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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Robert Allan (1774-1841)


Scottish poet and songwriter, born in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire. He early showed a talent for the composition of song, which was afterwards fostered by the encouragement of the poet Robert Tannahill (1774-1810). Like Tannahill, he was a weaver in his native place, and many of his best songs were composed at the loom, a number of which he contributed to the Scottish Minstrel (1821-24), published by R. A. Smith (1780-1829). In 1836 a volume of his poems was published, and attracted a great deal of attention among lovers of Scottish song. Later, however, he became possessed with the idea that he was not appreciated in Scotland as a poet, and determined to join his youngest son in the United States. He accordingly sailed for the New World, April 28, 1841, at the age of sixty-seven. However, the poet caught a chill while at sea, and died six days after arriving there. (M. Y.)

1.Lord Ronald Came to His Lady’s Bower