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Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'The Fatal RAMILIES' and 'The Turkish Lady'

Date: 1813 - 1838
Overall: 249 x 188 mm, 0.03 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017414
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A broadsheet featuring the ballads 'The Fatal RAMILIES' and 'The Turkish Lady'
    HMS RAMILLIES was a rebuilt 90 gun British naval warship. Orginally named HMS ROYAL KATHERINE, RAMILLIES was built in 1664, rebuilt twice at Portsmouth and was wrecked at Bolt Head near Plymouth on 15 February 1760 with a massive loss of life of over 700 men.
    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.
    HistoryThe Fatal Ramilies.

    You Soldiers & Sailors draw near & attend
    Unto these few lines that have lately been penn'd,
    And I'll tell you of the dangers all on the salt seas
    Of the fatal destruction of the Ramillies.
    O the fatal Ramilies

    Seven hundred and twenty brave men had she,
    And ninety good guns for to keep her company
    But as we were saiing to our great surprise,
    A terrible storm then began for to rise.
    O the fatal Ramilies.

    THe sea look'd fire and it roll'd mountains high,
    Which made our men weep & our captain to cry
    My boys mind your business your skill do not spare
    For as long as we'v sea room we've nothing else to fear.
    O the fatal Ramilies.

    So we all wnt to work our lives for to save,
    Whilst over the rigging then beat the salt waves,
    'Bear away," says our captain, "bear away you can,
    For if the storm holds we are lost every man."
    O the fatal Ramilies.

    In a few minutes after with a most dreadful shock
    O the fatal Ramilies she dash'd against a rock,
    Both Jews and Christiaus would sadly lament
    Few were the cries when down she went,

    O the fatal Ramilies,
    All you that have a mind to do a good deed,
    Relieve a poor widow in time of her need--
    In time of her need--God he will bless
    For relieving the widow in distress.
    O the fatal Ramilies

    The Turkish Lady.

    Young Virgins all I pray draw near;
    A pretty story you soon shall hear,
    Tis of a Turkish Lady brave,
    Who fell in love with an English slave.
    A merchant's ship at Bristol lay,
    A they were sailing over the sea,
    By a Turkish rover took were we,
    And made us all slaves to be.

    They bound us down in prison strong,
    They whipt and they slash'd us all along,
    No tongue can tell I'mm certain sure,
    What we poor souls did then endure.
    Come sit you down and listen awhile,
    And hear how fortune on him did smile,
    It was his fortune for to be,
    A slave unto a rich Lady.

    She dress'd herself up in rich array,
    And went to see her slaves one day,
    Hearing the moan the young man made,
    She went to him and thus she said --
    What countryman, young man, are you,
    I am an English man, thats true,
    I wish you were a Turk, said she,
    I'd ease you of your misery.

    I'll lease you of your slavish work,
    If you'll consent to be a Turk,
    I'll own myself to be your wife,
    For I do love you as my life.
    No,no,no then said he,
    Your constant slave then Madam I'll be,
    I'll sooner be burnt then at a stake,
    Before I will my God forsake.

    This lady to her chamber went,
    And spent that night in discontent,
    Little Cupid with his piercing dart,
    Had deeply wounded her to the heart;
    She was resolved the next day
    To ease him of his misery,
    And herself to be his wife,
    For she did love him as her life.

    She dressed herself in rich array,
    And with the young man sail'd away,
    Unto her parents she bade adieu,
    Now you see what love can do,
    She is turned a christian brave,
    And is wed to her own true slave,
    That was in chains and bondage too
    By this you see what love can do.

    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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