Thomas Campbell uses a number of poetic devices in his poem “Lord Ullin’s Daughter.” Campbell uses alliteration, enjambment, an ABAB rhyming scheme, personification, and strong imagery in this ballad.
In each stanza, the last word in line one rhymes with the last word in line three, while line two rhymes with line four. In the first stanza, “bound” rhymes with “pound,” and “tarry” rhymes with “ferry.” In addition, lines three and four are an example of enjambment. One line flows into the other to complete the thought.
A chieftain, to the Highlands bound,
Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry!
And I'll give thee a silver pound
To row us o'er the ferry!''
In the first line of the fourth stanza, which is line thirteen, there is an example of alliteration: “His horsemen hard.” Examples of alliteration are also found in the first line of the next stanza: "bonny bird." In the second line of stanza seven there is also an example of personification. The author gives the water human qualities by saying, “The water-wraith was shrieking.”
There is another example of personification in stanza nine. The last two lines state, “Though wild windstorm is there she would prefer to face the anger of the sky than to face her angry father.” The sky being angry is personification, and the “wild windstorm” is alliteration.
Throughout the poem the author presents strong imagery of the stormy seas, and the lovers’ plight upon the water as they flee from Lord Ullin. He is left to watch the small boat sink as he loses his daughter. The reader can hear the “loud waves” and feel their strength as they hit the sand. And again in the last two lines there is alliteration in "wild waters” and “left lamenting.”
'Twas vain: the loud waves lash'd the shore,
Return or aid preventing:
The waters wild went o'er his child,
And he was left lamenting.