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Broadsheet ballad titled 'Phoebe; or the Beauty of Dundee'

Date: 1813 - 1838
Overall: 218 x 76 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017411
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A cutting of a broadsheet featuring the ballad 'Phoebe; or the Beauty of Dundee'.

    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.

    In the lowlands of Scotland fair Phoebe did dwell,
    Beloved by her parents was that beautiful girl,
    She was so admired all around the country,
    That they called her the beauty of the town of Dundee.

    There was a young doctor who gained Phoebe's love,
    But Phoebe's kind parents of him did not approve.
    It's forsake your kind parents and come along with me,
    Said William to the beauty of the town of Dundee.

    Oh, no, replied Phoebe, such things I'll never do,
    I will ne'er forsake parents for to go along with you,
    Young William turned from her, and a plan contrived he,
    To overthrow the beauty from the town of Dundee.

    He rang'd the woods over till some gypsies he found,
    And he told them his plans as they sat upon the ground,
    Saying bright gold and silver it now shall be your fee,
    To decoy my lovely Phoebe from the town of Dundee.

    That evening as Phoebe in the green grove did stray,
    The gypsies did surround her and bore her away,
    Then the false hearted villain did pretend to set her free,
    Then he hurried lovely Phoebe from the banks of Dundee.

    Now a twelvemonth pass'd over when Phoebe so fair,
    She brought forth a baby - such a sweet little dear,
    In the midst of her troubles cruel William did flee,
    And forsook lovely Phoebe from the town of Dundee.

    Poor Phoebe soon after was turned out to roam,
    With her baby at her bosom, how she sign'd for happy home,
    The sloes and wild berry her only food to be,
    Ah, sad the fate of Phoebe from the town of Dundee.

    Then weak and exhausted, fatigued and worn low,
    She fell with her baby and expired in the snow,
    Then death stopped the sorrow of the baby and she,
    Once called the lovely beauty of the town of Dundee.

    Then Phoebe and her baby in the dirt was laid low,
    And a lovely green willow over them do grow,
    All you true lovers where'er you may be,
    Think once the lovely Phoebe from the town of Dundee.

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