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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume II. The End of the Middle Ages.

XVII. Ballads

§ 4. The Ballad Question

We touch here the inevitable “ballad question,” not to argue about it, but simply to record the fact that weight of authority, as well as numbers, inclines to the side of those who refuse to obliterate the line between popular ballads and lettered verse, and who are unable to accept writers like Villon in France and Dunbar in Scotland as responsible for songs which, by this convenient hypothesis, have simply come down to us without the writers’s names. Child, cautious as he was in committing himself to any theory, signed an explicity confession of faith in the ballad as an independent poetic species.