This type is for all kinds of poems, from epics to doggerel.
More about Best Poem of All Time:
Best Poem of All Time is a public top list created by Listnerd on Listnerd.com on November 27th 2012. Items on the Best Poem of All Time top list are added by the Listnerd.com community and ranked using our secret ranking sauce. Best Poem of All Time has gotten 1.018 views and has gathered 619 votes from 619 voters. Only owner can add items. Just members can vote.
Best Poem of All Time is a top list in the Education & Books category on Listnerd.com. Are you a fan of Education & Books or Best Poem of All Time? Explore more top 100 lists about Education & Books on Listnerd.com or participate in ranking the stuff already on the all time Best Poem of All Time top list below.
If you're not a member of Listnerd.com, you should consider becoming one. Registration is fast, free and easy. At Listnerd.com, we aim to give you the best of everything - including stuff like the Best Poem of All Time list.
Get your friends to vote! Spread this URL or share:
"This Little Piggy" or "This little pig" is an English language nursery rhyme and fingerplay. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19297.
The most common modern version is:
Another version often cited is:
The rhyme is usually counted out on a person's toes, each line corresponding to a different toe, usually starting with the little toe or the big toe and ending with the big toe or the little toe. A foot tickle is usually added during the "Wee...all the way home" section of the last line. It varies by the intensity of the tickle, and which parts of the foot are tickled. These often depend on by whom the game is played. The rhyme can also be seen as a counting rhyme, although the number of each toe (from 1 for the big toe to 5 for the little toe) is never stated.
The first line of this rhyme was quoted in a medley "The Nurse's Song," written about 1728, a full version was not recorded until it was published in The Famous Tommy Thumb's Little Story-Book, published in London about 1760. It then appeared with slight variations in many late eighteenth and early nineteenth century collections. Until the mid-twentieth century the lines referred to "little pigs."
"In Praise of Limestone" is a poem written by W. H. Auden in Italy in May 1948. Central to his canon and one of Auden's finest poems, it has been the subject of diverse scholarly interpretations. Auden's limestone landscape has been interpreted as an allegory of Mediterranean civilization and of the human body. The poem, sui generis, is not easily classified. As a topographical poem, it describes a landscape and infuses it with meaning. It has been called the "first … postmodern pastoral". In a letter, Auden wrote of limestone and the poem's theme that "that rock creates the only human landscape."
First published in Horizon in July 1948, the poem then appeared in his important 1951 collection Nones. A revised version was published beginning in 1958, and is prominently placed in the last chronological section of Auden's Collected Shorter Poems, 1922–1957 (1966).
Auden summered on Ischia, an island in the Gulf of Naples, between 1948 and 1957; "In Praise of Limestone" was among the first poems he wrote there. The titular limestone is characteristic of the Mediterranean landscape and is considered an allegory of history in the poem; the properties of this sedimentary rock invoke the
The Wanderings of Oisin ( /oʊˈʃiːn/ oh-SHEEN) is an epic poem published by William Butler Yeats in 1889 in the book The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. It was his first publication outside of magazines, and immediately won him a reputation as a significant poet.
This narrative poem takes the form of a dialogue between the aged Irish hero Oisín and St. Patrick, the man traditionally responsible for converting Ireland to Christianity. Most of the poem is spoken by Oisin, relating his three-hundred year sojourn in the isles of Faerie.
Oisin has not been a popular poem with critics influenced by modernism, who dislike its pre-Raphaelite character. However, Harold Bloom defended this poem in his book-length study of Yeats, and concludes that it deserves reconsideration.
The fairy princess Niamh fell in love with Oisin's poetry and begged him to join her in the immortal islands. For a hundred years he lived as one of the Sidhe, hunting, dancing, and feasting. At the end of this time he found a spear washed up on the shore and grew sad, remembering his times with the Fenians. Niamh took him away to another island, where the ancient and abandoned castle of the sea-god Manannan stood.
Las Soledades (Solitudes) is a poem by Luis de Góngora, composed in 1613 in silva (Spanish strophe) in eleven- and seven- syllable lines: hendecasyllables (endecasílabos) and heptasyllables (heptasílabos).
Góngora intended to divide the poem in four parts that were to be called "Soledad de los campos" (Solitude of the fields), "Soledad de las riberas" (Solitude of the riverbanks), "Soledad de las selvas" (Solitude of the forests), and "Soledad del yermo" (Solitude of the wasteland).
However, Góngora only wrote the "dedicatoria al Duque de Béjar" (dedication to the Duke of Béjar) and the first two Soledades, the second of which remained unfinished.
From the time of their composition, Soledades inspired a great debate regarding the difficulty of its language and its mythological and erudite references. It was attacked by the Count of Salinas and Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar (who composed an Antidote against the Soledades). The work, however, was defended by Salcedo Coronel, José Pellicer, Francisco Fernández de Córdoba (Abad de Rute), the Count of Villamediana, Gabriel Bocángel, and overseas, Juan de Espinosa Medrano y Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
Rafael Alberti would later add
The Prisoner of Chillon is a 392-line narrative poem by Lord Byron. Written in 1816, it chronicles the imprisonment of a Genevois monk, François Bonivard, from 1532 to 1536.
On 22 June 1816, Lord Byron and his contemporary and friend Percy Bysshe Shelley were sailing on Lake Geneva (referred to as "Lac Leman", the French name, throughout the poem) and stopped to visit the Château de Chillon. After touring the castle (and walking through the dungeon in which Bonivard was imprisoned), Byron was inspired by Bonivard's story and composed The Sonnet of Chillon.
Because of torrential rainfall, Byron and his companion rested at a hotel in Ouchy following their tour. In late June or early July (several early drafts and copies present conflicting dates), Byron composed the longer fable. The work was probably completed by 2 July 1816. Following his return to England, The Prisoner of Chillion was first published as The Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems by John Murray on 5 December 1816.
The work's themes and images follow those of a typical poem by Lord Byron: the protagonist is an isolated figure, and brings a strong will to bear against great sufferings. He seeks solace in the beauty of
"Where Corals Lie" is a poem by Richard Garnett which was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as the fourth song in his song-cycle Sea Pictures. The poem was first published in Io in Egypt and other poems in 1859 and subsequently anthologized in Sea Music in 1888.
(Italicised text indicates lines repeated in the song, but not in the original poem.)
Elgar's music is in the key of B minor. It alternates between the regular off-beat quaver accompaniment and, at the end of each verse, a single colla parte bar that slows down the tempo to emphasise the text and which requires sensitive accompaniment. Woodwind refrains add colour and contrast. Elgar doubles the vocal lines with flute and clarinet (verse one), solo cello (verse two), and violins (verse four). The third stanza is the most challenging, with frequent colla parte, a suspension of the syncopation and an accelerando into a lower register.
It was the most popular of the songs in Sea Pictures. In this musical form, it was a great favourite in Britain, appearing in the classical favourites programme, Your Hundred Best Tunes.
For a full list of recordings, see the Sea Pictures page.
The Brus is a long narrative poem, in Early Scots, of just under 14,000 octosyllabic lines composed by John Barbour which gives a historic and chivalric account of the actions of Robert the Bruce and the Black Douglas in the Scottish Wars of Independence during a period from the circumstances leading up the English invasion of 1296 through to Scotland's restored position in the years between the Truce of 1328 and the death of Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray in 1332. The poem's centre-piece (literally) is an extensive account of the Battle of Bannockburn of 1314. Barbour's poetic account of these events is a keystone in Scotland's national story.
