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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E. R. B. Lytton (Owen Meredith) (1831-91)



English statesman and poet, 1st Earl of Lytton. Born as a son of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron of Lytton, novelist, at Mayfair, on the 8th of November 1831. Educated at Twickenham, Brighton, Harrow and Bonn. Lytton developed a love of literature and a facility for writing poetry through voracious reading and tireless writing from early childhood. In 1850 Lytton entered the diplomatic service as an unpaid attaché to his uncle, Sir Henry Bulwer, the minister at Washington D. C. His subsequent diplomatic service continued to his death, being en poste in over ten foreign cities. In November of 1875 Lytton was nominated Governor-general of India by Benjamin Disraeli. During his administration in India, the country was seriously impoverished by the Great Famine of 1876-78, which claimed about 10 million people, and by the Anglo-Afghan War of 1878-80. Some historians argue the famine was man-made due to Lytton’s policies.

Lytton, under the name of Owen Meredith, published several works: Clytumnestra and Other Poems (1855), The Wanderers (1859), Lucile (1860), etc. A Few Lyrics of Owen Meredith (1877) was set to Hindu music and dedicated to Lytton by the president of the Bengal Music School, Sourindro Mohun Tagore to commemorate the assumption by Queen Victoria of the title of Empress of India in 1877. (H. N.)

1. Aux Italiens