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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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Written by William Shakespeare | Create an image from this poem

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 | Create an image from this poem

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 Majeed Amjad | Create an image from this poem

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 Edgar Allan Poe | Create an image from this poem

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 Ella Wheeler Wilcox | Create an image from this poem

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 Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

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 John Davidson | Create an image from this poem

A Ballad of Hell

 'A letter from my love to-day!
Oh, unexpected, dear appeal!'
She struck a happy tear away,
And broke the crimson seal.
'My love, there is no help on earth, No help in heaven; the dead-man's bell Must toll our wedding; our first hearth Must be the well-paved floor of hell.
' The colour died from out her face, Her eyes like ghostly candles shone; She cast dread looks about the place, Then clenched her teeth and read right on.
'I may not pass the prison door; Here must I rot from day to day, Unless I wed whom I abhor, My cousin, Blanche of Valencay.
'At midnight with my dagger keen, I'll take my life; it must be so.
Meet me in hell to-night, my queen, For weal and woe.
' She laughed although her face was wan, She girded on her golden belt, She took her jewelled ivory fan, And at her glowing missal knelt.
Then rose, 'And am I mad?' she said: She broke her fan, her belt untied; With leather girt herself instead, And stuck a dagger at her side.
She waited, shuddering in her room, Till sleep had fallen on all the house.
She never flinched; she faced her doom: They two must sin to keep their vows.
Then out into the night she went, And, stooping, crept by hedge and tree; Her rose-bush flung a snare of scent, And caught a happy memory.
She fell, and lay a minute's space; She tore the sward in her distress; The dewy grass refreshed her face; She rose and ran with lifted dress.
She started like a morn-caught ghost Once when the moon came out and stood To watch; the naked road she crossed, And dived into the murmuring wood.
The branches snatched her streaming cloak; A live thing shrieked; she made no stay! She hurried to the trysting-oak— Right well she knew the way.
Without a pause she bared her breast, And drove her dagger home and fell, And lay like one that takes her rest, And died and wakened up in hell.
She bathed her spirit in the flame, And near the centre took her post; From all sides to her ears there came The dreary anguish of the lost.
The devil started at her side, Comely, and tall, and black as jet.
'I am young Malespina's bride; Has he come hither yet?' 'My poppet, welcome to your bed.
' 'Is Malespina here?' 'Not he! To-morrow he must wed His cousin Blanche, my dear!' 'You lie, he died with me to-night.
' 'Not he! it was a plot' .
'You lie.
' 'My dear, I never lie outright.
' 'We died at midnight, he and I.
' The devil went.
Without a groan She, gathered up in one fierce prayer, Took root in hell's midst all alone, And waited for him there.
She dared to make herself at home Amidst the wail, the uneasy stir.
The blood-stained flame that filled the dome, Scentless and silent, shrouded her.
How long she stayed I cannot tell; But when she felt his perfidy, She marched across the floor of hell; And all the damned stood up to see.
The devil stopped her at the brink: She shook him off; she cried, 'Away!' 'My dear, you have gone mad, I think.
' 'I was betrayed: I will not stay.
' Across the weltering deep she ran; A stranger thing was never seen: The damned stood silent to a man; They saw the great gulf set between.
To her it seemed a meadow fair; And flowers sprang up about her feet She entered heaven; she climbed the stair And knelt down at the mercy-seat.
Seraphs and saints with one great voice Welcomed that soul that knew not fear.
Amazed to find it could rejoice, Hell raised a hoarse, half-human cheer.
Written by Ezra Pound | Create an image from this poem


 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 Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

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 G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

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 Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

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 Joyce Kilmer | Create an image from this poem


 (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.
Written by Algernon Charles Swinburne | Create an image from this poem

