Background information on lyrical ballads

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  • Created on: 09-05-13 10:31
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Hannah King
Definition of a ballad:
a. A narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple
stanzas and usually having a refrain.
b. The music for such a poem.
a. A popular song especially of a romantic or sentimental nature.
b. A narrative song with a recurrent refrain.
Example of a ballad:
Ballata 5
Guido Cavalcanti (12551300)
Light do I see within my Lady's eyes
And loving spirits in its plenisphere
Which bear in strange delight on my heart's care
Till Joy's awakened from that sepulchre.
That which befalls me in my Lady's presence
Bars explanation intellectual.
I seem to see a lady wonderful
Spring forth between her lips, one whom no sense
Can fully tell the mind of, and one whence
Another, in beauty, springeth marvelous,
From whom a star goes forth and speaketh thus:
"Now my salvation is gone forth from thee."
There where this Lady's loveliness appeareth,
Is heard a voice which goes before her ways
And seems to sing her name with such sweet praise
That my mouth fears to speak what name she beareth,
And my heart trembles for the grace she weareth,
While far in my soul's deep the sighs astir
Speak thus: "Look well! For if thou look on her,
Then shalt thou see her virtue risen in heaven."
Why were lyrical ballads so controversial?
Lyrical Ballads were a creation by Wordsworth and Coleridge. They caused such controversy
because readers of that time were used to an `elegant, aristocratic' type of poetry and their ballads
were the total opposite. The ballads were very passionate and took a lot of inspiration from nature.
They were emotional, and poetry at the time was, it seems, anything but. Wordsworth and
Coleridge's poetry was more `real' and not `artificial' as was Coleridge's opinion.

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