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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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)



English poet and novelist. Born in Dorset as son of a stone-mason, young Hardy was taught the violin by his father, and was encouraged to read books by his mother. At 16 he was apprenticed to a local architect, later moving to London, and returning home to continue architectural work.

With the success of his fourth novel Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), Hardy gave up architecture for writing, and he has since remained a popular novelist of the Victorian Age. However, his 'pessimism' and 'immorality' to be found in Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895) received bitter and hostile reviews, and Hardy gave up the writing of fiction to concentrate on poetry. He left over 900 poems in eight collections including Wessex Poems (1898). While Hardy followed William Wordsworth and Robert Browning in writing verse in the language of daily speech, he experimented constantly with rhyme and other verse forms. Today, Hardy is highly appraised as the 'father of modern poetry'. Hardy is one of the poets who left an exceptionally large number of literary ballads, the others being A. C. Swinburne and Rudyard Kipling. Here again, Hardy experimented variously with the subject matters and narrative techniques of the traditional ballad. The rural characters in Hardy's novels sang the ballads current in Dorset. Hardy originally intended to write in ballad stanza his epic-drama of the war with Napoleon, The Dynasts (1904,1906, 1908).   (M. Y.)

 

1."Ah, Are You Digging on my Grave?"
2.At Shag's Heath
3.The Ballad of Love's Skeleton
4.The Brother
5.The Catching Ballet of the Wedding Clothes
6.The Dance at the Phœnix
7.The Dark-Eyed Gentleman
8.The Dead and the Living One
9.The Forbidden Banns
10.The Harvest Supper
11.Her Immortality
12.In the Days of Crinoline
13.Leipzig
14.The Lost Pyx
15.The Mock Wife
16.The Moth-Signal
17.No Bell-Ringing
18.The Pair He Saw Pass
19.The Peasant's Confession
20.A Practical Woman
21.The Rash Bride
22.The Revisitation
23.The Ruined Maid
24.The Sacrilege
25.San Sebastian
26.The Satin Shoes
27.The Second Night
28.The Slow Nature
29.A Sunday Morning Tragedy
30.The Supplanter
31.A Trampwoman's Tragedy
32.Valenciennes
33.The Vampirine Fair
34.The Well-Beloved
35.The Widow Betrothed
36.The Workbox