen my missus ?
    Toora, loora, &c.

    Since I saw her last, none know what I suffer :
    Every one I ask calls me poor old buffer,
    If I could see her now, I'd smother her with kisses,
    I'm a wretched man I vow : now have you seen my missus ?
    Toola loola, &c.

    She took my watch and purse, a case with ring and pin in,
    And then to make it worse, pawned every bit of linen.
    I could forgive her that, to enjoy the marriage blisses,
    For I'm loosing all my fat, since I have lost my missus.
    Toola, loora, &c.

    That wretched house of mine, I cannot bear to enter ;
    For there's the portrait fine, hanging in the centre,
    I oft gaze at the head, and fancy naught amiss is,
    Till I tumble into bed, It's then I miss my missus,
    Toora, loora, &c.

    Wretched there I lie, 'till the morn is beaming,
    And when I fall asleep, strange things I am dreaming.
    I wake quite full of qualms --a hard case you'll say this is
    With a bolster in my arms, instead of having missus.
    Toora, loora, &c


    O'er the wide world of waters we roam ever free,
    Sea Kings, and rovers, bold pirates are we,
    We own no dominion what matter we sail,
    Light hearted and true in the loud roaring gale,
    We love the blue waters as we ride o'er the billow,
    The strong timber creeks, the mast shakes like a willow,
    But fearless in danger we brave the mad foam,
    Ever free on the deep the wide ocean our home.
    Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

    Merry's the life o the bold pirate crew,
    Dauntless and daring the deeds that we do!
    Hurrah! the black banner is nailed to the mast,
    Death to the foe as it waves in the blast.
    "Crowd sail! a strange vessel is heaving in sight,
    Shouts the pirate aloft, she is ours to night,
    Now we dash through the foam bearing down on the prize
    No quarter we give to the stranger that flies,
    Clear the deck, ever brave are the pirates in battle,
    The strong timber creeks, the loud cannons rattle,
    Now we board her in triumph, and bear her away,
    Three cheers for the prize as we bound o'e the spray."
    Merry's the life, &c.


    Upon the tented field a minstrel knight,
    Beside his standard lonely watch is keeping
    And thus, amid the stillness of the night,
    He strikes his lute and sings while all are sleeping.

    The lady of my love, I will not name,
    Although I wear her colors as a token,
    But I will fight for liberty and fame,
    Beneath the flag where first our vows were spoken.

    The night is past, the conflict comes with dawn,
    The minstrel knight is seen each foe defying,
    While death and carnage onward still are borne
    His song is heard,'mid thousands round him dying.
    The lady of my love, &c.

    Stern death,now sated quits the gory plain,
    The life-blood from the warrior-bard is streaming,
    Still on his flag he rests his head with pain,
    And faintly sings, his eyes with fervour beaming,
    The lady of my love I will not name,
    Although I wear her colors as a token;
    I fought and fell for liberty and fame,
    And never has my knightly vow been broken.

    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 use 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 battles, murder and even maritime themes and history. They were suitably dramatic, but as James Sharpe notes also in 'Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England', many of them were designed as elaborate warnings against 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 really designed to be read aloud, whether it was the local tavern or a private residence, for all to laugh at and enjoy.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Pirate Crew', 'Have You Seen My Missus' and 'The Standard Bearer'

    Primary title: Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'Pirate Crew', 'Have You Seen My Missus' and 'The Standard Bearer'.

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