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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S. T. Coleridge (1772-1834)

English Romantic poet, critic and philosopher, born the son of a clergyman in Devonshire, England in 1772. After his father’s death in 1781, he was sent to Christ’s Hospital, and he cultivated friendships with Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt. He matriculated at Cambridge in 1791. When he was a college student, he formed friendships with Robert Southey and they planned to construct an egalitarian commune, ‘Pantisocracy,’ a name they coined themselves. He was addicted to opium while being treated for rheumatism.

Coleridge published his first poem in the Morning Chronicle in 1794. Among his major poetical works are three visionary poems, Christabel (1816), a fragmentary Kubla Khan (1816), and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798), as well as France: An Ode (1798), a political poem on the French Revolution, and “Love,” one of the love poems known as ‘The Asra Poems’. He also established a secure position as a literary critic with his Biographia Literaria (1817) and lectures on Shakespeare.

He contracted a friendship with William Wordsworth, and they jointly published Lyrical Ballads (1798), which includes his representative literary ballad “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” In this poem, the old traditional ballad rhyme ‘abcb’ is effectively adopted to express supernatural motifs as well as the ancient mariner’s sin and curse on his voyage. (M. I.)

1.The Ballad of the Dark Ladié
3.The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
4.The Three Graves