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Ballad
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A ballad is short narrative poem with stanzas of two or four lines and usually a refrain. The story of a ballad can originate from a wide range of subject matter but most frequently deals with folk-lore or popular legends. They are written in straight-forward verse, seldom with detail, but always with graphic simplicity and force. Most ballads are suitable for singing and, while sometimes varied in practice, are generally written in ballad meter, i.e., alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, with the last words of the second and fourth lines rhyming.

Example:


The Ballad of Marian Blacktree

Refrain:
Oh, do you know the mountain road
That leads to yonder peak?
A few will walk that trail alone,
Their dreams they go to seek.

(I)
One such was Marian Blacktree,
A lowly sheperdess,
And courting her was Tom, the swain,
Who loved her nonetheless.

(II)
A thought occurred to Marian
While watching o'er her sheep,
And gazing at the mountain thus
She nodded off to sleep.

(Refrain)

(III)
That night she came to Tom and said
She longed to know the sky.
"I'm weary of this valley, love,
I want to learn to fly!"

(IV)
Poor Thomas did not want to leave,
This valley was all he knew.
So when she turned and left him there
Her heart, it broke in two.

(Refrain)

(V)
Her faithful swain did track her,
All night the trail led on,
And finally at the mountain top
He looked, but she was gone.

(VI)
As morning broke and lit the sky
An eagle he did see:
It circled 'round him thrice and cried.
He knew now she was free.

(Refrain)

Copyright 2001 Dendrobia

Example 2:

Sidewalk Balladeer


Hear the guitar, see the player,
Singing songs, for few to hear.
Another day, another corner,
One more sidewalk, balladeer.


When you sing do any listen,
as you play… how many hear.
Hunger pains, well worn levis,
another sidewalk balladeer.

And another captive of the city,
dreams long turned to dust.
Ol' battered hat, battered guitar,
none to love, and none to trust.

You still sing songs of protest,
there's nobody wants to hear.
Tired voice, blues strung Gibson,
you keep on busking, balladeer.

Hear the guitar, see the player,
Singing songs, for few to hear.
Another day, another corner,
One more sidewalk, balladeer.

City crowds and city people,
city sounds and tramping feet.
There's singing, but who listens,
to life's message in the street.

Tired voice, and tired fingers,
easy chords, there's little cheer.
Another day on a windy corner,
sing them a sad song, balladeer.

Hear the guitar, see the player,
Singing songs, for few to hear.
Another day, another corner,
One more sidewalk, balladeer.

Another day, and one last chorus,
Sing it softly…Balladeer.

. Copyright: Bernard de Silva.. 8/08/05.