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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.

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by Gerard Manley Hopkins | |

Repeat That Repeat

 Repeat that, repeat,
Cuckoo, bird, and open ear wells, heart-springs, delightfully sweet,
With a ballad, with a ballad, a rebound 
Off trundled timber and scoops of the hillside ground, hollow hollow hollow ground:
The whole landscape flushes on a sudden at a sound.


by G K Chesterton | |

The Ballad of the Anti-Puritan

 They spoke of Progress spiring round, 
Of light and Mrs Humphrey Ward-- 
It is not true to say I frowned, 
Or ran about the room and roared; 
I might have simply sat and snored-- 
I rose politely in the club 
And said, `I feel a little bored; 
Will someone take me to a pub?' 

The new world's wisest did surround 
Me; and it pains me to record 
I did not think their views profound, 
Or their conclusions well assured; 
The simple life I can't afford, 
Besides, I do not like the grub-- 
I want a mash and sausage, `scored'-- 
Will someone take me to a pub? 

I know where Men can still be found, 
Anger and clamorous accord, 
And virtues growing from the ground, 
And fellowship of beer and board, 
And song, that is a sturdy cord, 
And hope, that is a hardy shrub, 
And goodness, that is God's last word-- 
Will someone take me to a pub? 

Envoi 
Prince, Bayard would have smashed his sword 
To see the sort of knights you dub-- 
Is that the last of them--O Lord 
Will someone take me to a pub?


by Edwin Arlington Robinson | |

Ballad of Dead Friends

 As we the withered ferns 
By the roadway lying, 
Time, the jester, spurns 
All our prayers and prying -- 
All our tears and sighing, 
Sorrow, change, and woe -- 
All our where-and-whying 
For friends that come and go.
Life awakes and burns, Age and death defying, Till at last it learns All but Love is dying; Love's the trade we're plying, God has willed it so; Shrouds are what we're buying For friends that come and go.
Man forever yearns For the thing that's flying.
Everywhere he turns, Men to dust are drying, -- Dust that wanders, eying (With eyes that hardly glow) New faces, dimly spying For friends that come and go.
ENVOY And thus we all are nighing The truth we fear to know: Death will end our crying For friends that come and go.


by Edwin Arlington Robinson | |

Ballad of Broken Flutes

 In dreams I crossed a barren land, 
A land of ruin, far away; 
Around me hung on every hand 
A deathful stillness of decay; 
And silent, as in bleak dismay 
That song should thus forsaken be, 
On that forgotten ground there lay 
The broken flutes of Arcady.
The forest that was all so grand When pipes and tabors had their sway Stood leafless now, a ghostly band Of skeletons in cold array.
A lonely surge of ancient spray Told of an unforgetful sea, But iron blows had hushed for aye The broken flutes of Arcady.
No more by summer breezes fanned, The place was desolate and gray; But still my dream was to command New life into that shrunken clay.
I tried it.
Yes, you scan to-day, With uncommiserating glee, The songs of one who strove to play The broken flutes of Arcady.
ENVOY So, Rock, I join the common fray, To fight where Mammon may decree; And leave, to crumble as they may, The broken flutes of Arcady.


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.


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

THE KING OF THULE.*

 (* This ballad is also introduced in Faust, 
where it is sung by Margaret.
) IN Thule lived a monarch, Still faithful to the grave, To whom his dying mistress A golden goblet gave.
Beyond all price he deem'd it, He quaff'd it at each feast; And, when he drain'd that goblet, His tears to flow ne'er ceas'd.
And when he felt death near him, His cities o'er he told, And to his heir left all things, But not that cup of gold.
A regal banquet held he In his ancestral ball, In yonder sea-wash'd castle, 'Mongst his great nobles all.
There stood the aged reveller, And drank his last life's-glow,-- Then hurl'd the holy goblet Into the flood below.
He saw it falling, filling, And sinking 'neath the main, His eyes then closed for ever, He never drank again.
1774.


