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To his Brother-Members

OF THE

Ballad Society,

and to all who hereafter follow them in being

Lovers of Old Ballads;

ESPECIALLY THE DWELLERS IN FAR COUNTRIES, WHO SPEAK ONE

COMMON LANGUAGE, AND DEARLY PRIZE

THE NAME OF ENGLAND,

Although the Atlantic or Pacific waves
May roll betwixt them and our graves :

THESE VOLUMES OF

Bagford Ballads
are Dedicated by their Friend and Comrade

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J. W. EBSWORTH.

MOLASH VICARAGE: KENT.

1878.

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O ME, buy my ballads, Bagford-ballads buy !

Black-letter broadsides, saved from Father Time;
Full of rude cuts, but ripe for History,

That oft finds nourishment in rabble-rhyme.
He who would trace the ages passd away,

And see old English homesteads round him rise,
Filld with the men and women of their day,

Must list these echoes of their melodies.

Come, buy my ballads, Bag ford-ballads, come!

You'll find them varied briskly, grave and gay ;
Like the good folk who bought them for small sum,

To cheer their poverty, ʼmid toil or play:
Sportive, satirical, on passing themes,

That need a comment now to make them plain ;
Or dull, lugubrious, as a Banshee's screams,

Lamentings shrill, or low sad wails of pain.

Come, buy my ballads, Bag ford-ballads, buy !

Lovers who willow wore, and maids betray'd,
Herein could find congenial sympathy,

Albeit the rhymester ply'd a sorry trade.
Tear-drops have fallen on these withered leaves,

Roysters have sang blithe staves from others here : . Who will, may choose the Hanging-verse of Thieves ;

Who will, the Storm-song of bold Marinere.

Come, buy my ballads, Bag ford-balladsy.come;

And read betwixt the lines what grief and pain . Were borne of old, while beat the martial drum,

And Ladies wept for those in battle slain. Rolls o'er the billows many a sound of fight,

Scorn of the foe, and shout of victory; Changed to the Sailor's welcome in delight,

When home again to sweetheart, safe from sea.

Come, buy my ballads, Bag ford-ballads! these

Are but a few, now offer'd from our store ; Soon with full hands, and choicer melodies

Snatch'd from Oblivion, shall we come once more. Not with fastidious touch we throw away

The flowers that look like weeds ; but, foul or sweet, We give you all, priz'd in that earlier day:

Whate er Old Bag ford cull'd, we give complete.

DECEMBER, 1876.

J. W. E.

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The work is arranged in two divisions, nearly equal in bulk, to be bound
separately. Double Title-pages are provided. Few will prefer it in a single
volume. The First Division corresponds to Parts I. and II. ; the Second Division
contains the end of the original second folio volume and the whole of the con-
cluding third volume. The pages being consecutively numbered throughout will
be found conveniently indexed at the end. The pages here marked show the
commencement of the Ballads, not of their introductions.

PAGE

v

vii

xvi

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