Ballads are a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many ballads were written and sold as single sheet broadsides. The form was often used by poets and composers from the 18th century onwards to produce lyrical ballads.
- I knew a very wise man that believed that * * * if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation.
- Andrew Fletcher, quoting the Earl of Cromarty; Letters to the Marquis of Montrose, in Fletcher's Works (ed. 1749), p. 266.
- I have a passion for ballads. * * * They are the gypsy children of song, born under green hedgerows in the leafy lanes and bypaths of literature,—in the genial Summertime.
- I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew!
Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers.
- I love a ballad but even too well; if it be doleful matter, merrily set down, or a very pleasant thing indeed, and sung lamentably.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 56.
- I've now got the music book ready,
Do sit up and sing like a lady
A recitative from Tancredi,
And something about "Palpiti!"
Sing forte when first you begin it,
Piano the very next minute,
They'll cry "What expression there's in it!"
Don't sing English ballads to me!
- Thomas Haynes Bayly, Don't Sing English Ballads to Me.
- The farmer's daughter hath soft brown hair
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And I met with a ballad, I can't say where,
That wholly consisted of lines like these.
- Charles Stuart Calverley, Ballad.
- Thespis, the first professor of our art,
At country wakes sung ballads from a cart.
- John Dryden, Prologue to Sophonisba.
- Some people resemble ballads which are only sung for a certain time.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims. No. 220.
- For a ballad's a thing you expect to find lies in.
- Samuel Lover, Paddy Blake's Echo.
- More solid things do not show the complexion of the times so well as Ballads and Libels.
- John Selden, Libels. (Libels-pamphlets, libellum, a small book).
- A famous man is Robin Hood,
The English ballad-singer's joy.
- William Wordsworth, Rob Roy's Grave.