Welcome to The British Literary Ballads Archive, a site dedicated to a unique genre of literary imitations of traditional ballads. The site contains a growing archive of over 700 poems, as well as short biographical sketches of the poets who wrote them.

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Charles Stuart Calverley (1831-84)



English poet and humourist, born in Worcestershire on December 22, 1831, and given the name of Charles Stuart Blayds. In 1852 his father resumed the old family name of Calverley, which his ancestor had exchanged for Blayds in 1807. He was educated at Harrow School and Balliol, Oxford. In 1851 he got the Chancellor’s prize for a Latin verse which he had composed in an afternoon while locked in his room by his friends for that purpose. The next year Calverley moved to Christ’s College, Cambridge, and then again got the Chancellor’s prize for a Latin verse. He was the only undergraduate who was awarded the prizes at both universities. He was elected fellow of Christ’s in 1858, published a volume of light verse, Verses and Translations in 1862, and was qualified to be a barrister of the Inner Temple in 1865. But because of a serious skating accident, his career was hindered and he was invalided during the last years of his life. In 1872, he published his other volume of light verse, Fly Leaves, which includes literary parodies of Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, and Matthew Arnold. Calverley has been called the father of the university school of humour. His parodies bring to mind John Betjeman (1906-84). He was also famous for the translation of medieval hymns from Latin to English. Died of Bright’s disease in February, 1884. (H. N.)

1.Ballad
2.First Love
3.On the Brink