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267
BALLANCE

maidens and minstrels of Scotland.” We might quote the Complaynt of Scotland to the same effect. “The shepherds, and their wyvis sang mony other melodi sangs, ... than efter this sueit celestial harmony, tha began to dance in ane ring.” It is natural to conjecture that, if we find identical ballads in Scotland, and in Greece and Italy, and traces of identical customs—customs crushed by the Reformation, by Puritanism, by modern so-called civilization,—the ballads sprang out of the institution of dances, as they still do in warmer and pleasanter climates. It may be supposed that legends on which the ballads are composed, being found as they are from the White Sea to Cape Matapan, are part of the stock of primitive folk-lore. Thus we have an immemorial antiquity for the legends, and for the lyrical choruses in which their musical rendering was improvised. We are still at a loss to discover the possibly mythological germs of the legends; but, at all events, some ballads may be claimed as distinctly popular, and, so to speak, impersonal in matter and in origin. It would be easy to show that survivals out of this stage of inartistic lyric poetry linger in the early epic poetry of Homer and in the French épopées, and that the Greek drama sprang from the sacred choruses of village vintagers. In the great early epics, as in popular ballads, there is the same directness and simplicity, the same use of recurring epithets, the “green grass,” the “salt sea,” the “shadowy hills,” the same repetition of speeches and something of the same barbaric profusion in the use of gold and silver. But these resemblances must not lead us into the mistake of supposing Homer to be a collection of ballads, or that he can be properly translated into ballad metre. The Iliad and the Odyssey are the highest form of an artistic epic, not composed by piecing together ballads, but developed by a long series of noble ἀοιδοί, for the benefit of the great houses which entertain them, out of the method and materials of popular song.

We have here spoken mainly of romantic ballads, which retain in the refrain a vestige of the custom of singing and dancing; of a period when “dance, song and poetry itself began with a communal consent” (Gummere, The Beginnings of Poetry, p. 93, 1901). The custom by which a singer in a dancing-circle chants a few words, the dancers chiming in with the refrain, is found by M. Junod among the tribes of Delagoa Bay (Junod, Chantes et contes des Ba Ronga, 1897). Other instances are the Australian song-dances (Siebert, in Howitt’s Native Tribes of South-East Australia, Appendix 1904; and Dennett, Folk-Lore of the Fiort). We must not infer that even among the aborigines of Australia song is entirely “communal.” Known men, inspired, they say, in dreams, or by the All Father, devise new forms of song with dance, which are carried all over the country; and Mr Howitt gives a few examples of individual lyric. The history of the much exaggerated opinion that a whole people, as a people, composed its own ballads is traced by Prof. Gummere in The Beginnings of Poetry, pp. 116-163. Some British ballads retain traces of the early dance-song, and most are so far “communal” in that, as they stand, they have been modified and interpolated by many reciters in various ages, and finally (in The Border Minstrelsy) by Sir Walter Scott, and by hands much weaker than his (see The Young Tamlane). There are cases in which the matter of a ballad has been derived by a popular singer from medieval literary romance (as in the Arthurian ballads), while the author of the romance again usually borrowed, like Homer in the Odyssey, from popular Märchen of dateless antiquity. It would be an error to suppose that most romantic folk-songs are vulgarizations of literary romance—a view to which Mr Courthope, in his History of English Poetry, and Mr Henderson in The Border Minstrelsy (1902), incline—and the opposite error would be to hold that this process of borrowing from and vulgarization of literary medieval romance never occurred. A good illustration of the true state of the case will be found in Child’s introduction to the ballad of Young Beichan.

