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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John Logan (1748-88)


 

Scottish poet and sermon-writer, born in the county of Midlothian as the son of a small farmer. In 1770 Logan edited Poems on Several Occasions by Michael Bruce (1746-67) with a few pieces by other writers, in which the "Ode to the Cuckoo", one of the most popular poems in the language, appeared. In 1781 he published his own Poems, including the "Ode" as his own, though Bruce's friends strongly doubted Logan's authorship.

Logan's beautiful "The Braes of Yarrow" (1781), with the same title as William Hamilton's poem (1723), imitates a traditional ballad, "Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow, or, the Water o Gamrie" (Child 215), while the latter was based upon "The Braes o Yarrow" (Child 214). Logan's literary ballad, however, is essentially different from the tradition in that the heroine's psychological monologue occupies most of the 48 lines of the piece. (M. Y.)

1.The Braes of Yarrow