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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Sydney Dobell (1828-74)



English poet and critic, born as the son of a wine merchant and educated privately, never attending either school or university. As a poet he belonged to the Spasmodic School, which was the term applied by W. E. Aytoun (1813-65) to the group. Aytoun satirized the excess of metaphor and extravagance of language of the group. Their estimation was completely destroyed by Aytoun’s parody, Firmilian (1854). Dobell published, jointly with Alexander Smith, Sonnet on the War (1855) and England in Time of War (1856), which contains a lyrical but very restrained ballad, “The Ballad of Keith of Ravelston” (1856). It was much admired by D. G. Rossetti (1828-82), who praised Dobell, and said that he ranked with John Keats (1795-1821) whom Rossetti worshiped above all others. (M. M.)

1.The Ballad of Keith of Ravelston
2.Daft Jean