Let’s write some poetry!
This Tuesday and last we’ve been learning about Ballads!
A. Introduction to Ballads
Ballads are regular, repetitive, and musical. Most songs you hear on the radio would be considered a ballad of one kind or another.
B. What is a Ballad?
- It often has four lines per group, or stanza. (The example below actually has 6 lines per stanza, and that’s okay too)
- The 1st and 3rd line in each stanza has four accents, or stresses
- The 2nd and 4th lines have either 3 stresses or 4 stresses, but it needs to be the same throughout the whole poem. (see example below)
- Ballads rhyme. Often the 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme. (This is called an ABAB pattern). This is flexible, but again, the pattern needs to be the same throughout the whole poem!
- Repetition is important in a ballad. Sometimes a poet will make the last line of each stanza the same.
- Ballads often tell some kind of story, often a story about how someone died.
- Example of stresses: (Read the capital letters in the lines below a little louder than the other letters.)
The SUN was SHINing ON the SEA
See how there are 4 stresses?
SHINing with ALL its MIGHT
And then 3?
C. Ballad Example
The ring is on my hand,
And the wreath is on my brow;
Satins and jewels grand
Are all at my command,
And I am happy now.
And my lord he loves me well;
But, when first he breathed his vow,
I felt my bosom swell—
For the words rang as a knell,
And the voice seemed his who fell
In the battle down the dell,
And who is happy now.
But he spoke to re-assure me,
And he kissed my pallid brow,
While a reverie came o’er me,
And to the church-yard bore me,
And I sighed to him before me
(Thinking him dead D’Elormie),
“Oh, I am happy now!”
And thus the words were spoken,
And this the plighted vow;
And, though my faith be broken,
And, though my heart be broken,
Here is a ring, as token
That I am happy now!—
Behold the golden token
That proves me happy now!
Would God I could awaken!
For I dream I know not how,
And my soul is sorely shaken
Lest an evil step be taken,—
Lest the dead who is forsaken
May not be happy now.
~Edgar Allen Poe
D. Write your ballad!
Are you ready to write your ballad? Great! Come up with your story and write it in verse form, following the guidelines above. If you’re happy with it, remember to share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!
Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…
Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Acrostic Poem
Poem Study: The Sun Has Set by Emily Jane Brontë, or Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson