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A broadsheet featuring the ballad 'Sally's Love for a SAILOR'

Date: 1802 - 1844
Dimensions:
Overall: 255 x 96 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017409
Place Manufactured:London

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    Description
    A broadsheet featuring the ballad 'Sally's Love for a SAILOR'.
    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.
    HistorySALLY'S LOVE FOR A SAILOR.

    It was one Monday morning, being in the month of May,
    As carelessly I wandered down London streets so free;
    I overheard a fair maid, and this was her cry,
    Let mam and dad say what they will, I will wed my sailor boy
    He is loyal and true hearted, he's handsome, neat, and trim,
    No country clown or squire can ever equal him,
    He has crossed the stormy ocean where cannons loud do roar,
    May blessings then attend him for he's the lad that I adore.
    Then bespoke her mother thus to her did say,
    You are a foolish girl, take counsel now I pray,
    For sailors they are roving blades, the girls they do adore,
    Leave their sweethearts broken hearted for fresh ones on the shore,
    So wed a jolly farmer that whistles at the plough,
    And then you'll always have a time to attend the sheep and the cows.
    Forsake the tarry sailor that roves from shore to shore,
    They change their mind just like the wind, how can you them adore?
    A fig for all your farmers, your horses, and their ploughs,
    A sailor's wealth is honour, a can of grog his spouse,
    He spends his money freely that he gets upon the main,
    A fig for home-bred lovers, such as them I do disdain,
    The girls of famous London town, Deptford, and Blackwall,
    Each one were to know how their fluttering bosom feels,
    They would make no hesitation but quickly let them know,
    That they love the lads that venture their lives where the stormy winds do blow,
    I'm one of that number that does my love control,
    Come join with me, ye maiden gay, that love a sailor bold,
    Let shouts and acclamations amount unto the skies,
    To the sailors of gay London town and Blackwell likewise,
    Come all you sailors bold wherever you belong,
    That love a pretty girl, for her sake you will buy a song,
    Sing it out on the yard-arm, where the stormy winds do blow,
    So God protect each sailor lad that sings out yo ho.

    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.


    Related People
    Printer: John Pitts

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