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Famous Ballad Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Ballad poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous ballad poems. These examples illustrate what a famous ballad poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Paterson, Andrew Barton
...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 overdr...Read More

by Davidson, John
...'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;
Sh...Read More

by Masefield, John
...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 cu...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...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. 
...Read More

by Amjad, Majeed
...iles ?


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 !...Read More

by Shakespeare, William 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 instance...Read More

by García Lorca, Federico
...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 ...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...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 spok...Read More

by Keats, John
...his path;
And how he died: and then, that love doth scathe,
The gentle heart, as northern blasts do roses;
And then the ballad of his sad life closes
With sighs, and an alas!--Endymion!
Be rather in the trumpet's mouth,--anon
Among the winds at large--that all may hearken!
Although, before the crystal heavens darken,
I watch and dote upon the silver lakes
Pictur'd in western cloudiness, that takes
The semblance of gold rocks and bright gold sands,
Islands, and creeks, and amb...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Taking with easy air the accustomed seat by the fireside:--
"Benedict Bellefontaine, thou hast ever thy jest and thy ballad!
Ever in cheerfullest mood art thou, when others are filled with
Gloomy forebodings of ill, and see only ruin before them.
Happy art thou, as if every day thou hadst picked up a horseshoe."
Pausing a moment, to take the pipe that Evangeline brought him,
And with a coal from the embers had lighted, he slowly continued:--
"Four days now are pass...Read More

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
...e 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....Read More

by Pound, Ezra
...n 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?...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...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 --...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...(In memoriam
C. T. W.
Sometime trooper of the Royal Horse Guards
obiit H.M. prison, Reading, Berkshire
July 7, 1896)


He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst ...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...(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 ...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...n history,
But these shall not return.

Gored on the Norman gonfalon
The Golden Dragon died:
We shall not wake with ballad strings 
The good time of the smaller things,
We shall not see the holy kings
Ride down by Severn side.

Stiff, strange, and quaintly coloured
As the broidery of Bayeux
The England of that dawn remains,
And this of Alfred and the Danes
Seems like the tales a whole tribe feigns
Too English to be true.

Of a good king on an island
That ruled onc...Read More

by Goldsmith, Oliver
...t shall repair
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be pressed,
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
These simple blessi...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...he bursting tear.'
     The Minstrel tried his simple art,
     Rut distant far was Ellen's heart.


     Alice Brand.

     Merry it is in the good greenwood,
          When the mavis and merle are singing,
     When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are in cry,
          And the hunter's horn is ringing.

     'O Alice Brand, my native land
          Is lost for love of you;
     And we must hold by wood and word,
          As outlaw...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord 
No matter: we will say whatever comes. 
And let the ladies sing us, if they will, 
From time to time, some ballad or a song 
To give us breathing-space.' 
So I began, 
And the rest followed: and the women sang 
Between the rougher voices of the men, 
Like linnets in the pauses of the wind: 
And here I give the story and the songs....Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...o Diana in the spring,
 "Where all shall see her naked skin . .
199. I do not know the origin of the ballad from which these lines
are taken: it was reported to me from Sydney, Australia.
202. V. Verlaine, Parsifal.
210. The currants were quoted at a price "carriage and
free to London"; and the Bill of Lading etc. were to be handed
to the buyer upon payment of the sight draft.
Notes 196 and 197 were transposed in this a...Read More

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