Definition of Ballad:
A song or song-like poem that tells a story.

Example of Ballad #1:

A Ballad Of John SilverBy John Masefield

We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

This poem is a great example of a ballad because the story-telling element is clear from the beginning and the reader can virtually hear this poem being sung.  Ballads often have the "sea life" as their subject.

Example of Ballad #2:

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (in Seven Parts), By 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge


It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’st hear the merry din.’

This is one of the most famous examples of the ballad.  This long epic ballad tells the story of a mariner and gains much of its song-like quality from it's rhyme scheme.  This is typical of ballad poems.

ballad poem
Ballad poetry.

Slideshow:    Ballad

Ballad Video

ballad poem

See also:    Epic    Narrative Poetry