A Ballad of Death

 Kneel down, fair Love, and fill thyself with tears,
Girdle thyself with sighing for a girth
Upon the sides of mirth,
Cover thy lips and eyelids, let thine ears
Be filled with rumour of people sorrowing;
Make thee soft raiment out of woven sighs
Upon the flesh to cleave,
Set pains therein and many a grievous thing,
And many sorrows after each his wise
For armlet and for gorget and for sleeve.
O Love's lute heard about the lands of death, Left hanged upon the trees that were therein; O Love and Time and Sin, Three singing mouths that mourn now underbreath, Three lovers, each one evil spoken of; O smitten lips wherethrough this voice of mine Came softer with her praise; Abide a little for our lady's love.
The kisses of her mouth were more than wine, And more than peace the passage of her days.
O Love, thou knowest if she were good to see.
O Time, thou shalt not find in any land Till, cast out of thine hand, The sunlight and the moonlight fail from thee, Another woman fashioned like as this.
O Sin, thou knowest that all thy shame in her Was made a goodly thing; Yea, she caught Shame and shamed him with her kiss, With her fair kiss, and lips much lovelier Than lips of amorous roses in late spring.
By night there stood over against my bed Queen Venus with a hood striped gold and black, Both sides drawn fully back From brows wherein the sad blood failed of red, And temples drained of purple and full of death.
Her curled hair had the wave of sea-water And the sea's gold in it.
Her eyes were as a dove's that sickeneth.
Strewn dust of gold she had shed over her, And pearl and purple and amber on her feet.
Upon her raiment of dyed sendaline Were painted all the secret ways of love And covered things thereof, That hold delight as grape-flowers hold their wine; Red mouths of maidens and red feet of doves, And brides that kept within the bride-chamber Their garment of soft shame, And weeping faces of the wearied loves That swoon in sleep and awake wearier, With heat of lips and hair shed out like flame.
The tears that through her eyelids fell on me Made mine own bitter where they ran between As blood had fallen therein, She saying; Arise, lift up thine eyes and see If any glad thing be or any good Now the best thing is taken forth of us; Even she to whom all praise Was as one flower in a great multitude, One glorious flower of many and glorious, One day found gracious among many days: Even she whose handmaiden was Love--to whom At kissing times across her stateliest bed Kings bowed themselves and shed Pale wine, and honey with the honeycomb, And spikenard bruised for a burnt-offering; Even she between whose lips the kiss became As fire and frankincense; Whose hair was as gold raiment on a king, Whose eyes were as the morning purged with flame, Whose eyelids as sweet savour issuing thence.
Then I beheld, and lo on the other side My lady's likeness crowned and robed and dead.
Sweet still, but now not red, Was the shut mouth whereby men lived and died.
And sweet, but emptied of the blood's blue shade, The great curled eyelids that withheld her eyes.
And sweet, but like spoilt gold, The weight of colour in her tresses weighed.
And sweet, but as a vesture with new dyes, The body that was clothed with love of old.
Ah! that my tears filled all her woven hair And all the hollow bosom of her gown-- Ah! that my tears ran down Even to the place where many kisses were, Even where her parted breast-flowers have place, Even where they are cloven apart--who knows not this? Ah! the flowers cleave apart And their sweet fills the tender interspace; Ah! the leaves grown thereof were things to kiss Ere their fine gold was tarnished at the heart.
Ah! in the days when God did good to me, Each part about her was a righteous thing; Her mouth an almsgiving, The glory of her garments charity, The beauty of her bosom a good deed, In the good days when God kept sight of us; Love lay upon her eyes, And on that hair whereof the world takes heed; And all her body was more virtuous Than souls of women fashioned otherwise.
Now, ballad, gather poppies in thine hands And sheaves of brier and many rusted sheaves Rain-rotten in rank lands, Waste marigold and late unhappy leaves And grass that fades ere any of it be mown; And when thy bosom is filled full thereof Seek out Death's face ere the light altereth, And say "My master that was thrall to Love Is become thrall to Death.
" Bow down before him, ballad, sigh and groan.
But make no sojourn in thy outgoing; For haply it may be That when thy feet return at evening Death shall come in with thee.
Written by Andrew Barton Paterson | Create an image from this poem

A Ballad of Ducks

 The railway rattled and roared and swung 
With jolting and bumping trucks.
The sun, like a billiard red ball, hung In the Western sky: and the tireless tongue Of the wild-eyed man in the corner told This terrible tale of the days of old, And the party that ought to have kept the ducks.
"Well, it ain't all joy bein' on the land With an overdraft that'd knock you flat; And the rabbits have pretty well took command; But the hardest thing for a man to stand Is the feller who says 'Well I told you so! You should ha' done this way, don't you know!' -- I could lay a bait for a man like that.
"The grasshoppers struck us in ninety-one And what they leave -- well, it ain't de luxe.
But a growlin' fault-findin' son of a gun Who'd lent some money to stock our run -- I said they'd eaten what grass we had -- Says he, 'Your management's very bad; You had a right to have kept some ducks!' "To have kept some ducks! And the place was white! Wherever you went you had to tread On grasshoppers guzzlin' day and night; And then with a swoosh they rose in flight, If you didn't look out for yourself they'd fly Like bullets into your open eye And knock it out of the back of your head.
"There isn't a turkey or goose or swan, Or a duck that quacks, or a hen that clucks, Can make a difference on a run When a grasshopper plague has once begun; 'If you'd finance us,' I says, 'I'd buy Ten thousand emus and have a try; The job,' I says, 'is too big for ducks! "'You must fetch a duck when you come to stay; A great big duck -- a Muscovy toff -- Ready and fit,' I says, 'for the fray; And if the grasshoppers come our way You turn your duck into the lucerne patch, And I'd be ready to make a match That the grasshoppers eat his feathers off!" "He came to visit us by and by, And it just so happened one day in spring A kind of cloud came over the sky -- A wall of grasshoppers nine miles high, And nine miles thick, and nine hundred wide, Flyin' in regiments, side by side, And eatin' up every living thing.
"All day long, like a shower of rain, You'd hear 'em smackin' against the wall, Tap, tap, tap, on the window pane, And they'd rise and jump at the house again Till their crippled carcasses piled outside.
But what did it matter if thousands died -- A million wouldn't be missed at all.
"We were drinkin' grasshoppers -- so to speak -- Till we skimmed their carcasses off the spring; And they fell so thick in the station creek They choked the waterholes all the week.
There was scarcely room for a trout to rise, And they'd only take artificial flies -- They got so sick of the real thing.
"An Arctic snowstorm was beat to rags When the hoppers rose for their morning flight With the flapping noise like a million flags: And the kitchen chimney was stuffed with bags For they'd fall right into the fire, and fry Till the cook sat down and began to cry -- And never a duck or fowl in sight.
"We strolled across to the railroad track -- Under a cover beneath some trucks, I sees a feather and hears a quack; I stoops and I pulls the tarpaulin back -- Every duck in the place was there, No good to them was the open air.
'Mister,' I says, 'There's your blanky ducks!'"
Written by John Masefield | Create an image from this poem

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.