Writing a ballad


“There are twelve months in all the year,

As I hear many men say,

But the merriest month in all the year

Is the merry month of May.”


As we continue to learn about the Middle Ages, we will learn about a popular form of poetry called the ballad. Ballads are lyrical poems. Many popular songs are written in this style.

Ballads tell of an event. They were often used to spread the news, provide entertainment, or create a “bigger than real life” story.


You will choose a topic from the Middle Ages to write your ballad about. You are not limited to the the choices given.


You will have some class time to work on your ballad. It will be graded as a 50 point TEST grade. Follow the rubric for scoring details.

Your finished, typed ballad is Due on Wednesday 1/16/08


Here is an example of a ballad, the subject is Robin Hood.


Ballad Writing Tips

  • Ballads often have verses of four lines
  • usually have a rhyming pattern: either abab or aabb or abcb (usually the easiest to rhyme)
  • repetition often found in ballads
    • entire stanzas can be repeated like a song’s chorus
    • lines can be repeated but each time a certain word is changed
    • a question and answer format can be built into a ballad: one stanza asks a questions and the next stanza answers the question
  • Ballads contain a lot of dialogue.
  • Action is often described in the first person
  • Two characters in the ballad can speak to each other on alternating lines


Ballad writing – step by step

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