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->''The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,''
->''The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,''
->''The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,''
->''And the highwayman came riding--''
->''The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.''
-->'''Alfred Noyes,''' "The Highwayman"

Simply put, a narrative poem is a poem that tells a story. This [[{{Formats}} format]] is OlderThanDirt -- in fact, it may even predate prose. Such poems were popular in ye olden dayes, as the rhymes, rhythms, and alliteration helped the storyteller remember how the story went.

Narrative poems started to decline in popularity with the advent of writing, as it was not quite so necessary to learn stories off by heart when they are written down. However, they persisted in popularity for several hundred years, as the majority of people were illiterate for much of human history.

Nowadays, narrative poems are [[ForgottenTrope rarely written]].

Subtypes of narrative poetry include:
* A narrative poem that meets the criteria of an [[TheEpic epic]] is an epic poem.
* A shorter narrative poem that uses stanzas is a ballad (especially if it is set to music)
* A {{novel}} written in verse is a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin verse novel]].

Subgroups of ballads that have their own page on this wiki are the MurderBallad and the MoralityBallad. For a related format, see RockOpera.
!! Examples of narrative poems:
!!! Epic poems (including [[{{Parody}} genre parodies]])
* ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh'' is probably the oldest surviving example.
* ''Literature/TheIliad'' by Creator/{{Homer}}.
* ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', also ascribed to Homer.
* The rest of the Literature/TrojanCycle, authors uncertain.
* ''Literature/{{Batrachomyomachia}}'', a mock-heroic epic poem, i.e. parody of the traditional epic.
* ''Literature/{{Mahabharata}}''
* ''Literature/{{Ramayana}}''
* ''Literature/TheAeneid'' by Creator/{{Virgil}}
* Statius's ''Thebaid''
* ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'', Anglo-Saxon heroic epic.
* ''Literature/TheShahnameh'' by Ferdowsi
* ''Literature/TheSongOfRoland'', an account of how the title character was betrayed at Roncesvalles.
* ''Literature/{{Nibelungenlied}}''
* ''The Poem of the Cid'' on the exile and redemption of El Cid Campeador, (very) loosely based on his real exploits.
* ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' by Creator/DanteAlighieri.
* ''Literature/OrlandoFurioso'' by Ariosto.
* ''Os Lusíadas'' by Luis Vaz de Camões
* ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene'' by Edmund Spenser.
* ''Literature/ParadiseLost'' by Creator/JohnMilton.
* ''Literature/TheRapeOfTheLock'' by Alexander Pope, another mock-epic.
* The unfinished ''The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream'' by Creator/JohnKeats.
* ''Literature/LudasMatyi'' is a Hungarian example, adapted to a successful animated film.
* ''Literature/DonJuan'' by Creator/LordByron, mock-epic.
* ''Literature/TheKalevala'' (the Finnish national epic)
* ''The Song of Hiawatha'' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
* ''Evangeline'', also by Longfellow.
* ''Literature/{{Pharsalia}}'' by Lucan.
* ''Literature/TheEveOfStAgnes'' by Creator/JohnKeats
* ''Literature/DavidOfSasun'', a traditional Armenian epic.
* ''The Cantos'', by Ezra Pound
* ''{{Literature/Kalevipoeg}}''
* ''[[Literature/JustForFun The Fall of the Black and Yellow Warriors]]''
* [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Eludoran Eludoran]] is a parody of one.

!!! Verse novel
* ''Literature/EugeneOnegin'', a Russian novel by Creator/AlexanderPushkin
* ''Literature/PanTadeusz'' by Adam Mickiewicz
* ''The Golden Gate'', a modern novel written in Pushkin sonnets by Vikram Seth.
* ''Literature/{{Zorgamazoo}}'', a modern novel written entirely in rhyme by Robert Paul Weston.
* Creator/EllenHopkins multiple series of YoungAdult verse novels. ''Literature/CrankTrilogy'', ''Literature/{{Impulse}}'', ''Literature/{{Identical}}'' are a few.
* ''Literature/LoveDishonorMarryDieCherishPerish'' by Creator/DavidRakoff
* ''Literature/{{Eludoran}}'' has over 15,000 rhyming couplets spanning 800 pages.
* ''Literature/AutobiographyOfRed'' by Anne Carson.