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 !


by Joyce Kilmer | |

Wealth

 (For Aline)

From what old ballad, or from what rich frame
Did you descend to glorify the earth?
Was it from Chaucer's singing book you came?
Or did Watteau's small brushes give you birth?
Nothing so exquisite as that slight hand
Could Raphael or Leonardo trace.
Nor could the poets know in Fairyland The changing wonder of your lyric face.
I would possess a host of lovely things, But I am poor and such joys may not be.
So God who lifts the poor and humbles kings Sent loveliness itself to dwell with me.


by Sidney Lanier | |

A Ballad Of The Trees And The Master

 Into the woods my Master went,
Clean forspent, forspent.
Into the woods my Master came, Forspent with love and shame.
But the olives they were not blind to Him, The little gray leaves were kind to Him: The thorn-tree had a mind to Him When into the woods He came.
Out of the woods my Master went, And He was well content.
Out of the woods my Master came, Content with death and shame.
When Death and Shame would woo Him last, From under the trees they drew Him last: 'Twas on a tree they slew Him -- last When out of the woods He came.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

A Western Ballad

 When I died, love, when I died
my heart was broken in your care;
I never suffered love so fair
as now I suffer and abide
when I died, love, when I died.
When I died, love, when I died I wearied in an endless maze that men have walked for centuries, as endless as the gate was wide when I died, love, when I died.
When I died, love, when I died there was a war in the upper air: all that happens, happens there; there was an angel by my side when I died, love, when I died.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

An Eastern Ballad

 I speak of love that comes to mind:
The moon is faithful, although blind;
She moves in thought she cannot speak.
Perfect care has made her bleak.
I never dreamed the sea so deep, The earth so dark; so long my sleep, I have become another child.
I wake to see the world go wild.


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.


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.


by Dorothy Parker | |

Ballade at Thirty-five

 This, no song of an ingénue, 
This, no ballad of innocence; 
This, the rhyme of a lady who 
Followed ever her natural bents.
This, a solo of sapience, This, a chantey of sophistry, This, the sum of experiments, -- I loved them until they loved me.
Decked in garments of sable hue, Daubed with ashes of myriad Lents, Wearing shower bouquets of rue, Walk I ever in penitence.
Oft I roam, as my heart repents, Through God's acre of memory, Marking stones, in my reverence, "I loved them until they loved me.
" Pictures pass me in long review,-- Marching columns of dead events.
I was tender, and, often, true; Ever a prey to coincidence.
Always knew I the consequence; Always saw what the end would be.
We're as Nature has made us -- hence I loved them until they loved me.


by Ezra Pound | |

Masks

 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?


by Ezra Pound | |

Ballad for Gloom

 For God, our God is a gallant foe 
That playeth behind the veil.
I have loved my God as a child at heart That seeketh deep bosoms for rest, I have loved my God as a maid to man— But lo, this thing is best: To love your God as a gallant foe that plays behind the veil; To meet your God as the night winds meet beyond Arcturus' pale.
I have played with God for a woman, I have staked with my God for truth, I have lost to my God as a man, clear-eyed— His dice be not of ruth.
For I am made as a naked blade, But hear ye this thing in sooth: Who loseth to God as man to man Shall win at the turn of the game.
I have drawn my blade where the lightnings meet But the ending is the same: Who loseth to God as the sword blades lose Shall win at the end of the game.
For God, our God is a gallant foe that playeth behind the veil.
Whom God deigns not to overthrow hath need of triple mail.


by Ezra Pound | |

Historion

 No man hath dared to write this thing as yet, 
And yet I know, how that the souls of all men great 
At times pass athrough us, 
And we are melted into them, and are not 
Save reflexions of their souls.
Thus am I Dante for a space and am One Francois Villon, ballad-lord and thief, Or am such holy ones I may not write Lest blasphemy be writ against my name; This for an instant and the flame is gone.
'Tis as in midmost us there glows a sphere Translucent, molten gold, that is the "I" And into this some form projects itself: Christus, or John, or eke the Florentine; And as the clear space is not if a form's Imposed thereon, So cease we from all being for the time, And these, the Masters of the Soul, live on.


by Andrew Barton Paterson | |

The Ballad of M. T. Nutt and His Dog

 The Honourable M.
T.
Nutt About the bush did jog.
Till, passing by a settler's hut, He stopped and bought a dog.
Then started homewards full of hope, Alas, that hopes should fail! The dog pulled back and took the rope Beneath the horse's tail.
The Horse remarked, "I would be soft Such liberties to stand!" "Oh dog," he said, "Go up aloft, Young man, go on the land!"


by Andrew Barton Paterson | |

The Ballad of That P.N.

