The first ballads appeared in the 15th century telling a story. They were often in the form of popular songs and have simple rhyme schemes and regular rhythm. They are iambic and some have a chorus or refrain. Popular rhyme schemes are a b c b; and a b c b d b. Some famous ballads are The Man From Snowy River by A.B. (Banjo) Patterson); The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Caroll; and The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In Australia the 'Bush' ballad is still popular. No matter what the country, the folk ballad is quite often the earliest form of literature and was orally passed down through generations.



The Indian removal act
gave power to use force,
to make the Indians retract
past Mississippi's course.

The Indians transplanted, were
left to persue their life
roaming free west of the river.
Then later came the strife.

The Civil War had ended.
White people wanted land.
Farmers, miners, trappers, all moved
west to try their hand.

The timbermen and railroaders
all helped to forge the way.
Indian land, prime territory
was where they meant to stay.

The government had promised the
Indian's salvation,
so they signed a treaty to stay
on a reservation.

In exchange they'd get a payment
but promises weren't kept.
In desperate fighting for redress
many tears were wept.

Well-armed and well-fed soldiers had
effectively destroyed
the independent Indians
now scattered and deployed.

Their way of life has disappeared,
with it old traditions.
Now living in a white mans world
under new conditions.

It's so hard to find employment.
They keep it all inside,
malnutrition and dysfunction
alcohol, suicide.

Betrayed, their freedom stolen,
they feel isolation.
Indians endure their lives in
quiet desperation.


The Legend of Lady Godiva

When powerful lords ruled England
in the days of King Canute,
Godgifu rode through Coventry
wearing her birthday suit.

Society then had women
well out of public view.
Godgifu showed much charity.
She was religious too.

Leofric, the Earl of Mercia,
her husband in God's name,
would persecute the church she served
and commonfolk the same.

To pay for Canute's bodyguard
he never showed mercy,
imposing heavy taxes on
the folk of Coventry.

Godgifu quarrelled frequently
to beg he change his ways,
to plead that he be lenient
and not take all their pays.

One day they had an argument
this much he had to say,
"I promise to remit the tax
if you on market day

will ride the streets of Coventry
stark naked on your horse."
Knowing full well his pious wife
would not do this, of course.

But Leofric had forgotten of
Godgifu's great concern
and compassion for the people.
They showed respect in turn.

Lady Godgifu requested
that people stay inside
behind their shuttered windows when
she passed by on her ride.

It was a such a famous journey.
The beautiful and fair
Lady Godgifu rode the streets
clothed just in long blonde hair.

There only was one person who
could not resist a peep,
the tailor, now called 'Peeping Tom'
struck blind, and left to weep.

The tyrant Leofric kept his word
and stopped collecting tax.
He changed his ways. In Coventry
the people could relax.

The couple patched their differences,
sought out God together.
The legend of that daring ride
will live on forever.

It was such a famous journey.
The beautiful and fair
Lady Godgifu rode the streets
clothed just in long blonde hair.