What characteristics of a ballad can be seen in "The Demon Lover"?

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"The Demon Lover" is a traditional ballad from Scotland. Like most traditional ballads, it adheres to a fairly rigid structure and form. It is comprised of stanzas with four lines each, each of which has a simple rhyme scheme -- in this case, ABCB.

Another characteristic of the ballad is that it should be a narrative -- ballads tell stories. In this case, we are seeing a tragic love story. This is another common theme of ballads, as is the idea of a promise exchanged between two lovers, which can sometimes cause terrible and tragic outcomes, especially where some form of trick is involved.

Repeated phrases also characterize the ballad -- in this case, "O hold your tongue."

Because ballads were often written (or rather, composed) to be sung, and often sung in local areas only, we also often find very simple language which can show local dialect features. In this Scottish ballad, we find words like "mair" which indicate Scots pronunciation.

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