The Universal Songster: Or, Museum of Mirth: Forming the Most Complete, Extensive, and Valuable Collection of Ancient and Modern Songs in the English Language, with a Copious and Classified Index, Volume 1
Jones and Company, 1834 - Ballads, English
What people are saying - Write a review
This book is Vol.1 of a 3 volume set compiled by John Fairburn, and originally published in 1825. Volumes 2 and 3 are not available (yet) on the Internet, but this volume appears to be complete in itself. The poems are in seemingly random order, so the topical index shows a full selection across all the categories advertised. Although the two-column format is a bit cramped, it allows for a great deal of text to be packed in the space available. Only 30 drawings for 450 pages, but what there are, are high-quality. The poems, likewise, are good quality, though Fairburn was trying more for completeness I think. Still, I'm sure he was often confronted with multiple versions, and seems to have done a good job of selecting the best variant. Many are apparently parts of dance-hall routines, and often the accompanying patter is included, with the result that this is not only a book of poems and songs, but also of stand-up comedy routines from the turn of the 19th century, an addition that justifies its subtitle of Museum of Mirth. The poems, while they have a hardy dose of humor, are also supplied with a hearty dose of romantic songs, and leavened with every other sort of popular song of the era.