Sidelight: Many old-time ballads were written and performed by minstrels attached to noblemen's courts. Folk ballads are of unknown origin and are usually lacking in artistic finish. Meant to be sung, but often studied as poetry, the texts are independent of the melodies, which are often used for a number of different ballads. Because they are handed down by oral tradition, folk ballads are subject to variations and continual change. Other types of ballads include those transferred from rural to urban settings, and literary ballads, combining the natures of epic and lyric poetry, which are written by known authors, often in the style and form of the folk ballad, such as Keats' "La Belle Dame sans Merci" or Scott's "Jock o' Hazeldean."(See also Broadside Ballad, Lay, Tragedy)
Sidelight: The ballade was prominent in French literature from the 14th to the 16th century and was favored by many poets, including Francois Villon, for example, in poems such as "Des Dames du Temps Jadis." In the nineteenth century it was popular with poets like Verlaine and Baudelaire. In English literature, Chaucer wrote ballades and some late-nineteenth century poets also used the form.
Sidelight: Today the term is popularly applied to poets of significant repute(See also Metrist, Poet, Sonneteer, Versifier, Wordsmith)
as a title of honor, with William Shakespeare being known as "The Bard of
Avon" and Robert Burns as "The Bard of Ayrshire."
(Compare Ternary Meter)
The qua | lity | of mer | cy is | not strain'd,
It drop | peth as | the gen | tle rain | from heaven
Upon | the place | beneath; | it is | twice blest:
It bles | seth him | that gives | and him | that takes;
Sidelight: Blank verse and free verse are often misunderstood or confused. A good way to remember the difference is to think of the word blank as meaning that the ends of the lines where rhymes would normally appear are "blank," i.e., devoid of rhyme; the free in free verse refers to the freedom from fixed patterns of traditional versification.(See also Verse Paragraph)
(See also Crambo)
Sidelight: The rogue, Autolycus, in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, is a peddler whose wares include broadside ballads.
(See also Arcadia, Eclogue, Idyll, Madrigal)
(See also Motif, Theme)
(See also Hudibrastic Verse,
Lampoon, Mock Epic,
(Compare Antiphrasis, Irony, Purple Patch)