English, Scottish and American
Ballads are poems that tell a story set to music. The narrative of the traditional ballad is often tragic, ending in some personal or corporate disaster. These ballads often deal with cruel mothers, feuding over an unapproved match, unrequited love, the death of a loved one, or the parting or revenge of lovers. Some ballads, however, tell a tale of adventure or of some heroic exploit, like the Robin Hood ballads. Like the Grimm brothers, who are famous for having collected fairytales, Francis James Child is famous for having collected many traditional English and Scottish ballads, and they are usually numbered as they are presented in his published collection.