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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Robert Southey (1774-1843)



English Romantic Poet, born in Bristol, 12 August 1774. Southey proceeded to Oxford University and established a close friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. At Oxford they planned to construct an egalitarian commune, ‘Pantisocracy,’ a name they coined themselves. In 1800 he went to Spain, and after his return he settled in the Lake District, being known as one of the ‘Lake poets’ together with Coleridge and Wordsworth. Southey was appointed Poet Laureate in 1813. For thirty years, he also served as a contributor to Quarterly Review, which was first published in 1809 to counter Edinburgh Review.

In 1794 he published his first collection of poems. His representative work includes The Curse of Kehama (1810), an epic rooted in Hindu mythology, and Life of Nelson (1813), a biography of Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). He composed many literary ballads from 1796 to 1798, of which ‘The Inchcape Rock’ and ‘The Battle of Blenheim’ were especially influential in making rigid 18th century verse more flexible. (M. I.)

1.The Battle of Blenheim
2.Bishop Bruno
3.Cornelius Agrippa
4.Donica
5.God’s Judgment on a Wicked Bishop
6.The Inchcape Rock
7.Jaspar
8.Lord William
9.Mary, the Maid of the Inn
10.The Old Woman of Berkeley
11.The Painter of Florence
12.Queen Mary’s Christening
13.Queen Orraca and the Five Martyrs of Morocco
14.Roprecht the Robber
15.Rudiger
16.St. Patrick’s Purgatory
17.The Surgeon’s Warning
18.A True Ballad of St. Antidius, the Pope, and the Devil
19.The Well of St. Keyne