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 Motherwell (1797-1835)



Scottish poet, born in Glasgow, October 1797. Motherwell's passion for local ballads and history culminated into the publication of the collections The Harp of Renfrewshire (1819) and Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern (1827). Many of his literary ballads are collected in his Poems Narrative and Lyrical (1832), of which "Jeanie Morrison" is the best known. Politically, he professes a sort of Tory Orangeism as he became the editor of the Orange-Tory paper, the Glasgow Courier. His inclination to the chivalrous past and antique forms of old Scottish culture explains his cultural nationalism crystallized in a number of his ballad poems. (Y. Y.)

1.Clerk Richard and Maid Margaret
2.Elfinland Wud
3.The Ettin o' Sillarwood
4.The Fause Ladye
5.Halbert the Grim
6.Jeanie Morrison
7.Lady Margaret
8.Lord Archibald
9.The Master of Weemys
10.The Mermaiden
11.Roland and Rosabelle
12.The Rose and the Fair Lilye
13.The Slayne Menstrel
14.True Love's Dirge