Patriotic as the sentiment is, it is in more general terms than is found in later Scottish literature. The king is a hero of the chivalric type common in contemporary romance; freedom is a "noble thing" to be sought and won at all costs; the opponents of such freedom are shown in the dark colours which history and poetic propriety require; but there is none of the complacency of the merely provincial habit of mind. The lines do not lack vigour; and there are passages of high merit, notably the oft-quoted section beginning "A! fredome is a
Haddocks' Eyes is a poem by Lewis Carroll from Through the Looking-Glass. It is sung by The White Knight in chapter eight to a tune that he claims as his own invention, but which Alice recognizes as "I give thee all, I can no more".
By the time Alice heard it, she was already tired of poetry.
It is a parody of "Resolution and Independence" by William Wordsworth.
The White Knight explains a confusing nomenclature for the song.
The complicated terminology distinguishing between `the song, the name of the song, and what the name of the song is called' entails the use–mention distinction.
Like "Jabberwocky," another poem published in Through the Looking Glass, "Haddocks’ Eyes" appears to have been revised over the course of many years. In 1856, Carroll published the following poem anonymously under the name Upon the Lonely Moor. It bears an obvious resemblance to "Haddocks' Eyes."
Kidung Sunda is a Middle-Javanese kidung of probable Balinese provenance. In this poem, the story of king Hayam Wuruk of Majapahit who was looking for a bride to be, is narrated. At last he chose the princess of Sunda, a kingdom in West Java. The princess' name is remained undisclosed in this story, however she corresponds to Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi in Pararaton. Hayam Wuruk's grand vizier Gajah Mada, betrayed his king and rejected this idea. There was a dispute about geopolitical relations between Sunda and Majapahit (i.e. Java). Gajah Mada considered Sunda to be a vassal state of Java. For that reason a great battle took place in Bubat, the port where the Sundanese party landed as they refused to be treated as vassals. There the Majapahit-Javanese army slaughtered the Sundanese. The grieved princess of Sunda committed suicide not long afterwards. This historical story has to be situated somewhere in the 14th century.
A Dutch philologist, Prof. Dr. C.C. Berg, has found several versions of Kidung Sunda. Out of them he has discussed and published two versions:
The former is longer than the latter. It also has better literary merits. That is also the version, which is discussed in
"She dwelt among the untrodden ways" is a three-stanza poem written by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth in 1798 when he was 28 years old. The verse was first printed in Lyrical Ballads, 1800, a volume of Wordsworth's and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poems that marked a climacteric in the English Romantic movement. The poem is the best known of Wordsworth's series of five works which comprise his "Lucy" series, and was a favourite amongst early readers. It was composed both as a meditation on his own feelings of loneliness and loss, and as an ode to the beauty and dignity of an idealised woman who lived unnoticed by all others except by the poet himself. The title line implies Lucy lived unknown and remote, both physically and intellectually. The poet's subject's isolated sensitivity expresses a characteristic aspect of Romantic expectations of the human, and especially of the poet's, condition.
According to the literary critic Kenneth Ober, the poem describes the "growth, perfection, and death" of Lucy. Whether Wordsworth has declared his love for her is left ambivalent, and even whether she had been aware of the poet's affection is unsaid. However the poet's feelings
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell published in 1945. It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft.
From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Force, provided the following explanatory note:
"A ball turret was a plexiglass sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upsidedown in his little sphere. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose."
Reviewer, Leven M. Dawson, says that "The theme of Randall Jarrell's 'The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner' is that institutionalized violence, or war, creates moral paradox, a condition in which acts repugnant to human nature become
The Masque of Anarchy is a political poem written in 1819 (see 1819 in poetry) by Percy Bysshe Shelley following the Peterloo Massacre of that year. In his call for freedom, it is perhaps the first modern statement of the principle of nonviolent resistance.
The poem was not published during Shelley's lifetime and did not appear in print until 1832 (see 1832 in poetry), when published by Edward Moxon in London with a preface by Leigh Hunt. Shelley had sent the manuscript in 1819 for publication in The Examiner. Leigh Hunt withheld it from publication because he "thought that the public at large had not become sufficiently discerning to do justice to the sincerity and kind-heartedness of the spirit that walked in this flaming robe of verse." The epigraph on the cover of the first edition is from The Revolt of Islam (1818): "Hope is strong; Justice and Truth their winged child have found."
Written on the occasion of the massacre carried out by the British Government at St Peter's Field, Manchester 1819, Shelley begins his poem with the powerful images of the unjust forms of authority of his time "God, and King, and Law" - and he then imagines the stirrings of a radically new form of
"The Ruin" is an 8th-century Old English poem from the Exeter Book by an unknown author. The Exeter Book is a large book of mostly Christian verse, which contains about one-third of the extant Old English poems. The poem's subject is ancient Roman ruins, built of stone and having hot water, assumed to be the ruins of Aquae Sulis at modern Bath, Somerset, and the powerful fate (Weird or Wyrd) that has reduced to ruins a once-lively community and its sturdy stone buildings.
Part of the poem has been lost due the pages being damaged by fire. "The Ruin" is somewhat ambiguously positioned in the Exeter Book between "Husband's Message" and 34 preceding riddles. The poem itself is written near the end of the manuscript, written on both sides of a leaf with the end of the poem continuing on to the next page. The manuscript with "The Ruin" included in it has a large diagonal burn from a kind of branding in the center of the page. The burn rendered many parts of the script illegible.
Although the poem shows no overt signs of Christianity, it could be the work of an early Anglo-Saxon Christian. The poet, however, does make several references to Wyrd, an element of North-Germanic pagan
Likely composed in the 1580s, Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella is an English sonnet sequence containing 108 sonnets and 11 songs. The name derives from the two Greek words, 'aster' (star) and 'phil' (lover), and the Latin word 'stella' meaning star. Thus Astrophel is the star lover, and Stella is his star. Sidney partly nativized the key features of his Italian model Petrarch, including an ongoing but partly obscure narrative, the philosophical trappings of the poet in relation to love and desire, and musings on the art of poetic creation. Sidney also adopts the Petrarchan rhyme scheme, though he uses it with such freedom that fifteen variants are employed.
Some have suggested that the love represented within the sequence may be a literal one as Sidney evidently connects Astrophel to himself and Stella to Penelope Rich, the wife of a courtier. Payne and Hunter suggest that modern criticism, though not explicitly rejecting this connection, leans more towards the viewpoint that writers happily create a poetic persona, artificial and distinct from themselves.
Many of the poems were circulated in manuscript form before the first edition was printed by Thomas Newman in 1591, five
Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (French: Lancelot, le Chevalier de la Charrette) is an Old French poem by Chrétien de Troyes. Chrétien probably composed the work (in the 1170s) at the same time as or slightly before writing Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, which refers to the action in Lancelot a number of times. The love affair between Guinevere and Lancelot appears for the first time in this poem as does Arthur's court city of Camelot.
The action centers on Lancelot's rescue of the queen after she has been abducted by Meleagant, the son of Bademagu. The Abduction of Guinevere is one of the oldest motifs in Arthurian legend, appearing also in Caradoc of Llancarfan's Life of Gildas and carved on the archivolt in Modena Cathedral. After Chrétien's version became popular, it was incorporated into the Lancelot-Grail Cycle and eventually Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. The story deals with Lancelot's trials rescuing Guinevere and also his struggles to balance his duties both as a warrior and a lover bound by the conventions of courtly love.
