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Traditional Ballad Poetry

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Traditional Ballad Poetry The traditional ballad is a song that tells us a story. The origin of the word "ballad" comes from Old French and means a song accompanying a dance - "ballade". The Old French actually derives from the Latin "to dance". Oral tradition is a big factor in Ballad poetry especially the traditional form. Ballads were memorised because at the time they were sung and recited but not written down because the majority of people couldn't read or write. Traditional and Literary ballads are very different. Traditional ballads are ballads which have been recited and memorised over the years. There creators are usually anonymous. Oral tradition has played a big part in the renewal of traditional ballads however in recent times they tend to be written down. Literary ballads are very different in that the creator of the ballad is known unlike the traditional ballad in which the creator is unknown. Literary ballads tend to be a lot longer and more complex than the traditional form. This is because nowadays we have access to pen and paper but when traditional ballads were formed they had to be simple and easy to recite because the ballad itself had to be passed along by oral tradition. ...read more.


These two lines were easy to remember and recite. "A faithless shepherd courted me, He stole away my liberty." "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is different in that it has two speakers in each verse whereas "Ballad" only has one. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" has a medieval romantic aura. The language is sometimes medieval. "Ails" replaces "What is the matter?". This implementation is very effective. "Ballad" is older than "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" and we can prove this from some prominent features. In traditional ballads there is a moral dimension, usually "good versus bad' and as in "Ballad" bad triumphs over good. However in Literary ballads, the ideas and solutions are much more complex to understand. The situations in "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" are much harder to understand than in "Ballad" which deals with situations more simply. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is similar to "Ballad" in that they both have tragic themes and the endings bring about disaster. However "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is much more complex and structured than "Ballad". ...read more.


"Jock of Hazeldean" has very different verse form but yet is clearly a ballad. Once more a woman escapes her fate - in this case an arranged marriage. A feature of "Jock of Hazeldean" we notice is its extreme complexity. This is a distinguishing feature of a literary ballad because a literary ballad agonises over an expieriece and often reaches no simple conclusions. Examples of this are in the first two lines of the ballad, "Why weep ye by the tide, lade? Why weep ye by the tide?" The "Twa Corbies" is full of traditional Scottish language. The words have many similarities from todays' modern language. For example "fail dyke" is translated as "old ditch" and "house bane" is translated as "house bound". These four ballads I have studied are all great examples of the ballad form. The Ballads I studied were "Ballad", "Jock of Hazeldean", "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" and the "Twa Corbies". These ballads convey aspects of life from different era's. The ballads are still recognised and enjoyed today by many people of different ages. The storylines and sing-a-long attributes of these ballads are what makes it so enjoyable to read and to be recited. Ballads are a superb form of poetry and I have immensly enjoyed analysing them. ?? ...read more.

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