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Best Famous Ballad Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Ballad poems. This is a select list of the best famous Ballad poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Ballad poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of ballad poems.

Search for the best famous Ballad poems, articles about Ballad poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Ballad poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

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Written by William Shakespeare |

All the Worlds a Stage

 All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school.
And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow.
Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth.
And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Written by Federico Garcia Lorca |

Ballad of the Moon

 The moon came into the forge
in her bustle of flowering nard.
The little boy stares at her, stares.
The boy is staring hard.
In the shaken air the moon moves her amrs, and shows lubricious and pure, her breasts of hard tin.
"Moon, moon, moon, run! If the gypsies come, they will use your heart to make white necklaces and rings.
" "Let me dance, my little one.
When the gypsies come, they'll find you on the anvil with your lively eyes closed tight.
"Moon, moon, moon, run! I can feelheir horses come.
" "Let me be, my little one, don't step on me, all starched and white!" Closer comes the the horseman, drumming on the plain.
The boy is in the forge; his eyes are closed.
Through the olive grove come the gypsies, dream and bronze, their heads held high, their hooded eyes.
Oh, how the night owl calls, calling, calling from its tree! The moon is climbing through the sky with the child by the hand.
They are crying in the forge, all the gypsies, shouting, crying.
The air is veiwing all, views all.
The air is at the viewing.

Written by John Masefield |

A Ballad of John Silver

 We were schooner-rigged and rakish, 
with a long and lissome hull, 
And we flew the pretty colours of the crossbones and the skull; 
We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore, 
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.
We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship, We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip; It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored, But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.
Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains, And the paint-work all was spatter dashed with other peoples brains, She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank.
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.
O! then it was (while standing by the taffrail on the poop) We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken coop; Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do Than to dance a quiet hornpipe as the old salts taught us to.
O! the fiddle on the fo'c'sle, and the slapping naked soles, And the genial "Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!" With the silver seas around us and the pale moon overhead, And the look-out not a-looking and his pipe-bowl glowing red.
Ah! the pig-tailed, quidding pirates and the pretty pranks we played, All have since been put a stop to by the naughty Board of Trade; The schooners and the merry crews are laid away to rest, A little south the sunset in the islands of the Blest.

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Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Ballad by the Fire

 Slowly I smoke and hug my knee, 
The while a witless masquerade 
Of things that only children see 
Floats in a mist of light and shade: 
They pass, a flimsy cavalcade, 
And with a weak, remindful glow, 
The falling embers break and fade, 
As one by one the phantoms go.
Then, with a melancholy glee To think where once my fancy strayed, I muse on what the years may be Whose coming tales are all unsaid, Till tongs and shovel, snugly laid Within their shadowed niches, grow By grim degrees to pick and spade, As one by one the phantoms go.
But then, what though the mystic Three Around me ply their merry trade? -- And Charon soon may carry me Across the gloomy Stygian glade? -- Be up, my soul! nor be afraid Of what some unborn year may show; But mind your human debts are paid, As one by one the phantoms go.
ENVOY Life is the game that must be played: This truth at least, good friend, we know; So live and laugh, nor be dismayed As one by one the phantoms go.

Written by Edgar Allan Poe |

Bridal Ballad

 The ring is on my hand, 
And the wreath is on my brow; 
Satin and jewels grand 
Are all at my command, 
And I am happy now.
And my lord he loves me well; But, when first he breathed his vow, I felt my bosom swell- For the words rang as a knell, And the voice seemed his who fell In the battle down the dell, And who is happy now.
But he spoke to re-assure me, And he kissed my pallid brow, While a reverie came o'er me, And to the church-yard bore me, And I sighed to him before me, Thinking him dead D'Elormie, "Oh, I am happy now!" And thus the words were spoken, And this the plighted vow, And, though my faith be broken, And, though my heart be broken, Here is a ring, as token That I am happy now! Would God I could awaken! For I dream I know not how! And my soul is sorely shaken Lest an evil step be taken,- Lest the dead who is forsaken May not be happy now.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson |

