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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Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)


 

Scottish poet and novelist, born at College Wynd, Edinburgh, on 15 August 1771. Educated at Edinburgh University. Scott spent his boyhood at his grandfather's house in Kelso where he heard traditional tales and ballads of the Borders from his relatives, in addition to being much stimulated by Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765) when he was thirteen. When he was an apprentice to his father, a writer for the Signet, he devoted much of his leisure time to collecting Border tales and ballads. Influenced by German Romantics, Scott translated Gottfried August Bürger's "The Wild Huntsman", and wrote an imitation ballad, "William and Helen" in 1797. Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802-03), the fruition of his exploitation of traditional ballads, contains Border ballads, his imitations, and some articles full of his patriotism. Other longer poems are "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" (1805), "Marmion" (1808), and "The Lady of the Lake" (1810). He published over twenty novels, from Waverly (1814) to Castle Dangerous (1831). (H. N.)

Critical Essays 1    Hisayo Nakashima.
Critical Essays 2 Mitsuyoshi Yamanaka. 'Ballads : On Some of Scott's Editorial Problems'  Studies in the Humanities (48) 23-73. 1984.

1. Alice Brand
2. The Battle of Sempach
3. Bonny Dundee
4. Cadyow Castle
5. The Castle of the Seven Shields
6. Christie’s Will
7. Elspeth’s Ballad
8. The Erl-King
9. The Eve of St. John
10. The Fire King
11. Frederick and Alice
12. Glenfinlas
13. Jock of Hazeldean
14. The Noble Moringer
15. The Orphan Maid
16. Proud Maisie
17. The Reiver’s Wedding
18. Rosabelle
19. Thomas the Rhymer III
20. The Wild Huntsman
21. William and Helen
22. Young Lochinvar