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Broadsheet featuring three ballads, 'The Sailor's Consolation in a Storm', 'England, Europe's Glory' and 'Safely Follow Him'.

Date: 1828 - 1832
Overall: 254 x 191 mm, 0.022 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017396
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A broadsheet featuring three ballads, 'The Sailor's Consolation in a Storm', 'England, Europe's Glory' and 'Safely Follow Him',
    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.

    The wind came on a huricane,
    The sea was mountains rolling,
    When Buntline turn'd his quid,
    And said to Billy Bowline, --
    A stiff sou-wester's blowing Bill;
    Hark! only hear it roar now!
    Lord, help them, how pities all
    Unhappy folks on shore now!

    Foolhardy chaps who live in town,
    What danger they are all in,
    And now are quaking in their beds,
    For fear the roof should fall in;
    Poor creatures, how they envies us! And wishes, I've a notion,
    For our good luck, in such a storm,
    To be upon the ocean!

    But as for them who're out all day,
    On business from their houses,
    And late at night are coming home,
    To cheer their babes and spouses;
    While you and I, Bill, on the deck
    Are comfortably lying,
    My eyes! what tiles and chimney pots
    About their heads are flying!

    Again, how often have we heard
    How folks are kill'd and undone
    By oveturns of carriages,
    By thieves and fires, in London;
    We know what risks all landsmen run,
    From noblemen to tailors,
    Then, Bill, let us thank providence
    That you and I are sailors.


    There is a land amidst the waves,
    Whose sons are fam'd in story,
    Who never were, or will be slaves,
    Nor shrink from death and glory;
    Then strike the harp, and bid it swell,
    Admiring worlds adore ye; / Shout blessings on the land we dwell, / To England - Europe's glory.

    Blest land, beyond all lands afar,
    Encircled in the waters;
    With lion-hearted sons in war,
    And beauty's peerless daughters.
    Go ye, whose discontented hearts
    Disdain the joys before ye,
    Go seek a home in foreign parts,
    Like England - Europe's glory.


    O follow him, nor fearful deem
    Danger lurks in gipsy guile,
    Rude and lawless tho' we seem,
    Simple hearts we bear the while.

    Then, no robber fierce, nor thief, we fear,
    Who's rous'd by night in savage den:
    Fearles then o'er mosses drear,
    Barren wilds and lonesome glen.
    Safely follow him, safely follow him,
    Safely, safely follow him.

    From rustic swains the petty bribe,
    Petty spoil from cot or farm;
    Content the wandering gipsy tribe,
    Whom the traveller never harm.

    Then, no robber, &c.

    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.

    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.

    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 occasionally they 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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