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Broadsheet featuring the ballads 'SHANNON & CHESAPEAK' AND 'Thomas and Nancy'.

Date: 1813 - 1838
Overall: 252 x 190 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017423
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A broadsheet featiring two ballads titled 'SHANNON & CHESAPEAK' and 'Thomas & Nancy'. The ballad titled 'SHANNON & CHESAPEAK, or, she comes in glorious style' celebrates the victory of the British ship HMS SHANNON over the American ship USS CHEKAPEAKE in 1813 during the War of 1812 at the Battle of Boston Harbor. The second ballad, 'Thomas and Nancy' tells the story of Nancy and the death of her love, the sailor Thomas who drowns clsoe to home.
    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, migration.

    She comes, she comes, in glorious style,
    To quarters fly ye hearts of oak;
    Success shall soon reward out toil,
    Exclaimed the gallant Captain Brook.
    Three cheers, my brave boys, let your ardour bespeak,
    And give them a round from your canon;
    And soon shall they find that the proud Chesapeake
    Shall lower a flad to the Shannon.

    Lawrence, Columbia's pride and boast,
    Of conquest counted as sure as fate;
    He thus addressed his haughty host,
    With form erect and heart elate:
    Three cheers, my brave men, let your courage bespeak,
    And give them a taste of your cannon;
    And soon they shall know that the proud Chesapeake
    Shall ne'er lower a flag to the SHANNON.

    Silent as death each foe drew nigh,
    While locked in hostile close embrace,
    Brave Brook, with a British seaman's eye
    The signs of terror soon could trace.
    He exclaimed, whilst his looks did ardour bespeake
    Brave boys they all flinch of their cannon;
    Board, board, my brave mesmates, the proud CHESAPEAKE
    Shall soon be a prize to the SHANNON.

    Swift flew the word, Britannia's sons,
    Spread death an terror where they came;
    The trembling foe forsook their guns,
    And called aloud on mercy's name.
    Brave Brook led the way, but fell wounded and weak,
    Yet he exclaimed they are fled from their cannon,
    Three cheers my brave seamen, the proud CHESAPEAKE
    Has lower'd a flag to the SHANNON.

    The day was won, bu Lawrence fell
    He losed his eyes in endless night;
    And oft Columbia's sons will tell,
    Of hopes blighted in that fight.
    That [?] brave Captain Brook, thopugh yet wounded and weak,
    Survives to again play his cannon;
    His name from the shores of the wide Chesapeake,
    Shall resound to the banks of the Shannon.


    The boatswain's shrill whistle had sounded,
    And Thomas and Nancy must part;
    Her heart in her bosom it bounded,
    While the tears in her blue eyes did start
    "O Thomas, dear Thomas," said nancy
    "When sailing along the main,
    O never forget your dear Nancy,
    Remember my love you are mine."

    O Nancy my love, I must leave you,
    The signal for sailing is made,
    Our parting dear, let it not grieve you,
    Nor that I should prove false be afraid.
    He pressed her again ere they parted,
    Then stepped to his boat from the shore--
    Nancy sunk on the ground broken hearted,
    For fear she should ne'er see him more.

    The vessel flew swift o'er the billow,
    Like a sea-bird she breasted the foam,
    And Thomas, when laid on his pillow,
    Thought of Nancy, his parents and home,
    He pressed on his heart each love token,
    And vowed to be constant and true,
    The words that at parting she had spoken,
    Be constant dear Thomas -- adieu.

    The ship made her port, and returning,
    Scudded fast o'er the treacherous main,
    Each bosom with ardour was burning,
    To see his loved country again;
    A storm rose with loud peals of thunder,
    The lightning flashed over the waves.
    When a rock dashed the vessel asunder,
    And the crew found a watery grave.

    To the beach Nancy frantickly hurried,
    And behelda most pitiful scene
    The corpse of her thonas was carried,
    To the spot wher so happy they'd been
    She kissed his cold cheek in her sorrow
    The tears tol the depth of her rief
    And 'ere the sun set on the morow,
    Death gave to poor Nancy relief.

    'Neath the shade of the old willow that's weeping
    Beside the old church in the vale,
    In one grave these fond lovers are sleeping,
    Where sorrow nor care cannot assail
    The maidens, when day has departed,
    Trow [sic] flowers to deck the cold grave
    Nancy the fond and ? hearted
    Thomas her lover so brave.

    Broadsheet rhymes and verses were the cheapest prints available during the 18th and 19th century. They were sold by street sellers known as Flying Stationers, who charged a minimal fee of a penny or half-penny. They featured popular songs that were often sung in homes, inns and taverns and covered a range of themes relating to contemporary events or stories. Printed alongside the songs were woodcut illustrations. Most of the broadsheet publishers did not date or mark their works, making it difficult to pinpoint when they were produced.

    The publication of ballads was part of the commemoration and production of material about shipwrecks. Ships were part of the everyday life in the 19th century and stories about their voyages, wrecks, record breaking voyages and commissions often featured in newspapers and commemorative souvenirs.

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