Ballad of a Ship

 Down by the flash of the restless water 
The dim White Ship like a white bird lay; 
Laughing at life and the world they sought her, 
And out she swung to the silvering bay.
Then off they flew on their roystering way, And the keen moon fired the light foam flying Up from the flood where the faint stars play, And the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
'T was a king's fair son with a king's fair daughter, And full three hundred beside, they say, -- Revelling on for the lone, cold slaughter So soon to seize them and hide them for aye; But they danced and they drank and their souls grew gay, Nor ever they knew of a ghoul's eye spying Their splendor a flickering phantom to stray Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
Through the mist of a drunken dream they brought her (This wild white bird) for the sea-fiend's prey: The pitiless reef in his hard clutch caught her, And hurled her down where the dead men stay.
A torturing silence of wan dismay -- Shrieks and curses of mad souls dying -- Then down they sank to slumber and sway Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying.
ENVOY Prince, do you sleep to the sound alway Of the mournful surge and the sea-birds' crying? -- Or does love still shudder and steel still slay, Where the bones of the brave in the wave are lying?

Written by Ezra Pound |


 These tales of old disguisings, are they not
Strange myths of souls that found themselves among
Unwonted folk that spake an hostile tongue,
Some soul from all the rest who'd not forgot
The star-span acres of a former lot
Where boundless mid the clouds his course he swung,
Or carnate with his elder brothers sung
Ere ballad-makers lisped of Camelot?

Old singers half-forgetful of their tunes,
Old painters color-blind come back once more,
Old poets skill-less in the wind-heart runes,
Old wizards lacking in their wonder-lore:

All they that with strange sadness in their eyes
Ponder in silence o'er earth's queynt devyse?

Written by Majeed Amjad |

A Twinkle in Her Eyes

Who can say

Why her eyes,

Those playmates of the hamlet where Beauty dwells,

Why her eyes smile that way ?


When notes arising from her soul,

That Temple-Palace of Music,

And traipsing through the land of glad tidings,

Mirthfully smothering the tinkling of their anklets,

Tip toe up, haltingly, secretively,

To the gates of her lips,

Why her gaze sparkles and smiles ?


Leaping over islands of silence

And wastelands of sealed lip pining,

When the silhouettes of desire

Come waltzing in

To nestle in an intimate moment’s nest,

Why her gaze sparkles and smiles ?


Her soul, that Sprite-Princess,

Neither lifts her veil

Nor voices her song

And when her heart’s ballad

Passes through distant, unexplored worlds

As the faint, lingering sounds of a flute …

Why her gaze sparkles and smiles !

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Ballad of the Red Earl

 (It is not for them to criticize too minutely
the methods the Irish followed, though they might deplore some of
their results.
During the past few years Ireland had been going through what was tantamount to a revolution.
-- EARL SPENCER) Red Earl, and will ye take for guide The silly camel-birds, That ye bury your head in an Irish thorn, On a desert of drifting words? Ye have followed a man for a God, Red Earl, As the Lod o' Wrong and Right; But the day is done with the setting sun Will ye follow into the night? He gave you your own old words, Red Earl, For food on the wastrel way; Will ye rise and eat in the night, Red Earl, That fed so full in the day? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, And where did the wandering lead? From the day that ye praised the spoken word To the day ye must gloss the deed.
And as ye have given your hand for gain, So must ye give in loss; And as ye ha' come to the brink of the pit, So must ye loup across.
For some be rogues in grain, Red Earl, And some be rogues in fact, And rogues direct and rogues elect; But all be rogues in pact.
Ye have cast your lot with these, Red Earl; Take heed to where ye stand.
Ye have tied a knot with your tongue, Red Earl, That ye cannot loose with your hand.
Ye have travelled fast, ye have travelled far, In the grip of a tightening tether, Till ye find at the end ye must take for friend The quick and their dead together.
Ye have played with the Law between your lips, And mouthed it daintilee; But the gist o' the speech is ill to teach, For ye say: "Let wrong go free.
" Red Earl, ye wear the Garter fair, And gat your place from a King: Do ye make Rebellion of no account, And Treason a little thing? And have ye weighed your words, Red Earl, That stand and speak so high? And is it good that the guilt o' blood, Be cleared at the cost of a sigh? And is it well for the sake of peace, Our tattered Honour to sell, And higgle anew with a tainted crew -- Red Earl, and is it well? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, On a dark and doubtful way, And the road is hard, is hard, Red Earl, And the price is yet to pay.
Ye shall pay that price as ye reap reward For the toil of your tongue and pen -- In the praise of the blamed and the thanks of the shamed, And the honour o' knavish men.
They scarce shall veil their scorn, Red Earl, And the worst at the last shall be, When you tell your heart that it does not know And your eye that it does not see.

