A ballad is traditionally an oral folk poem, meaning that originally it wasn’t written down but sung, often to tell a folk story handed down through generations by wandering minstrels. Therefore traditionally they didn’t have a single author, but were the work of a community. Ballads tend to rhyme (often ABAB or ABCB) and when written down are usually organised in stanzas of four lines. Some good examples include the medieval ballad ‘Sir Patrick Spens‘ and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner‘ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.