The Ballad of William Bloat

A Poem by Raymond Calvert


This poem is about William Bloat who is a husband that thinks his wife is the curse of his life, so killed her and enjoys the fact the killed her but the "fun" did not end there. He also kills himself but in end he didn't kill the wife because the knife was German made but he did kill himself because he hanged himself with a Belfast linen sheet.

"He went to Hell but his wife got well And she's still alive and sinning"


The poem is a narrative poem that tells a story of a married couple, but the husband thought that his wife was the worst thing that ever happened to him so one day at dawn ,when she a nightdress one he cut her throat. After seeing her "stiff" and "still" body he decided to kill himself to end the "fun" ,so he killed himself with a sheet and while cursing the pope. Then after he died it turns out that the wife was still alive and kicking because the knife was German made while the sheet was Belfast linen

In the beginning of the poem was a very spiteful towards the wife but in the end it more of a happy mood due the husband dying because of his spiteful nature while the wife survived and lived on.

The speaker is someone we do not know about but do know he is speaking towards us. The speaker's attitude towards the subject is very non serious or jokey matter because he uses words like "fun" to describe the husband killing himself ,which is very opposite of the poem because it was about a husband murdering his wife yet the speaker uses very non serious tone for it.


The form is a 30 line and 5 stanzas ballad with an A,B,C,B,D,B rhyme scheme. This was chosen as the form of the poem because of the poem telling a story about murder , also of it not having a regular rhyme scheme it could get away with being a ballad.

The movement of the story goes chronologically because of it telling a story of husband murder his wife which is a very sad mood to finding out that the wife survived and the husband dying instead changes the very sad and dark mood to more uplifting and happy ending mood.

The syntax of the poem is simple and an example of this is "Is only the beginning" or "Oh never was crime so quick".

There is very little punctuation used in the poem and if used it is used to separate ideas, the author mostly used this punctuation to give the reader an idea when another idea is being expressed.

The title of the poem is general idea of the poem which is a Ballad of William Bloat so it does relate to the story but not in a big way.


The language of the poem does use some unusual diction. For example it uses words like "gore" or "lifeblood" to describe the blood looked like . These words describe a very dark or eerie nature because its describing how the blood left an effect. There are couple religion allusions for example the husband cursed the pope and how the speaker said that the husband went to Hell and the wife lived on. The imagery used on the poem gave the poem a more creepy feeling to it which the tone counteracted most of the time ,but this counteraction gave it a even more creepy and scary effect because of cynical tone of it.

"But the drip drip drip on the pillowslip"

Musical Devices

The poem has a general rhyme scheme but isn't very regular due it being A,B,C,B,D,B rhyme scheme but this creates a disconcerting effect because it the rhymes always deal with the murder and have this creepy feeling to it. A sound effect used in the poem was alliteration and it used to mimic the sound of dripping which in returned made the poem even more creepy because it was describing the sound of blood dripping from the wife.

How the poem changed my mood?

The poem changed my mood because of language,situation,musical devices used. The language change my mood because its unusual diction that made me rethink if i read it correctly because of it dark nature. The situation helped also because of its tone which just added more creepiness in the story because the speaker not taking it seriously and tone seeming playful. Lastly the musical devices added the last hint of disturbing because of poem's use of the rhymes and the alliteration of the sound of blood dripping helped me paint of a picture of what was happening.