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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Lady Anne Lindsay (1750-1825)


Scottish poet and travel writer, born in Fife. Lady Anne became by marriage Lady Anne Barnard, and accompanied her husband, who was appointed as colonial secretary at the Cape of Good Hope, then under British occupation. While in South Africa, she wrote the journals Lady Anne Barnard at the Cape, 1797-1802, which provide an important source of information about the people, events and social life of the time.

"Auld Robin Gray", an immensely popular ballad anonymously included in David Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, Etc. (1776), was written by Lady Anne in 1771, but she did not acknowledge authorship until two years before her death. The plot is based upon "James Harris (The Dæmon Lover)" (Child 243), but the ending is so different: in the tradition the heroine leaves her husband and child to elope with her former lover, actually a corporeal revenant, only to sink to the bottom of the sea, while Anne's heroine gives up the returned lover to choose the way of good wife. (M. Y.)

1.Auld Robin Grey