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Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'King Storm' and 'The Englishman'.

Date: 1834 - 1886
Overall: 256 x 188 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017399
Place Manufactured:Durham

User Terms

    Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'King Storm' and 'The Englishman'.
    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.

    There's a land that bears a world-known name,
    'Tho 'tis but a little spot ;
    'Tis the first on the blazing scroll of fame.
    And who shall say it is not ?
    Where the deathless ones who shine, and live
    In arms, in arts, in song ;
    The brightest the whole wide world can give,
    To this little land belong :
    'Tis the star of the earth : deny it who can,
    The island home of an Englishman.
    There's a flag that waves o'er every sea,
    No matter when, or where :
    And to treat that flag as aught but the free,
    Is more than the strongest dare ;
    For the lion spirits that tread the deck
    Have carried the palm of the brave:
    And the flag may sink, with a shot-torn wreck,
    But never' float o'er a slave.
    It's honour is stainless, deny it who can !—
    The flag of a true-born Englishman.
    The Briton may traverse the pole or zone,
    And boldly claim his right;
    For he calls such a vast domain his own,
    That the sun never sets on his might.
    Let the haughty stranger seek to know
    The place of his home and birth,
    And the flush will spread from cheek to brow,
    As he tells of his native earth.
    'Tis a glorious charter deny it who can !
    That's breath'd in the words " I'm an Englishman."


    King Storm was seated
    On his dark mountain cloud,
    In his arm was strength,
    And his voice was loud ;
    When he spoke to the winds,
    They rush'd to his call,
    And woe to that land
    Where its echo might fall!

    At his frown, the dark pine
    Bow'd his head to the ground,
    And the rivers rush'd wild
    O'er the bright floweret's mound ;
    When he laugh'd in his rage,
    Youth bent his form,
    " Ha, ha, ha, ha! do you know me ?"
    Cried bold King Storm.

    The bark in his pride
    Sail'd o'er the dark main,
    Ah, when will they see
    Earth's bright valleys again ?
    King Storm from his throne
    Sends his voice o'er the deep,
    And the doom'd, fated
    Crew, eternally sleep.

    Hark to me ! thousands
    Speed round my dark throne,
    The ocean's my element,
    Its sceptre's my own ;
    Earth I strike to the dust,
    The world bends bis form,
    " Ha, ha, ha, ha ! I'm your master !"
    Cried bold King Storm.

    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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