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We used to think of the classic oral ballad of the British Isles and English-speaking North America as ancient, timeless, eternal. Indeed, we used to think of most folklore genres as equally ancient, timeless, and eternal. But the evidence is mounting that as a genre in English and Scots oral tradition the classic ballad may be very time-bound. At its start, obviously, the genre could not have emerged before the beginning of vernacular stanzaic song, nor indeed before the English and Scotsdoi:10.1353/ort.2004.0071 fatcat:ixflhrpj3fbgji5le2g47afqoq