!!! Other (includes ballads):
%% Titles of ballads go in double quotes; epic poems and series/collections go in italics.
* ''Literature/EnumaElish'' -- Babylonian creation myth.
* The Homeric Hymns
* ''Literature/TheMetamorphoses'' by Creator/{{Ovid}}
* "The Ballad of Mulan", Chinese ballad.
* The ''Literature/PoeticEdda'' consists of these.
* ''Piers Plowman'' by William Langland
* The anonymous ''Literature/SirGawainAndTheGreenKnight''
* ''Literature/TheCanterburyTales'' and ''The Book of the Duchess'' by Creator/GeoffreyChaucer.
* ''Venus and Adonis'' and ''The Rape Of Lucrece'' by Creator/WilliamShakespeare
* "Literature/TamLin", a Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}}
* All the other Literature/ChildBallads
* Creator/SamuelTaylorColeridge's ''Literature/TheRimeOfTheAncientMariner''
* "Kubla Khan", also by Coleridge.
* "Literature/TheErlking" by Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe.
* "La Belle Dame sans Merci" by Creator/JohnKeats
* "Literature/TheHighwayman" by Alfred Noyes
* "Tam o' Shanter", by Creator/RobertBurns.
* "Terje Vigen" by Creator/HenrikIbsen.
* ''Literature/FloranteAtLaura'', by Francisco Baltazar, a.k.a. Balagtas (1830s).
* Creator/AlfredLordTennyson has a few:
** "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1854)
** "Maud" (1855)
** "Literature/EnochArden" (1864)
* "Literature/TheRaven" by Creator/EdgarAllanPoe.
* Robert Browning's "Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower Came", basis of Creator/StephenKing's ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series.
* "Literature/TheHuntingOfTheSnark" by Creator/LewisCarroll.
* "Literature/CaseyAtTheBat" by Ernest Thayer.
* "The Shooting of Dan [=McGrew=]" and "The Cremation of Sam [=McGee=]", both by Robert W. Service.
* "The Truant" by E.J. Pratt.
* Creator/JRRTolkien wrote quite a few: two long epic poems of tales from the ''[[Literature/TheSilmarillion Quenta Silmarillion]]'' ("The Lay of Leithian" and "The Lay of the Children of Húrin", respectively), as well as countless shorter ones appearing in his works (e.g. "Eärendil" from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'').
* "Crossing America" by Leo Connellan.
* ''The Adventures And Brave Deeds Of The Ships Cat On The Spanish Maine: Together With The Most Lamentable Losse Of The Alcestis and Triumphant Firing of the Port of Chagres'' by Creator/RichardAdams
* ''Literature/TheSonneteer'', an experimental blog-verse narrative by TJ Radcliffe
* "Literature/TheBalladOfTheWhiteHorse" by Creator/GKChesterton
* ''Literature/LeavesOfGrass'' by Creator/WaltWhitman
* "Literature/{{Lenore}}" by Gottfried August Bürger
* ''[[Literature/JustForFun The Little Laundry Fairy]]''
* ''Literature/GoblinMarket'' by Christina Rossetti
* ''Literature/MiksMammoth'' by Roy Gerrard
* ''The Wanderings of Oisin,'' by Creator/WilliamButlerYeats, a retelling of the later part of the Ossian legend, in which the poet travels away to Tir Na Nog and leaves Ireland behind for 400 years, before getting homesick. Memorably, this poem is narrated by Oisin himself to St. Patrick in the DistantFinale. Yes, ''that'' St. Patrick. He's a bit of a [[GoodIsNotNice jerkass]], in fact.
* ''Literature/MartinFierro'': The poem is about a {{Gaucho}} who recounts his life full of misadventures singing thirteen songs in the first part, and thirty three improvised songs in the second part. This format could be a parody or pastiche (José Hernández was a CattleBaron who wanted to imitate the style of the [[{{Gaucho}} gauchos]]), but Creator/JorgeLuisBorges thinks the book could be classified as a novel.
* Shows up from time to time in children's literature, the most well-known of which would be works by Creator/DrSeuss.