Ballads in Blue China

Ballads in Blue China

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Ballads in Blue China by Andrew Lang

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1880

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Ballads in Blue China

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Book Excerpt

gae, while an anonymous author let loose upon the town a whole winged flock of ballades of amazing dexterity. This unknown balladist was Mr. Henley; perhaps he was the first Englishman who ever burst into a double ballade, and his translations of two of Villon's ballades into modern thieves' slang were marvels of dexterity. Mr. Swinburne wrote a serious ballade, but the form, I venture to think, is not 'wholly serious,' of its nature, in modern days; and he did not persevere. Nor did the taste for these trifles long endure. A good ballade is almost as rare as a good sonnet, but a middling ballade is almost as easily written as the majority of sonnets. Either form readily becomes mechanical, cheap and facile. I have heard Mr. George Meredith improvise a sonnet, a Petrarchian sonnet, obedient to the rules, without pen and paper. He spoke 'and the numbers came'; he sonneted as easily as a living poet, in his Eton days, improvised Latin elegiacs and Greek hexameters.

The sonnet endures. Mr. Horace Hutch

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