Chrétien says he composed the romance at the behest of Marie, countess of Champagne, the daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII of France
"All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight" was a poem first published as "The Picket Guard" by Ethel Lynn Beers in Harper's Weekly, November 30, 1861, attributed only to "E.B." It was reprinted broadly both with that attribution and without, leading to many spurious claims of authorship. On July 4, 1863, Harper's Weekly told its readers that the poem had been written for the paper by a lady contributor whom it later identified as Beers.
The poem was based on newspaper reports of "all is quiet tonight", which was based on official telegrams sent to the Secretary of War by Major-General George B. McClellan following the First Battle of Bull Run. Beers noticed that the report was followed by a small item telling of a picket being killed. She wrote the poem that same morning, and she read it in September 1861.
In 1863, the poem was set to music by John Hill Hewitt, himself a poet, newspaperman, and musician, who was serving in the Confederate army. This song may have inspired the title of the English translation of Erich Maria Remarque's World War I novel All Quiet on the Western Front.
"The Picket-Guard", Harper's Weekly, 1861:
Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion, etc. ( /ˌædɵˈneɪ.ɨs/), also spelled Adonaies, is a pastoral elegy written by Percy Bysshe Shelley for John Keats in 1821, and widely regarded as one of Shelley's best and most well-known works. The poem, which is in 495 lines in 55 Spenserian stanzas, was composed in the spring of 1821 immediately after April 11, when Shelley heard of Keats' death (seven weeks earlier). It is a pastoral elegy, in the English tradition of John Milton's Lycidas. Shelley had studied and translated classical elegies. The title of the poem is likely a merging of the Greek "Adonis", the god of fertility, and the Hebrew "Adonai" (meaning "Lord"). Most critics suggest that Shelley used Virgil's tenth Eclogue, in praise of Cornelius Gallus, as a model.
It was published by Charles Ollier in July 1821 (see 1821 in poetry) with a preface in which Shelley made the mistaken assertion that Keats had died from a rupture of the lung induced by rage at the unfairly harsh reviews of his verse in the Quarterly Review and other journals. He also thanked Joseph Severn for caring for Keats in Rome. This praise increased literary interest in
Parzival is a major medieval German romance by the poet Wolfram von Eschenbach, in the Middle High German language. The poem, commonly dated to the first quarter of the 13th century, is itself largely based on Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval, the Story of the Grail and mainly centers on the Arthurian hero Parzival (Percival in English) and his long quest for the Holy Grail following his initial failure to achieve it.
Parzival begins with the knightly adventures of Parzival's father, Gahmuret, his marriage to Herzeloyde, and the birth of Parzival. The story continues, where Chrétien's story begins, as Parzival meets three elegant knights, decides to seek King Arthur, and continues a spiritual and physical search for the Grail. As in the extant copies of Chrétien's tale a long section is devoted to Parzival's friend Gawan and his adventures defending himself from a false murder charge and winning the hand of the maiden Orgeluse. Among the most striking elements of the work are its emphasis on the importance of humility, compassion, sympathy and the quest for spirituality. A major theme in Parzival is love: heroic acts of chivalry are inspired by true love, which is ultimately fulfilled
"In Flanders Fields" is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially unsatisfied with his work, discarded it. "In Flanders Fields" was first published on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.
It is one of the most popular and most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in propaganda efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best known literary works.
John McCrae was a poet
The Waste Land is a 434-line modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its elegiac but intimidating summoning up of a vast and dissonant range of cultures and literatures—the poem has become a familiar touchstone of modern literature. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruellest month," "I will show you fear in a handful of dust," and the mantra in the Sanskrit language "Shantih shantih shantih."
Eliot probably worked on what was to become The Waste Land for several years preceding its first publication in 1922. In a letter to New York lawyer and patron of modernism John Quinn dated 9 May 1921, Eliot wrote that he had "a long poem in mind and partly on paper which I am wishful to finish."
Richard Aldington, in his memoirs, relates that "a year or so" before Eliot read him the manuscript draft of The Waste Land in London, Eliot visited him in the country. While walking through a graveyard, they started discussing Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country
Tiriel is a narrative poem by William Blake, written c.1789. Considered the first of his prophetic books, it is also the first poem in which Blake used free septenaries, which he would go on to use in much of his later verse. Tiriel was unpublished during Blake's lifetime and remained so until 1874, when it appeared in William Michael Rossetti's Poetical Works of William Blake. Although Blake did not engrave the poem, he did make twelve sepia drawings to accompany the rough and unfinished manuscript, although three of them are considered lost as they have not been traced since 1863.
Many years before the poem begins, the sons of Har and Heva revolted and abandoned their parents. Tiriel subsequently set himself up as a tyrant in the west, driving one of his brothers, Ijim, into exile in the wilderness, and chaining the other, Zazel, in a cave in the mountains. Tiriel then made slaves of his own children, until eventually, led by the eldest son, Heuxos, they too rebelled, overthrowing their father. Upon his demise, Tiriel refused their offer of refuge in the palace, and instead went into exile in the mountains with his wife, Myratana. Five years later, the poem begins with the now
"Old Ironsides" is a poem written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., on September 16, 1830, as a tribute to the eighteenth-century frigate USS Constitution. Thanks in part to the poem, she was saved from being decommissioned and is now the oldest commissioned ship in the world still afloat.
"Old Ironsides" was the nickname given to the 18th century frigate, USS Constitution during the War of 1812 after its naval battle with the HMS Guerriere. The Constitution was one of the original six frigates of the United States Navy, commissioned by the Naval Act of 1794. The Constitution was the third of four ships with 44 guns and was granted its name by President George Washington. The ship saw action during the Quasi-War, the First Barbary War, the Battle of Tripoli Harbor, and the Battle of Derne before earning her famous nickname during the War of 1812.
Holmes had recently abandoned his studies of law and began writing poetry for fun. In September 1830, he read an article in the Boston Daily Advertiser about the Navy's plans to dismantle the historic USS Constitution. Startled by this, he was moved to write "Old Ironsides" to express his opposition of the scrapping. The poem was published in
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is a popular English lullaby. The lyrics are from an early 19th-century English poem, "The Star" by Jane Taylor. The poem, which is in couplet form, was first published in 1806 in Rhymes for the Nursery, a collection of poems by Taylor and her sister Ann. It is sung to the tune of the French melody "Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman", which was published in 1761 and later arranged by Mozart for a famous set of variations. The English lyrics have five stanzas, although only the first is widely known. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7666.
The English lyrics were first published as a poem with the title "The Star" by sisters Ann and Jane Taylor (1783–1824) in Rhymes for the Nursery in London in 1806. The poem was written by Jane.
Many songs in various languages have been based on the "Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman" melody. In English, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", the "Alphabet Song", and a variant of it is used for "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep". It is also the basis of the Scots song Coulter's Candy and "What a Wonderful World".
