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Wordsworth's Ballads in Lyrical Ballads 1798, Inspirations and Ideas behind Wordsworth's ballads
Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems, published in 1798 contained Wordsworth’s first attempts the ballad form to be printed. The poet was twenty eight years old and had submersed himself in many different types of ballads, reading voraciously collections, translations and compositions by Thomas Percy, Robert Burns, Gottfried August Bürger and others. His admiration for their work is obvious in Lyrical Ballads but influences from other poets such as William Cowper, William Blake and Thomas Gray can also be seen to be significant to Wordsworth’s writing and poetic theory. Although he was familiar with traditional ballads he did not imitate their style but rather invented one that was more compatible with his ideas about poetry. From Wordsworth’s point of view, the ballad should place feeling above action and one of the prime ways in which he brought this into effect was by concentrating far more on the psychology of character than had been common in traditional ballads.