18世紀のイギリス でバラッド詩という新しいタイプの詩が生まれ、以来、今日まで独特のバ ラッド模倣詩が生み出されて来ました。当ホームページ「英国バラッド詩アーカイブ」は、バラッド詩研究の基盤を整備するために、製作者が知りうる限りでの バラッド詩を網羅的に蒐集したものであります。

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エドウィン・ミューア (Edwin Muir, 1887-1959)



スコットランドの詩人。オークニー島に生まれ、子供時代をそこで過ごしたが、14歳の時、家族とともにグラスゴーに移る。両親と二人の兄弟の死後、ロンドンに移り、当時、硬派の文芸誌として評判であった New Age の編集助手をつとめる。

1955 年から56年にかけて、ハーヴァード大学の ‘The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures’ に招かれて講義し、バラッドを通して、密室化した現代詩が喪失した読者大衆(‘audience’)との結びつきの回復を訴えた [講義の内容はその後、The Estate of Poetry (London, 1962)として出版された]。ミューアはそこで、バラッドが子供時代の生活の一部であったことを次のように述べている。

I was brought up in a group of islands on the north of Scotland, remote enough for life there to have remained almost unchanged for two hundred years. In our farm-house in one of the smaller Orkney islands, there were not many books apart from the Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress, and the poems of Burns. Except for Burns we had no poetry books, but we knew a great number of ballads and songs which had been handed down from generation to generation. These, sometimes with the airs traditionally belonging to them, were known in all the farms; there must have been hundreds of them. They were part of our life, all the more because we knew them by heart, and had not acquired but inherited them. They were not contemporary in any sense, but entered our present from the past. [Edwin Muir, Estate of Poetry (London, 1962) 9-10]

そして、現代詩が失った読者と物語性の関連について、次のように指摘している。

The tragic story affects us with unique power because it moves in time, and because we live in time. It reminds us of the pattern of our lives; and within that pattern it brings our loves, our passions, their effects, and unavoidable chance. Matthew Arnold urged that the representation of an action was essential for a great poem, and he may have meant something like this, since a story gives a more complete idea of our temporal lives than any other means that has been discovered. But with the disappearance of the greater audience the story has declined; some poets of our time have used it effectively: I think of Robert Frost and certain poems of T. S. Eliot. But the story, although it is our story, is disappearing from poetry. 

It has been taken over by the novel, but expanded there into something quite unlike what it was when used in poetry. The old story was quite simple. It followed some figure—Odysseus, or Ruth, or King David—through time; and it remains the most pure image that we have of temporal life, tracing the journey which we shall take. The novel also tells a story in time, but it is almost as concerned with the relations which space imposes upon us; it deals, at its most typical, with society. It gives us a description or a report, not a clear image of life. (Estate of Poetry 29)

バラッド世界の全体像を再創造したいと願っていたミューアの願いは、彼の死後、夫人の Willa Muir に引き継がれ、彼女は1965年に Living with Ballads というバラッド研究の古典的名著を出版した。 (M. Y.)

原詩(英詩)  
1. Ballad of Everyman  
2. Ballad of Hector in Hades  
3. Ballad of the Flood  
4. Ballad of the Soul  
5. The Enchanted Knight  
6. The Voyage