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The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be simple or complex. It is usually nondramatic, with objective regular scheme and meter. Narrative poems include epics, ballads, idylls and lays.
Some narrative poetry takes the form of a verse novel . An example of this is The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning. In terms of narrative poetry, a romance is a narrative poem that tells a story of chivalry. Examples include the Romance of the Rose or Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Although these examples use medieval and Arthurian materials, romances may also tell stories from classical mythology.
Shorter narrative poems are often similar in style to the short story. Sometimes these short narratives are collected into interrelated groups, as with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Some literatures contain prose narratives that include poems and poetic interludes; much Old Irish poetry is contained within prose narratives, and the Old Norse sagas include both incidental poetry and the biographies of poets. An example is "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service.
- Main article: Oral tradition
Much of poetry has its source in an oral tradition: the Scots and English ballads, the tales of Robin Hood, of Iskandar, and various Baltic and Slavic heroic poems all were originally intended for recitation, rather than reading. In many cultures, there remains a lively tradition of the recitation of traditional tales in verse form. It has been suggested that some of the distinctive features that distinguish poetry from prose, such as metre, alliteration, and kennings, at one time served as memory aids that allowed the bards who recited traditional tales to reconstruct them from memory.
A narrative poem usually tells a story using a poetic theme. Epic poems are very vital to narrative poems, although it is thought that narrative poems were created to explain oral traditions. The focus of narrative poetry is often the pros and cons of life.
- The Adventures & Brave Deeds Of The Ship's Cat On The Spanish Maine: Together With The Most Lamentable Losse Of The Alcestis & Triumphant Firing Of The Port Of Chagres by Richard Adams
- "The Ballad Of Charlotte Dymond" by Charles Causley
- The Book of the Duchess by Geoffrey Chaucer
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
- The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Crank by Ellen Hopkins
- Crossing America by Leo Connellan
- The Divine Comedy by Dante
- Don Juan by Lord Byron
- The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats
- Cantar de Mio Cid, (anonymous) medieval epic
- The Elder Edda (anonymous)
- The Homeric Epics (Iliad, Odyssey, and The Homeric Hymns)
- The Epic of Gilgamesh
- The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
- The Kalevala (the Finish national epic)
- Lamia by John Keats
- The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien.
- Os LusÃadas (Portugal's national epic by LuÃs Vaz de CamÃµes)
- The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
- Virgil's Aeneid
- Statius' Thebaid
- The Prelude by William Wordsworth
- Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz
- Piers Plowman by William Langland
- The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare
- Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
- The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning
- The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- The Wreck of the Hesperus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Tam Lin (anonymous)
- Tam o' Shanter, by Robert Burns
- The Truant by E.J. Pratt
- Terje Vigen by Henrik Ibsen
- The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll
- Out, Out-by Robert Frost
- The Highwayman
- Dust by Carlo Bordini
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