The German Christmas carol "Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann", with words by Hoffmann von Fallersleben, also uses the melody, as does the
La Belle Dame sans Merci (French: "The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy" ) is a ballad written by the English poet John Keats. It exists in two versions, with minor differences between them. The original was written by Keats in 1819. He used the title of a 15th century poem by Alain Chartier, though the plots of the two poems are different. The poem is considered an English classic, stereotypical to other of Keats' works. It avoids simplicity of interpretation despite simplicity of structure. At only a short twelve stanzas, of only four lines each, with a simple ABCB rhyme scheme, the poem is nonetheless full of enigmas, and has been the subject of numerous interpretations.
Keats' poem describes the condition of an unnamed knight who has encountered a mysterious woman who is said to be "a faery's child." It opens with a description of the knight in a barren landscape, "haggard" and "palely loitering". He tells the reader how he met a mysterious but very fair lady whose "eyes were wild." The damsel told the knight that she "loved him true" and took him to her "elfin grot," but upon arriving there, she "wept, and sigh'd full sore." Having realized something that the knight does not yet
Danny Deever is an 1890 poem by Rudyard Kipling, one of the first of the Barrack-Room Ballads. It received wide critical and popular acclaim, and is often regarded as one of the most significant pieces of Kipling's early verse. The poem, a ballad, describes the execution of a British soldier in India for murder. His execution is viewed by his regiment, paraded to watch it, and the poem is composed of the comments they exchange as they see him hanged.
The poem was first published on 22 February 1890 in the Scots Observer, in America later in the year, and printed as part of the Barrack-Room Ballads shortly thereafter.
It is generally read as being set in India, though it gives no details of the actual situation. Some research has suggested that the poem was written with a specific incident in mind, the execution of one Private Flaxman of The Leicestershire Regiment, at Lucknow in 1887. A number of details of this execution correspond to the occasion described by Kipling in the poem, and he later used a story similar to that of Flaxman's as a basis for the story Black Jack.
Kipling apparently wrote the various Barrack-Room Ballads in early 1890, about a year since he had last been in
Hermann and Dorothea is an epic poem, an idyll, written by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe between 1796 and 1797, and was to some extent suggested by Johann Heinrich Voss's Luise, an idyll in hexameters, which was first published in 1782-84. Goethe's work is set around 1792 at the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars, when French forces under General Custine invaded and briefly occupied parts of the Palatinate. The hexameters of the nine cantos are at times irregular.
Hermann, son of the wealthy innkeeper in a small town near Mainz, is sent by his mother to bring clothes and food to the refugees which have set up camp near their town. They have fled their villages on the western side of the Rhine river now occupied by French revolutionary troops, in order to seek refuge on the eastern side. On his way to the camp, Hermann meets Dorothea, a young maid who assists a woman in her childbed on her flight. Overwhelmed by her courage, compassion, and beauty, Hermann asks Dorothea to distribute his donations among her poor fellow refugees.
Back home, he reveals his affection to his parents. His father brushes away his timid confession, reminding him bluntly that he wants
"The Tay Bridge Disaster" is a poem written in 1880 by the Scottish poet, William McGonagall, who has been widely acclaimed as the worst poet in history. The poem recounts the events of the evening of December 28, 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge at Dundee collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board (now thought to be 75 people, not 90 as stated in the poem). The foundations of the bridge were not removed and are alongside the existing newer bridge.
The poem is by far the most famous ever written by McGonagall, and is still widely quoted. It begins:
And it ends:
William McGonagall wrote two other poems in praise of the Tay Bridge. The first one begins as follows:
The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay:
And it ends:
After the original bridge collapsed, a new one was built, providing the opportunity for another poem, which begins:
An Address to the New Tay Bridge
"The White Man's Burden" is a poem by the English poet Rudyard Kipling. It was originally published in the popular magazine McClure's in 1899, with the subtitle The United States and the Philippine Islands. Although Kipling's poem mixed exhortation to empire with somber warnings of the costs involved, imperialists within the United States understood the phrase "white man's burden" as a characterization for imperialism that justified the policy as a noble enterprise.
The poem was originally written for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, but exchanged for "Recessional"; Kipling changed the text of "Burden" to reflect the subject of American colonization of the Philippines, recently won from Spain in the Spanish-American War. The poem consists of seven stanzas, following a regular rhyme scheme. At face value it appears to be a rhetorical command to white men to colonise and rule other nations for the benefit of those people (both the people and the duty may be seen as representing the "burden" of the title). Because of its theme and title, it has become emblematic both of Eurocentric racism and of Western aspirations to dominate the developing world. A century after its publication,
Troilus and Criseyde is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer which re-tells in Middle English the tragic story of the lovers Troilus and Criseyde set against a backdrop of war in the Siege of Troy. It was composed using rime royale and probably completed during the mid 1380s. Many Chaucer scholars regard it as the poet's finest work. As a finished long poem it is certainly more self-contained than the better known but ultimately uncompleted Canterbury Tales.
Although Troilus is a character from Ancient Greek literature, the expanded story of him as a lover was of Medieval origin. The first known version is from Benoît de Sainte-Maure's poem Roman de Troie, but Chaucer's principal source appears to have been Boccaccio who re-wrote the tale in his Il Filostrato. Chaucer's version can be said to reflect a less cynical and less misogynistic world-view than Boccaccio's, casting Criseyde as fearful and sincere rather than simply fickle and having been led astray by the eloquent and perfidious Pandarus. It also inflects the sorrow of the story with humour.
The poem had an important legacy for later writers. Robert Henryson's Scots poem The Testament of Cresseid imagined a tragic fate for Cressida
Creation, Man and the Messiah is the title of an epic poem written by the Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland in 1829. The scale of the poem invited criticism, especially by Wergeland's counterpart, Johan Sebastian Welhaven. In 1845, while on his deathbed, Wergeland revised the poem and republished it under the title Man.
The poem starts out at the beginning of history, with two spirits watching and arguing over the newly created earth. One of them, Phun-Abiriel, is dismayed, because he is eager to create on his own, but unlike God, his thoughts do not take shape. In the process, he also wishes to see God, but can't. Phun-Abiriel's friend, Ohebiel, patiently explains to him that the spirits are not able to see the eternal, and that Phun-Abiriel is considered a newborn spirit or a rash youth. Anyway, Ohebiel loves him, but can't help him from brooding. As they talk, the heavenly host approaches, led by the eldest of spirits, Akadiel.
Then, Akadiel and Eons witness the birth of life, as recalled in Genesis, over a period of six days. At the end of this part, Akadiel holds his speech to the still-sleeping human couple, demanding of them that they shall be rulers over themselves first, and
The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet is a narrative poem, first published in 1562 by Arthur Brooke, who is reported to have translated it from an Italian novella by Matteo Bandello. Romeus and Juliet was the key source for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Little is known about Arthur Brooke, except that he drowned in 1563 by shipwreck while crossing to help Protestant forces in France.
Source study and comparisons can be found in the introduction in the edition listed below.
The poem's ending differs significantly from Shakespeare's play—the nurse is banished and the apothecary is hanged for their involvement in the deception, while Friar Lawrence leaves Verona to live in a hermitage until he dies.
"The Tyger" is a poem by the English poet William Blake. It was published as part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794 (see 1794 in poetry). It is one of Blake's best-known and most analyzed poems. The Cambridge Companion to William Blake (2003) calls it "the most anthologized poem in English." Much of the poem follows the metrical pattern of its first line and can be scanned as trochaic tetrameter catalectic. A number of lines, however—such as line four in the first stanza—fall into iambic tetrameter.
