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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Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903)



Born in Co. Monaghan, Ireland, in 1816. An Irish nationalist, journalist, and politician, and an Australian statesman and author. He was one of the founders of The Nation, a weekly Irish nationalist newspaper first issued in 1842, the two others being Thomas Osborne Davis and John Blake Dillon. The three of them were leading members of a nationalist group called Young Ireland. The newspaper spread the views of Young Ireland widely, selling more than 10,000 copies per issue. Following the phenomenal success, Duffy collected the poems and ballads originally published in The Nation and issued part one of The Spirit of the Nation in 1843 and part two in 1844. An enlarged edition appeared in 1845 with music settings added. Duffy also edited The Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1845).

He became MP for New Ross in 1852, but emigrated to Australia in 1855, where he became the 8th Premier of Victoria (1871 to 72). Knighted in 1873, he retired to France in 1880, and became the first president of the Irish Literary Society in London. (N. M.)

1.The Muster of the North