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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Alexander Pope (1688-1744)


English poet, born in Dublin. In 1700 his family moved to a small estate in Binfield, Berkshire, close to the royal Windsor Forest, in the South East of England. From the age of 12 he suffered Pott’s disease (a form of tuberculosis that affects the spine), which deformed his body and stunted his growth. He mostly educated himself by reading the works of classical writers such as Homer, Virgil, and Horace, as well as English writers like Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare.

Windsor Forest (1713), which celebrates the Peace of Utrecht, belongs to topographical poetry, combining description of landscape with historical, literary, and political reflections. Among other major works are Essay on Criticism (1711), The Rape of the Lock (1712), a translation of Homer’s Iliad (1715-20), and Essay on Man (1733-34). Pope was a master of the heroic couplet, but his poetry was mostly seen as artificial by the Romantic poets such as S. T. Coleridge and William Hazlitt, until in the 20th century Pope’s variety and complexity were reevaluated by William Empson and other critics. (M. Y.)

1.The Court Ballad
2.Sandys’ Ghost