What are the literary poetic features of the poem, "Lord Ullin's Daughter"?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In order to recognise and understand the features of the poem 'Lord Ullin's Daughter' by Thomas Campbell it is useful to look at the life and background of Thomas Campbell himself.Thomas Campbell lived from 1777-1844 and was born in Scotland. He wrote works seen as sentimental poetry about ordinary people's lives and social concerns. Thomas Campbell also wrote 'The Pleasures of Hope', a traditional tale during the 18th century written in heroic couplets. Campbell was also known for writing rousing patriotic action songs. When we put all this together with Scotland's remote beauty and its background of a clan society with heroes and chieftains and family bonds where warriors dashed off to battles to defend each other, then we can see that the canvas is perfect for Romantic poetry , especially ballads.

Lord Ullin's Daughter is one such poem. Inspirational and tragic at the same time, it portrays young love and young death, all interspersed with the fear and beauty of a huge storm and a watery end. It tells the story of a Scottish Chieftain and his beloved sweetheart who elope from her angry father. Sadly, their disobedience causies their deaths, under the whipped up waves of a storm-lashed sea. The poem features vivid images, emotive subject matter, traditional historical background and romantic effects. The sad and sorrowful tale of young love is usually guaranteed an appreciative audience, even in the modern sophistiated media driven world of today. Other suitable readings could be authors such as RLStevenson and Sir Walter Scott.


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