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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Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)


English poet, born in Wolverhampton, England. In 1898 he entered Exeter College, Oxford, but he failed to take his degree. From 1914 to 1923 he taught English literature at Princeton University, and during the Second World War he resided mostly in Canada and the United States. In 1949 he returned to Britain, suffering from increasing blindness, and his subsequent works were all dictated. Noyes’s autobiography, Two Worlds for Memory published in 1953, describes his life on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. He died at the age of 77, and was buried on the Isle of Wight.

Noyes published his first collection of poetry, The Loom of Years, in 1902. His best loved ballad, “The Highwayman”, was included in Forty Singing Seamen and Other Poems (1907). One of Noyes’s most ambitious works, Drake: An English Epic, in twelve books in blank verse, was published in two volumes in 1906 and 1908. The Unknown God (1934) is about his conversion to Roman Catholicism after his wife’s death in 1926. (M. Y.)

1.The Admiral’s Ghost
2.The Ballad of Dick Turpin
3.The Highwayman
4.A Victory Dance
5.“Will Shakespeare’s out like Robin Hood”