Ballad: a popular form associated with folklore and the oral tradition of “common” people; tells a story; dramatic, condensed and impersonal; often uses dialogue; the speaker relates events with little self-reference or the expression of subjective response; quatrain with alternating tetramter/trimeter lines; often the second and fourth lines rhyme; frequently have incremental repetition, where a line or stanza changes slightly to advance the story

Example of a traditional ballad: “The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens

Lyric: rooted in the classical and philosophical tradition; short, non-narrative poem in which the speaker expresses a state of mind or a process of thought and feeling; usually musing in solitude although there are also dramatic lyrics, in which the speaker addresses another person (Coleridge called these “conversation poems”); in a personal lyric, the speaker of the poem is associated with the poet

The Lyrical Ballad is characterized by plain language and often by its attention to the experience and landscape of the “common man” but lyric in its attention to the psychic detail (the “fluxes and refluxes” of the single speaker’s perceptions, as Wordsworth notes in his preface (BABL B 149). He also adds that in the Lyrical Ballads “the feeling therein developed gives importance to the action and situation, and not the action and the situation to the feeling” (BABL B 149).

Ode: “a long lyric poem that is serious in subject and treatment, elevated in style, and elaborate in its stanzaic structure” (Glossary of Literary Terms). Romantic-era odes can be either regular in stanzaic structure but are often irregular; according to Abrams, “Romantic poets perfected the personal ode of description and passionate meditation, which is stimulated by . . . an aspect of the outer scene and turns on the attempt to solve either a personal emotional problem or a generally human one”