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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George Meredith (1828-1909)


 

English poet and novelist, born in Portsmouth, England. Meredith is famous for his collection of poems titled Modern Love, and Poems of the English Roadside (1862). In 1849 he married Mary Ellen Nicholls, the daughter of T. L. Peacock (1785-1866), but eight years later she left him for Henry Wallis, the painter of The Death of Chatterton (1856), for which Meredith himself sat as the model. Readers can easily find his personal experience and feeling in Modern Love. As to his ballads, however, Renate Muendel points out that '[t]he ballads . . . deal with the force of jealousy, pride, suspicion, revenge, and the conflict between uxoriousness and loyalty to one's followers. Dramatizing brief, suggestive incidents, they capture the tragic essence of human relationship gone awry and, sometimes, the rottenness of an entire culture. In addition, they point to the precariousness of human communication and to the unreliability of appearances — topics Meredith explores at greater length and with more complexity in "Modern Love" and in his novels' [Renate Muendel, George Meredith (Boston, 1986) 23]. Meredith could express his most intense feelings of human beings such as hatred, sorrow and pleasure, not in lyric poems but in ballads, which have delved even into ugly realities throughout human existence. (M. M.)

1.Archduchess Anne
2.A Ballad of Past Meridian
3.Beauty Rohtraut
4.Margaret’s Bridal Eve
5.The Three Maidens
6.The Young Princess: a Ballad of Old Laws of Love