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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William Julius Mickle (1735-88)

Scottish poet, born at Langholm, Dumfriesshire. At the age of thirteen, when he had a chance to read Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596), he became fascinated by the great poet, and began to imitate his manner. While working as a copy editor for the Clarendon Press at Oxford, he commenced, in 1771, a translation of The Lusiad (1572), an epic by Luiz de Camoens (1524-80), the Portuguese poet, which he completed in 1775, gaining a reward of both fame and money.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) entertained a high opinion of Mickle’s poetical gifts, and found inspiration in Mickle’s “Cumnor Hall” (1784) for his novel, Kenilworth (1821). (M. Y.)

Critical Essays 1      Mitsuyoshi Yamanaka.  'The History of Literary Ballads (6) - "Cumnor Hall" and the Speaker in 'sick'ning griefe''
Studies in the Humanities (63) 1-26. 1999.


1. Cumnor Hall
2. Hengist and Mey: A Ballad
3. The Sailor’s Wife
4. The Sorceress; or Wolfwold and Ulla