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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H. W. Bunbury (1750-1811)


Born in 1750 in Suffolk, Henry William Bunbury is best known as a caricaturist. He attended Bury St. Edmunds School and Westminster, where he began to produce drawings and to be attracted by the ludicrous. He exhibited his La cuisine de la poste, at the Royal Academy in 1770, and an ardent collector, Horace Walpole, called him “the Second Hogarth”. His good-humoured satiric art achieved widespread popularity. In 1771, he married Catherine Horneck, who was called ‘Little Comedy’ by Oliver Goldsmith, and cultivated friendship with Sir Joshua Reynolds and David Garrick. Bunbury’s literary activities are less known, but he shows a satiric response to the fashionable Gothic taste at that time by composing grotesque parodies. “The Little Grey Man,” one possible example, is included in The Tales of Wonder(1801), a collection of Gothic poems edited by M. G. Lewis. Bunbury is known to have illustrated anonymous Tales of Terror (1801) and Tales of the Devil (1801), whose poetry, in whole or in part, is attributed to him as well. (N. M.)

1.The Little Grey Man