Most modern anthologies have kept Blake's choice of the archaic spelling "tyger". It was a common spelling of the word at the time but was already "slightly archaic" when he wrote the poem; he spelled it as "tiger" elsewhere, and many of his poetic effects "depended on subtle differences of punctuation and of spelling." Thus, his choice of "tyger" has usually been interpreted as being for effect, perhaps to render an "exotic or alien quality of the beast", or because it's not really about a tiger at all, but a metaphor.
"The Tyger" is the sister poem to "The Lamb" (from "Songs of Innocence"), a reflection of similar ideas from a different perspective, but "The Lamb" focuses
"To Helen" is the first of two poems to carry that name written by Edgar Allan Poe. The 15-line poem was written in honor of Jane Stanard, the mother of a childhood friend. It was first published in 1831 collection Poems of Edgar A. Poe then reprinted in 1836 in the Southern Literary Messenger.
In "To Helen," Poe is celebrating the nurturing power of woman. Poe was inspired in part by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, particularly in the second line ("Like those Nicean barks of yore") which resembles a line in Coleridge's "Youth and Age" ("Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore").
Poe revised the poem in 1845, making several improvements, most notably changing "the beauty of fair Greece, and the grandeur of old Rome" to "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome." Poe scholar Jeffrey Meyers referred to these as "two of Poe's finest and most famous lines".
Poe, in referring to Helen, may be alluding to the Greek goddess of light or Helen of Troy who is considered to be the most beautiful woman who ever lived, though there is not enough information given to determine for certain. He also makes a reference to Psyche, a beautiful princess who became the lover of Cupid. The
Carmina Burana ( /ˈkɑrmɨnə bʊˈrɑːnə/), Latin for "Songs from Beuern" (short for: Benediktbeuern), is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces are mostly bawdy, irreverent, and satirical; they were written principally in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces of Old French or Provençal. Some are macaronic, a mixture of Latin and German or French vernacular.
They were written by students and clergy when the Latin idiom was the lingua franca across Italy and western Europe for travelling scholars, universities and theologians. Most of the poems and songs appear to be the work of Goliards, clergy (mostly students) who set up and satirized the Catholic Church. The collection preserves the works of a number of poets, including Peter of Blois, Walter of Châtillon and an anonymous poet, referred to as the Archpoet.
The collection was found in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, and is now housed in the Bavarian State Library in Munich. Along with the Carmina Cantabrigiensia, the Carmina Burana is the most important collection
Land of Scoundrels or Strana Negodyayev (Russian: Страна негодяев) is a poem by Russian poet Sergei Yesenin completed in 1923. It depicts a conflict between freedom-loving anarchist rebel named Nomakh (anagram alluding to Nestor Makhno) and Bolshevik commissar Rassvetov who dreams of forcefully modernized Russia. Yesenin moved to writing the poem after bitter contemplations on Russian rebellion in drama Pugachev. Other motifs include his reflections on nature of business-driven modern United States visited by Yesenin around the time of the poem composition.
After the publication the poem was seen as a critics of Soviet rule. Its contents could be interpreted as an apology of peasant (or "anarchist") rebellion or casting of Bolshevik order as an artificial one, imposed on the people by non-Russian commissars. Following the Land of Scoundrels Yesenin went on to bitter Moscow of Taverns finished next year and even tried to provide repentance of sorts by publication of Russia of Soviets compilation in 1925.
Contemporary commentators agree that questions posed by Yesenin in the poem more than eighty years ago still have immediate bearing for today's Russia: to what extent the Russian
Holy Willie's Prayer is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1785 and first printed anonymously in an eight page pamphlet in 1799.
It is considered the greatest of all Burns' satirical poems, one of the finest satires by any poet, and a withering attack on religious hypocrisy.
It is written in the Scots language, but is accessible to most modern English readers.
The poem is an attack on the bigotry and hypocrisy of some members of the Kirk (Church), as told by the (fictional) self-justifying prayer of a (real) kirk elder, Holy Willie. Throughout the poem, Holy Willie displays his hypocrisy by justifying his own transgressions while simultaneously asking God to judge harshly and show no mercy to his fellow transgressors. Burns used the example of Holy Willie to make the point that the Calvinist theology underpinning the entire Kirk was equally hypocritical.
The Kirk was still a powerful moral force in Burns' day, and one which he believed he had a justified grievance against. Burns felt that belief in predestination, whether to salvation or damnation, could make people morally reckless, because their salvation was believed to rest, not on their own moral actions but on the
Il Penseroso is a vision of poetic melancholy by John Milton. Presented in the 1645 folio of verses, The Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, Il Penseroso was presented as a companion piece to L'Allegro, a vision of poetic Mirth. The speaker of this reflective ode dispels "vain deluding Joys" from his mind in a ten-line prelude, before invoking "divinest Melancholy" to inspire his future verses. The melancholic mood is idealised by the speaker as a means by which to "attain / To something like prophetic strain," and for the central action of Il Penseroso - which, like L'Allegro, proceeds in couplets of iambic tetrameter - the speaker speculates about the poetic inspiration that would transpire if the imagined goddess of Melancholy he invokes were his Muse. The highly digressive style Milton employs in L'Allegro and Il Penseroso dually precludes any summary of the poems' dramatic action as it renders them interpretively ambiguous to critics. However, it can surely be said that the vision of poetic inspiration offered by the speaker of Il Penseroso is an allegorical exploration of a contemplative paradigm of poetic genre.
It is uncertain when L'Allegro and Il Pensero
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, changed into twelve books (in the manner of the division of Virgil's Aeneid) with minor revisions throughout and a note on the versification.
The poem concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men". Paradise Lost is often considered one of the greatest literary works in the English language.
The poem is separated into twelve "books" or sections, and the lengths of each book varies greatly (the longest being Book IX, with 1,189 lines, and the shortest Book VII, having 640). The Arguments at the head of each book were added in subsequent imprints of the first edition. Originally published in ten books, in 1674 a fully "Revised and Augmented" edition with a new division into twelve books was issued. This is the edition that is generally used today.
The poem follows the epic
"Sabbath Morning at Sea" is a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as the third song in his song-cycle Sea Pictures. It was first published by Browning in 1839.
[Italicised text denotes line repeated in the song but not in the original poem. Square brackets denote words omitted from the song.]
The opening reintroduces the oceanic theme from Sea Slumber Song. At "And on that sea commixed with fire" the opening bars of the song cycle are quoted.
Diu Crône (English: The Crown) is a Middle High German poem of about 30,000 lines about King Arthur, dating from around the 1220s and attributed to the epic poet Heinrich von dem Türlin.
The poem tells of the Knights of the Round Table's quest for the Grail but differs from the better-known "Percival" and "Galahad" versions of the narrative: it is Sir Gawain who achieves the sacred object. Of the author little is known though it has been suggested that he was from the town of Sankt Veit an der Glan, then the residence of the Sponheim dukes of Carinthia.
A scholarly edition of the poem was made in 1852 by Gottlob Heinrich Friedrich Scholl (1802-1870).
"England in 1819" is a political sonnet by the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and reflects his liberal ideals. Composed in 1819, it was not published until 1839 in the four-volume The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley (London: Edward Moxon) edited by Mary Shelley. Like all sonnets, "England in 1819" has fourteen lines and is written in iambic pentameter; however, its rhyming scheme (a-b-a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, c-c-d-d) differs from that of the traditional English sonnet (a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g).