 The shades of night had fallen at last, 
When through the house a shadow passed, 
That once had been the Genial Dan, 
But now become a desperate man, 
At question time he waited near, 
And on the Premier's startled ear 
A voice fell like half a brick -- 
"Did ye, or did ye not, pay Crick 
Did ye?" 
By land and sea the Premier sped, 
But found his foe where'er he fled, 
The sailors swore -- with whitened lip -- 
That Neptune swam behind the ship: 
When to the stern the Premier ran, 
Behold, 'twas no one else but Dan, 
And through the roaring of the gale 
That clarion voice took up the tale, 
"Ahot there! Answer, straight and slick! 
Did not the Ministry pay Crick 
Did they?" 

In railway trains he sought retreat, 
But soon, from underneath the seat, 
With blazing eye and bristling beard, 
His ancient enemy appeared, 
And like a boiling torrent ran 
The accents of the angry Dan -- 
"Tell me, John See, and tell me quick 
Did not ye pay your shares to Crick 
Did ye?"


by Oscar Wilde | |

Silentium Amoris

 As often-times the too resplendent sun
Hurries the pallid and reluctant moon
Back to her sombre cave, ere she hath won
A single ballad from the nightingale,
So doth thy Beauty make my lips to fail,
And all my sweetest singing out of tune.
And as at dawn across the level mead On wings impetuous some wind will come, And with its too harsh kisses break the reed Which was its only instrument of song, So my too stormy passions work me wrong, And for excess of Love my Love is dumb.
But surely unto Thee mine eyes did show Why I am silent, and my lute unstrung; Else it were better we should part, and go, Thou to some lips of sweeter melody, And I to nurse the barren memory Of unkissed kisses, and songs never sung.


by Robert William Service | |

The Bread-Knife Ballad

 A little child was sitting Up on her mother's knee
And down down her cheeks the bitter tears did flow.
And as I sadly listened I heard this tender plea, 'Twas uttered in a voice so soft and low.
"Not guilty" said the Jury And the Judge said "Set her free, But remember it must not occur again.
And next time you must listen to you little daughter's plea," Then all the Court did join in this refrain.
Chorus: "Please Mother don't stab Father with the BREAD-KNIFE, Remember 'twas a gift when you were wed.
But if you must stab Father with the BREAD-KNIFE, Please Mother use another for the BREAD.
"


by Robert William Service | |

Facility

 So easy 'tis to make a rhyme,
That did the world but know it,
Your coachman might Parnassus climb,
Your butler be a poet.
Then, oh, how charming it would be If, when in haste hysteric You called the page, you learned that he Was grappling with a lyric.
Or else what rapture it would yield, When cook sent up the salad, To find within its depths concealed A touching little ballad.
Or if for tea and toast you yearned, What joy to find upon it The chambermaid had coyly laid A palpitating sonnet.
Your baker could the fashion set; Your butcher might respond well; With every tart a triolet, With every chop a rondel.
Your tailor's bill .
.
.
well, I'll be blowed! Dear chap! I never knowed him .
.
.
He's gone and written me an ode, Instead of what I owed him.
So easy 'tis to rhyme .
.
.
yet stay! Oh, terrible misgiving! Please do not give the game away .
.
.
I've got to make my living.


by Robert William Service | |

The Ballad Of The Northern Lights

 One of the Down and Out--that's me.
Stare at me well, ay, stare! Stare and shrink--say! you wouldn't think that I was a millionaire.
Look at my face, it's crimped and gouged--one of them death-mask things; Don't seem the sort of man, do I, as might be the pal of kings? Slouching along in smelly rags, a bleary-eyed, no-good bum; A knight of the hollow needle, pard, spewed from the sodden slum.
Look me all over from head to foot; how much would you think I was worth? A dollar? a dime? a nickel? Why, I'm the wealthest man on earth.
No, don't you think that I'm off my base.
You'll sing a different tune If only you'll let me spin my yarn.
Come over to this saloon; Wet my throat--it's as dry as chalk, and seeing as how it's you, I'll tell the tale of a Northern trail, and so help me God, it's true.
I'll tell of the howling wilderness and the haggard Arctic heights, Of a reckless vow that I made, and how I staked the Northern Lights.


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.


by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |

Work And Contemplation

 The woman singeth at her spinning-wheel
A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole;
She thinketh of her song, upon the whole,
Far more than of her flax; and yet the reel
Is full, and artfully her fingers feel
With quick adjustment, provident control,
The lines--too subtly twisted to unroll--
Out to a perfect thread.
I hence appeal To the dear Christian Church--that we may do Our Father's business in these temples mirk, Thus swift and steadfast, thus intent and strong; While thus, apart from toil, our souls pursue Some high calm spheric tune, and prove our work The better for the sweetness of our song.