Gaston Paris, a great authority, holds that early popular poetry is “improvised and contemporary with its facts” (Histoire poétique de Charlemagne). If this dictum be applied to such ballads as “The Bonny Earl o’ Murray,” “Kinmont Willie,” “Jamie Telfer” and “Jock o’ the Side,” it must appear that the contemporary poets often knew little of the events and knew that little wrong. We gather the true facts from contemporary letters and despatches. In the ballads the facts are confused and distorted to such a degree that we must suppose them to have been composed in a later generation on the basis of erroneous oral tradition; or, as in the case of The Queen’s Marie, to have been later defaced by the fantastic interpolations of reciters. To prove this it is only necessary to compare the historical Border ballads (especially those of 1595–1600) with Bain’s Border Papers (1894–1896). Even down to 1750, the ballads on Rob Roy’s sons are more or less mythopoeic. It seems probable that the existing form of most of our border ballads is not earlier than the generation of 1603–1633, after the union of the crowns. Even when the ballads have been taken from recitation, the reciter has sometimes been inspired by a “stall copy,” or printed broadsheet.

Authorities.—The indispensable book for the student of ballads is Child’s English and Scottish Popular Ballads, published in 1897–1898 (Boston, U.S.A.). Professor Child unfortunately died without summing up his ideas in a separate essay, and they must be sought in his introductions, which have never been analysed. He did not give much attention to such materials for the study of ancient poetry as exist copiously in anthropological treatises. In knowledge of the ballads of all European peoples he was unrivalled, and his bibliography of collections of ballads contains some four hundred titles, (Child, vol. v., pp. 455-468). The most copious ballad makers have been the Scots and English, the German, Slavic, Danish, French and Italian peoples; for the Gaelic there is but one entry, Campbell of Islay’s Lea har na Feinne (London, 1872). The general bibliography occupies over sixty pages, and to this the reader must be referred, while Prof. Gummere’s book, The Beginnings of Poetry, is an adequate introduction to the literature, mainly continental, of the ballad question, which has received but scanty attention in England. For the relation of ballad to epic there is no better guide than Comparetti’s The Kalewala, of which there is an English translation. For purely literary purposes the best collection of ballads is Scott’s Border Minstrelsy in any complete edition. The best critical modern edition is that of Mr T. F. Henderson; his theory of ballad origins is not that which may be gathered from Professor Child’s introductions.  (A. L.) 

BALLANCE, JOHN (1839–1893), New Zealand statesman, eldest son of Samuel Ballance, farmer, of Glenavy, Antrim, Ulster, was born on the 27th of March 1839. He was educated at a national school, and, on leaving, was apprenticed to an ironmonger at Belfast. He became a clerk in a wholesale ironmonger’s house in Birmingham, and migrated to New Zealand, intending to start in business there as a small jeweller. After settling at Wanganui, however, he took an opportunity, soon offered, of founding a newspaper, the Wanganui Herald, of which he became editor and remained chief owner for the rest of his life. During the fighting with the Maori chief Titokowaru, in 1867, Ballance was concerned in the raising of a troop of volunteer horse, in which he received a commission. Of this he was deprived owing to the appearance in his newspaper of articles criticizing the management of the campaign. He had, however, behaved well in the field, and, in spite of his dismissal, was awarded the New Zealand war medal. He entered the colony’s parliament in 1875 and, with one interval (1881–1884), sat there till his death. Ballance was a member of three ministries, that of Sir George Grey (1877–1879); that of Sir Robert Stout (1884–1887); and that of which he himself was premier (1891–1893). His alliance with Grey ended with a notorious and very painful quarrel. In the Stout government his portfolios were those of lands and native affairs; but it was at the treasury that his prudent and successful finance made the chief mark. As native minister his policy was pacific and humane, and in his last years he contrived to adjust equitably certain long-standing difficulties relating to reserved lands on the west coast of the North Island. He was resolutely opposed to the sale of crown lands for cash, and advocated with effect their disposal by perpetual lease. His system of state-aided “village settlements,” by which small farms were allotted to peasants holding by lease from the crown, and money lent them to make a beginning of building and cultivation, has been on the whole successful. To Ballance, also, was due the law reducing the life-tenure of legislative councillors