The sonnet describes a very forlorn reality. The poem passionately attacks England's, as the poet sees it, decadent, oppressive ruling class. King George III referred to by "old, mad, blind, despised, and dying". The "leech-like" nobility ("princes") metaphorically suck the blood from the people, who are, in the sonnet, oppressed, hungry, and hopeless, their fields untilled. Meanwhile, the army is corrupt and dangerous to liberty, the laws are harsh and useless, religion has lost its morality, and Parliament (the "Senate") is a relic. In addition, the civil rights of the Catholic minority are non existent "Time's worst statute unrepealed". In a startling burst of
L'Allegro is a pastoral poem by John Milton published in 1645. L'Allegro (which means "the happy man" in Italian) is invariably paired with the contrasting pastoral poem, Il Penseroso ("the melancholy man"), which depicts a similar day spent in contemplation and thought.
It is uncertain when L'Allegro and Il Penseroso were composed because they do not appear in Milton's Trinity College manuscript of poetry. However, the settings found in the poem suggest that they were possibly composed shortly after Milton left Cambridge. The two poems were first published in Milton's 1645 collection of poems. In the collection, they served as a balance to each other and to his Latin poems, including "Elegia 1" and "Elegia 6".
Milton follows the traditional classical hymn model when the narrator invokes Mirth/Euphrosyne and her divine parentage:
The narrator continues by requesting Mirth to appear with:
Later, the narrator describes how Mirth is connected to pastoral environments:
Near the end of the poem, the narrator requests from Mirth to be immersed in the poetry and the pleasures that Mirth is able to produce:
The final lines of the poem is a response to questions found within Elizabethan
Mariana is a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson published in 1830. The poem follows a common theme in much of Tennyson's work—that of despondent isolation. The subject of Mariana is a woman who continuously laments her lack of connection with society. The isolation defines her existence, and her longing for a connection leaves her wishing for death at the end of every stanza. The premise of Mariana originates in William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, but the lover of Tennyson's Mariana does not return at the end of the poem. Tennyson's version was adapted by others, including John Everett Millais and Elizabeth Gaskell, for use in their own works. The poem was well received by critics, and it is described by critics as an example of Tennyson's skill at poetry.
Tennyson wrote Mariana in 1830 and printed it within his early collection Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. Previously, he contributed poems to the work Poems by Two Brothers (1827), where his early poems dealing with isolation and memory can be found. The theme was continued in the later collection, with poems like Mariana, Ode to Memory, and others representing the earlier poems.
During a visit to the Pyrenees during the summer of
"Night of the Scorpion" is a poem by Nissim Ezekiel. It tells the story of a rural boy (the poet), who's mother was stung by a scorpion. The illiterate village folk try to curse the poison away and are blinded by their superstitions. The boy's father is a skeptic, rationalist, who does not share their views and tries to get his wife cured by more logical techniques (which are however eventually abandoned and he, in contrast to his character, ends up following a more superstitious/unproved method). The lady writhes in pain while others look upon her in pity.The "rationalist" father goes to the extent of lighting her foot on fire . Nevertheless,she thanks god that she suffered and not one of her children. This poem highlights ignorance of the village folk, and also the unconditional love of a mother for her children.
The concern of the mother is not like that of the others, The poet does not like that of the others, The poet does not resent her as a superstitious person. Love for her children is highlighted in the poem. She reminds as of archetypal mother who is ready to suffer anything for the sake of her children. The poet recalls fondly about his mother who is an embodiment of
Songs of Innocence is a collection of illustrated lyrical poetry, published by William Blake in 1789. Its companion volume is Songs of Experience. Blake believed that innocence and experience were "the two contrary states of the human soul", and that true innocence was impossible without experience. Songs of Innocence contains poems either written from the perspective of children or written about them.
Songs of Innocence contains the following poems; each is accompanied by an illuminated plate by Blake.
"The Charge of the Light Brigade" is an 1854 narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson about the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. He was the poet laureate of the United Kingdom at the time of the writing of the poem.
Tennyson's poem, published December 9, 1854 in The Examiner, praises the Brigade, "When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made!", while mourning the appalling futility of the charge: "Not tho' the soldier knew / Some one had blunder'd ... Charging an army while / All the world wonder'd:". According to his grandson Sir Charles Tennyson, Tennyson wrote the poem in only a few minutes after reading an account of the battle in The Times. As poet laureate he often wrote verses about public events. It immediately became hugely popular, even reaching the troops in the Crimea, where it was distributed in pamphlet form at the behest of Jane, Lady Franklin.
Each stanza tells a different part of the story, and there is a delicate balance between nobility and brutality throughout. Although Tennyson's subject is the nobleness of supporting one's country, and the poem's tone and hoofbeat cadences are rousing, it pulls no punches
"Annabel Lee" is the last complete poem composed by American author Edgar Allan Poe. Like many of Poe's poems, it explores the theme of the death of a beautiful woman. The narrator, who fell in love with Annabel Lee when they were young, has a love for her so strong that even angels are envious. He retains his love for her even after her death. There has been debate over who, if anyone, was the inspiration for "Annabel Lee". Though many women have been suggested, Poe's wife Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe is one of the more credible candidates. Written in 1849, it was not published until shortly after Poe's death that same year.
The poem's narrator describes his love for Annabel Lee, which began many years ago in a so-called "kingdom by the sea". Though they were young, their love for one another burned with such an intensity that angels became envious. It is for that reason that the narrator believes the seraphim caused her death. Even so, their love is strong enough that it extends beyond the grave and the narrator believes their two souls are still entwined. Every night, he dreams of Annabel Lee and sees the brightness of her eyes in the stars. He admits that every night he lies down
Idylls of the King, published between 1856 and 1885, is a cycle of twelve narrative poems by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892; Poet Laureate from 1850) which retells the legend of King Arthur, his knights, his love for Guinevere and her tragic betrayal of him, and the rise and fall of Arthur's kingdom. The whole work recounts Arthur's attempt and failure to lift up mankind and create a perfect kingdom, from his coming to power to his death at the hands of the traitor Modred. Individual poems detail the deeds of various knights, including Lancelot, Geraint, Galahad, and Balin and Balan, and also Merlin and the Lady of the Lake. There is little transition between Idylls, but the central figure of Arthur links all the stories. The poems were dedicated to the late Albert, Prince Consort. The Idylls are written in blank verse. Tennyson's descriptions of nature are derived from observations of his own surroundings, collected over the course of many years.The dramatic narratives are not an epic either in structure or tone, but derive elegiac sadness from the idylls of Theocritus. Idylls of the King is often read as an allegory of the societal conflicts in Britain during
The Rolliad, in full Criticisms on the Rolliad, is a pioneering work of British satire directed principally at the administration of William Pitt the Younger. It was written and originally published in serial form in the Morning Herald in 1784-85, and its authors also contributed ancillary satires which were published together with it.
The satire takes the form of a piece of literary criticism of an epic poem called The Rolliad which is extensively quoted. The subject of the poem is John Rolle, MP for Devon, who is being guided around Parliament by Merlin who introduces the leading personalities to him. Rolle, despite the fact that he was not a constant supporter of Pitt, was picked out for ridicule by the authors after he shouted down Edmund Burke in the House of Commons. The authors claimed his descent from the Norman Rollo of Normandy.
