Ballad Stanza

The ballad stanza, named for its frequent use in traditional ballads, is quatrains of alternating tetrameter and trimeter, rhyming either abab or abcb. Some examples:
Oh, I forbid ye maidens all
That wear gold in your hair
To come or go by Carterhaugh
For young Tam Lin is there.

In Scarlet Town, where I was born
There lived a fair maid dwellin';
Made many a youth cry well-a-day,
And her name was Barbara Allen.

In folk ballads, the meter is often irregular (as in the example above from "Barbara Allen") and the rhymes are often approximate.


From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
Please send comments to Jack Lynch.
Note: This guide is still in the early stages of development.
Three question marks mean I have to write more on the subject. Bear with me.