Written by Emily Dickinson |

Heart not so heavy as mine

 Heart, not so heavy as mine
Wending late home --
As it passed my window
Whistled itself a tune --
A careless snatch -- a ballad -- A ditty of the street --
Yet to my irritated Ear
An Anodyne so sweet --
It was as if a Bobolink
Sauntering this way
Carolled, and paused, and carolled --
Then bubbled slow away!
It was as if a chirping brook
Upon a dusty way --
Set bleeding feet to minuets
Without the knowing why!
Tomorrow, night will come again --
Perhaps, weary and sore --
Ah Bugle! By my window
I pray you pass once more.

Written by Emily Dickinson |

Never for Society

 Never for Society
He shall seek in vain --
Who His own acquaintance
Cultivate -- Of Men
Wiser Men may weary --
But the Man within

Never knew Satiety --
Better entertain
Than could Border Ballad --
Or Biscayan Hymn --
Neither introduction
Need You -- unto Him --

Written by Edward Lear |

There was an old person of Fife

There was an old person of Fife,
Who was greatly disgusted with life;
They sang him a ballad, and fed him on salad,
Which cured that old person of Fife.

Written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox |

Last Love

 The first flower of the spring is not so fair 
Or bright, as one the ripe midsummer brings.
The first faint note the forest warbler sings Is not as rich with feeling, or so rare As when, full master of his art, the air Drowns in the liquid sea of song he flings Like silver spray from beak, and breast, and wings.
The artist's earliest effort wrought with care, The bard's first ballad, written in his tears, Set by his later toil seems poor and tame.
And into nothing dwindles at the test.
So with the passions of maturer years Let those who will demand the first fond flame, Give me the heart's last love, for that is best.

Written by G K Chesterton |

A Ballad Of Suicide

 The gallows in my garden, people say,

Is new and neat and adequately tall; 
I tie the noose on in a knowing way

As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours—on the wall— 
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"

The strangest whim has seized me.
After all I think I will not hang myself to-day.
To-morrow is the time I get my pay— My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall— I see a little cloud all pink and grey— Perhaps the rector's mother will not call— I fancy that I heard from Mr.
Gall That mushrooms could be cooked another way— I never read the works of Juvenal— I think I will not hang myself to-day.
The world will have another washing-day; The decadents decay; the pedants pall; And H.
Wells has found that children play, And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall, Rationalists are growing rational— And through thick woods one finds a stream astray So secret that the very sky seems small— I think I will not hang myself to-day.
ENVOI Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal, The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way; Even to-day your royal head may fall, I think I will not hang myself to-day

Written by Allen Ginsberg |

Making The Lion For All Its Got -- A Ballad

 I came home and found a lion in my room.
[First draft of "The Lion for Real" CP 174-175] A lion met America in the road they stared at each other two figures on the crossroads in the desert.
America screamed The lion roared They leaped at each other America desperate to win Fighting with bombs, flamethrowers, knives forks submarines.
The lion ate America, bit off her head and loped off to the golden hills that's all there is to say about america except that now she's lionshit all over the desert.