The Rolliad was a collaborative work and the authors remained anonymous. Joseph Richardson, a journalist, was the principal writer; George Ellis (an antiquary), Richard Tickell (a librettist) and French Laurence (Professor of Civil Law at Oxford) also contributed. There were contributors from the field of politics including Richard Fitzpatrick who
"And did those feet in ancient time" is a short poem by William Blake from the preface to his epic Milton a Poem, one of a collection of writings known as the Prophetic Books. The date on the title page of 1804 for Milton is probably when the plates were begun, but the poem was printed c. 1808. Today it is best known as the anthem "Jerusalem", with music written by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.
The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant, travelled to the area that is now England and visited Glastonbury during Jesus' lost years. The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem. The Christian Church in general, and the English Church in particular, used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace.
In the most common interpretation of the poem, Blake implies that a visit of Jesus would briefly create heaven in England, in contrast to the "dark Satanic Mills" of the Industrial Revolution. Analysts note that Blake asks four questions rather than asserting the historical truth of Christ's
Christabel is a lengthy poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in two parts. The first part was written in 1797, and the second in 1800. Coleridge planned three additional parts, but these were never completed. Coleridge prepared for the incomplete poem to be published in 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads, but on the advice of William Wordsworth it was left out; the exclusion of the poem, coupled with his inability to finish it, left Coleridge in doubt about his poetical power. It was published separately in 1816.
The verse of Christabel features a novel metrical system, based on the count of only accents: even though the number of syllables in each verse can vary from four to twelve, the number of accents per line never deviates from four.
The story of Christabel concerns a central female character of the same name and her encounter with a stranger called Geraldine, who claims to have been abducted from her home by a band of rough men.
Christabel goes in the woods to pray to the large oak tree, where she hears a strange noise. Upon looking behind the tree, she finds Geraldine, who says that she had been abducted from her home by men on horseback. Christabel pities her and takes her home
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" is a poem written by the English Romantic poet John Keats in May 1819 and published in January 1820 (see 1820 in poetry). It is one of his "Great Odes of 1819", which include "Ode on Indolence", "Ode on Melancholy", "Ode to a Nightingale", and "Ode to Psyche". Keats found earlier forms of poetry unsatisfactory for his purpose, and the collection represented a new development of the ode form. He was inspired to write the poem after reading two articles by English artist and writer Benjamin Haydon. Keats was aware of other works on classical Greek art, and had first-hand exposure to the Elgin Marbles, all of which reinforced his belief that classical Greek art was idealistic and captured Greek virtues, which forms the basis of the poem.
Divided into five stanzas of ten lines each, the ode contains a narrator's discourse on a series of designs on a Grecian urn. The poem focuses on two scenes: one in which a lover eternally pursues a beloved without fulfilment, and another of villagers about to perform a sacrifice. The final lines of the poem declare that "'beauty is truth, truth beauty,' – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know", and literary
Queen Mab; A Philosophical Poem; With Notes, published in 1813 in nine cantos with seventeen notes, was the first large poetic work written by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), the English Romantic poet. After substantial reworking, a revised edition of a portion of the text was published in 1816 under the title The Daemon of the World.
This poem was written early in Shelley's career and serves as a foundation to his theory of revolution. It was his first major poem. In this work, he depicts a two-pronged revolt involving necessary changes, brought on by both nature and the virtuousness of humans.
Shelley took William Godwin's idea of "necessity" and combined it with his own idea of ever-changing nature, to establish the theory that contemporary societal evils would dissolve naturally in time. This was to be coupled with the creation of a virtuous mentality in people who could envision the ideal goal of a perfect society. The ideal was to be reached incrementally, because Shelley (as a result of Napoleon's actions in the French Revolution), believed that the perfect society could not be obtained immediately through violent revolution. Instead it was to be achieved through nature's
"Sebastian, or, Virtue Rewarded" is the name of an unpublished poem written around 1815 by the 9-year-old Elizabeth Barrett, later famous as Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The autographed manuscript of the poem is held in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature in the New York Public Library. Note that the ambitious young Elizabeth signs herself F. R. S. (Fellow of the Royal Society) on the cover shown right.
"A Prayer for my Daughter" is a poem by William Butler Yeats written in 1919 and published in 1921 as part of Yeats' collection Michael Robartes and the Dancer. It is written to Anne, the daughter of Yeats and Georgie Hyde Lees, whom Yeats married after his last marriage proposal to Maud Gonne was rejected in 1916. Yeats wrote the poem while staying in a tower at Thoor Ballylee during the Anglo-Irish War, two days after Anne's birth on February 26, 1919. The poem reflects Yeats's complicated views on Irish Nationalism, sexuality, and is considered an important work of Modernist poetry.
The poem begins by describing a "storm" which is "howling", and his newborn daughter, sleeping "half hid" in her cradle, thus protected somewhat from the storm. The storm, which can in part be read as symbolizing the Irish War of Independence, overshadows the birth of Yeats's daughter and creates the political frame that sets the text into historical context. In stanza two, the setting for the poem is revealed as being "the tower", a setting for many of Yeats's poems including the book of poems titled The Tower published in 1928. This is Thoor Ballylee, an ancient Norman tower in Galway, which Yeats
"Concord Hymn" is an 1837 poem by American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. It was written for a memorial to the Battle of Concord during the American Revolution.
Emerson wrote "Concord Hymn" in 1836 for the dedication of the Obelisk, a battle monument in Concord, Massachusetts that commemorated the men that gave their lives at the Battle of Concord (April 19, 1775), the first battle of the American Revolution.
Emerson had been traveling through Europe; upon his return to the United States in 1833 he first lived with his mother in Newton, Massachusetts before moving to Concord in October 1834 to live with his step-grandfather Dr. Ezra Ripley at what was later named The Old Manse. The home stands less than a hundred paces from the spot where the battle took place. Shortly before his marriage to Lydia Jackson in 1835, Emerson purchased a home on the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike which he named "Bush". He quickly became one of the leading citizens in Concord and gave a public lecture to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the town's founding on September 12, 1835.
The "Concord Hymn" was written at the request of the Battle Monument Committee. As part of Concord's Independence Day
"Goblin Market" (composed in April 1859 and published in 1862) is a narrative poem by Christina Rossetti. In a letter to her publisher, Rossetti claimed that the poem, which is interpreted frequently as having features of remarkably sexual imagery, was not meant for children. However, in public Rossetti often stated that the poem was intended for children, and went on to write many children's poems. When the poem appeared in her first volume of poetry, Goblin Market and Other Poems, it was illustrated by her brother, the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
"Goblin Market" is about two close sisters, Laura and Lizzie, as well as the goblins beings to whom the title refers.
Although the sisters seem to be quite young, they live by themselves in a house, and are accustomed to draw water every evening from a stream. As the poem begins, twilight is falling, and as usual the sisters hear the calls from the goblin merchants, who sell fruits in fantastic abundance, variety and savour. On this evening, Laura lingers at the stream after her sister has left for home, intrigued by the goblins' strange manner and appearance. Wanting fruit but having no money, the impulsive Laura
Paradise Regained is a poem by the English poet John Milton, published in 1671. It is connected by name to his earlier and more famous epic poem Paradise Lost, with which it shares similar theological themes. It deals with the subject of the temptation of Christ.
The poem was composed in Milton's cottage in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, and was based on the Gospel of Luke's version of the temptation of Christ. Paradise Regained is four books in length, in contrast with Paradise Lost's twelve.
