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The Ballad

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2021
3 hours 41 minutes
The ballad is one of the oldest poetic forms in English and are simply poems or songs that tell a story. Traditionally they are composed in quatrains, with common meter that follow an a b c b rhyming structure and this, together with the simple language (often the dialect of the region), made them easier to memorise and recite by wandering minstrels as they were passed down orally. Originally derived from the Medieval French the name suggests that they were to dance to and whilst widely used around Europe and other parts of the world, became characteristic of British poetry from the Middle Ages to the 19th century when it settled into our current usage of the term as a slow sentimental song.By the 17th century the printed version of ballads, often with music and illustration, known as Broadsides or Broadsheets, circulated, probably in their millions throughout Britain and remained popular until the Victorian era when they lost prestige.Whether they be folk, literary or lyrical, most ballads contain a self-contained, concise, plot driven story told in the third person narrative, often featuring dialogue and moving at a pace with an emotional urgency to arrive at a dramatic conclusion. The subject of ballads are limitless and they can be tragic, historical or comic.Maybe it's because of childhood associations or that we all enjoy a cracking good story told in rhyme but as this volume demonstrates, the ballad has endless appeal. We include favourites such as Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Edna St Vincent Millay's The Ballad of the Harp Weaver, Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee as well as classics such as Sir Patrick Spens, the Ballad of Reading Gaol by Wilde and La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Keats. There's many more known and lesser known in this volume celebrating this most popular and accessible poetic form.
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