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 Robert Spencer (1769-1834)



English poet, educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford, leaving the university without taking a degree. In 1796 he published an English translation of Gottfried August Bürger’s Lenore (1773). Spencer is best remembered for his well-known ballad “Beth Gêlert” (1800), which tells of a faithful dog who protected the master’s child from an attack by a wolf, but then was killed by the master, who misunderstood the situation. He died in poverty in Paris in 1834. (M. Y.)

1.Beth Gêlert; or, The Graves of the Greyhound