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.

FacebookTwitterGoogle Bookmarks

Charles Kingsley (1819-75)



Poet, novelist, social reformer, and churchman, Kingsley was born in 1819 at Holme in Devon, and was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, later becoming professor of modern history at Cambridge, 1860-69.

 Westward Ho! (1855), set in the Elizabethan period, is a novel inspired by an upsurge in patriotism brought by the Crimean War (1853-56). Its hero, Devon seaman Amyas Leigh, wages war against the Armada and the Spanish captain Don Guzman. "Ballad of Earl Haldan's Daughter" is a ballad sung by Rose Salterne, who was caught by Guzman, and shows her violent feeling of love and hate towards an enemy alien. The line "For men must work and women must weep" from Kingsley's most popular ballad "The Three Fishers" has become proverbial. The Water-Babies (1863) was a favourite story with Queen Victoria, who read the fairy tale to her children. It remains still popular with children today, but it shows another aspect of Kingsley, as social reformer, because it is said that the story of Tom, the chimney-sweeper transformed into a water-baby, led to the Chimney Sweeper's Act of 1864. (M. Y.)

1. The Bad Squire
2. Ballad: Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorrèe
3. Ballad of Earl Haldan's Daughter
4. The Knight's Leap
5. The Last Buccaneer
6. A New Forest Ballad
7. The Outlaw
8. The Priest's Heart
9. The Red King
10. The Sands of Dee
11.Scotch Song
12.The Song of the Little Baltung
13.The Three Fishers
14.The Weird Lady
15.The Young Knight