English folk songs that fall into the category of ballad poetry have a rich history and cultural significance. The term "ballad" refers to a narrative poem or song that tells a story, often focusing on themes such as love, tragedy, or the supernatural. These songs have been passed down through generations and continue to be performed and enjoyed today. Here are a few classic examples of English folk songs that fit into the genre of ballad poetry:


"Barbara Allen"

A haunting tale of unrequited love and heartbreak, "Barbara Allen" has been a popular subject for folk singers for centuries. The song tells the story of Barbara Allen, who rejects a dying man's love only to later regret her decision.


"The Water is Wide"

This traditional folk song has been covered by numerous artists and tells the story of a lover who is separated from their beloved. The song's poignant lyrics and timeless melody have made it a favorite in the folk music repertoire.


"The Cruel Mother"

Also known as "The Greenwood Side" or "Fine Flowers in the Valley," this ballad tells the story of a mother who murders her own children. The haunting melody and chilling lyrics make it a powerful example of the ballad tradition.


"Matty Groves"

This dramatic folk ballad tells the story of an adulterous affair that ends in tragedy. With its vivid storytelling and compelling melody, "Matty Groves" has remained a popular choice for folk singers and bands.

These classic English folk songs represent just a small sampling of the rich tradition of ballad poetry in the folk music genre. Their enduring appeal and timeless themes continue to captivate audiences and inspire new generations of musicians and listeners.