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 Johnson Cory (1823-92)



English poet and educator. After Eton, under the name William Johnson, he studied at King’s College, Cambridge, where he gained the chancellor’s medal for an English poem. He was assistant master at Eton from 1845 to 1872, where he was called “the most brilliant Eton tutor of his day”. Among his students were many future leaders of the country, including several prime ministers. After leaving Eton in 1872, he assumed the surname of Cory. In 1858 Johnson published Ionica, a book of poems including translations of the Greek and Latin poets, and homoerotic and pederastic poems dedicated to one of his pupils, the “pretty-faced” Charles Wood, later Lord Halifax (1800-85). Ionica II
was privately printed in 1877, and was widely read and caused a stir. He also wrote the words of the well-known “Eton Boating Song”. (M. Y.)

1.A Ballad for a Boy