One of the major concepts emphasized throughout Paradise Regained is the play on reversals. As implied by its title, Milton sets out to reverse the "loss" of Paradise. Thus, antonyms are often found next to each other throughout the poem, reinforcing the idea that everything that was lost in the first epic is going to be regained by the end of the mini-epic.
Additionally, this work focuses on the idea of "hunger", both in a literal and in a spiritual sense. After wandering in the wilderness for forty days, Jesus is starved of both food and the Word of God. Satan, too blind to see any non-literal meanings of the term, offers Christ food and various other temptations, but Jesus
Sir Degaré (from Old English "Diggory", and is probably from French égaré > strayed, lost) is an anonymous Middle English narrative poem, written in the tradition of the Breton lai. It explores themes in the story of Orpheus, by way of Celtic mythology.
The poem is dated to the late 13th or early 14th century and extant in six manuscripts. The poem may be based upon a lost Breton lai, the Lai d'Esgaré. It was introduced into English culture via the Old French Breton lais of poets like Marie de France. The narrative builds the Greek myth of Orpheus upon elements from Celtic mythology's tradition of fairy folklore.
The Auchinleck MS. contains the earliest example of the poem in Middle English. The poem featured within the manuscript consists of 1065 lines and is incomplete.
A family drama is immediately established by the suggestion of an incestuous relationship between the King of Brittany and his daughter, a theme which came to be "a considerable preoccupation among medieval authors". Found more explicitly in the Catskin Cinderella folktales and Middle English narratives like Apollonius of Tyre and Emaré, the incest motif involves the death of the beautiful queen and the
Cad Goddeu (English: The Battle of the Trees) is a medieval Welsh poem preserved in the 14th-century manuscript known as the Book of Taliesin. The poem refers to a traditional story in which the legendary enchanter Gwydion animates the trees of the forest to fight as his army. The poem is especially notable for its striking and enigmatic symbolism and the wide variety of interpretations this has occasioned.
Some 248 short lines long (usually five syllables and a rest), and falling into several sections, the poem begins with an extended claim of first-hand knowledge of all things, in a fashion found later in the poem and also in several others attributed to Taliesin;
"The Munich Mannequins" is a poem by Sylvia Plath which recounts Plath's experience of insomnia on a trip to the titular German city. The poem is famous for its opening line and for referring to conservative Munich as the "morgue between Paris and Rome."
The poem is written in 13 couplets, ending with a single one line stanza, and follows no rhyme scheme.
In the early 1960s, the fashion models were often referred to as "mannequins," and those from Germany enjoyed special popularity. "The Munich Mannequins" was written in little over a month before her suicide, making it one of her Ariel poems.
In "The Munich Mannequins" Plath refers to the lives of women and how they are seen by others, specifically with regard to how biological functions related to childbearing are perceived to define them. The first line of the poem, "Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children," refers both to the appearance of the culturally ubiquitous live German models and that of inanimate mannequins. Just as mannequins cannot procreate, nor can their live counterparts risk their "perfection" by becoming pregnant. Plath suggests that perfection itself "tamps the womb," and goes on to describe the
"The Owl and the Pussycat" is a nonsense poem by Edward Lear, first published in 1871.
Lear wrote the poem for a three-year-old girl, Janet Symonds, the daughter of Lear's friend poet John Addington Symonds and his wife Catherine Symonds. The term runcible spoon was coined for the poem.
"The Owl and the Pussycat" features four anthropomorphic animals – an owl, a cat, a pig, and a turkey – and tells the story of the love between the title characters who marry in the land "where the Bong-tree grows".
The Owl and the Pussycat set out to sea in a pea green boat with honey and "plenty of money" wrapped in a five pound note. The Owl serenades the Pussycat while gazing at the stars and strumming on a small guitar. He describes her as beautiful. The Pussycat responds by describing the Owl as an "elegant fowl" and compliments him on his singing. She urges they marry but they don't have a ring. They sail away for a year and a day to a land where Bong-trees grow and discover a pig with a ring in his nose in a wood. They buy the ring for a shilling and are married the next day by a turkey. They dine on mince and quince using a runcible spoon, then dance hand-in-hand on the sand in the
"There Was an Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe" is a popular English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19132.
The most common version of the rhyme is:
The earliest printed version in Joseph Ritson's Gammer Gurton's Garland in 1794 has the coarser last line:
There were many other variations printed in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Iona and Peter Opie pointed to the version published in Infant Institutes in 1797, which finished with the lines:
The term "a-loffeing", they believed, was Shakespearean, suggesting that the rhyme is considerably older than the first printed versions. They then speculated that if this were true it might have a folk lore meaning and pointed to the connection between shoes and marriage, symbolised by casting a shoe when a bride leaves for her honeymoon.
Debates over the meaning of the rhyme largely revolve around matching the old woman with historical figures, as Peter Opie observed 'for little reason other than the size of their families'. Candidates include:
There is no evidence to identify either of these candidates with the unnamed subject of the rhyme.
The Lay of Hildebrand (Das Hildebrandslied) is a heroic lay, written in Old High German alliterative verse. It is one of the earliest literary works in German, and it tells of the tragic encounter in battle between a son and his unrecognized father. It is the only surviving example in German of a genre which must have been important in the oral literature of the Germanic tribes.
The opening lines of the poem set the scene: two warriors meet on a battlefield, probably as the champions of their two armies.
As the older man, Hildebrand opens by asking the identity and genealogy of his opponent. Hadubrand reveals that he did not know his father but the elders told him his father was Hildebrand, who fled eastwards in the service of Dietrich to escape the wrath of Otacher (Odoacer), leaving behind a wife and small child. He believes his father to be dead.
Hildebrand responds by saying that Hadubrand will never fight such a close kinsman (an indirect way of asserting his paternity) and offers gold arm-rings he had received as a gift from the Lord of the Huns (the audience would have recognized this as a reference to Attila, whom according to legend Theodoric served).
Hadubrand takes this
Lotta Svärd is the fourth poem in the second part of Johan Ludvig Runeberg's epic poem The Tales of Ensign Stål from 1860.
The Lotta Svärd poem is about a woman who manned a field kitchen during the Finnish War. The name was later used for several Lotta movements (women's auxiliary movements) in the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway).
An Anna Blume ("To Anna Flower" also translated as "To Eve Blossom") is a poem written by the German artist Kurt Schwitters in 1919. It has been described as a parody of a love poem, an emblem of the chaos and madness of the era, and as a harbinger of a new poetic language.
Originally published in Herwarth Walden's Der Sturm magazine in August 1919, the poem made Schwitters famous almost overnight. The poem was parodied in newspapers and magazines, and strongly polarized public opinion.
Whilst Schwitters was never an official member of Berlin Dada, he was closely linked to many members of the group, in particular Raoul Hausmann and Hans Arp, and the poem is written in a dadaist style, using multiple perspectives, fragments of found text, and absurdist elements to mirror the fragmentation of the narrator's emotional state in the throes of love, or of Germany's political, military and economic collapse after the First World War.
"Elements of poetry are letters, syllables, words, sentences. Poetry arises from the interaction of those elements. Meaning is important only if it employed as one such factor. I play off sense against nonsense. I prefer nonsense, but that is a purely
Published in 1717, Eloisa to Abelard is a poem by Alexander Pope (1688–1744). It is an Ovidian heroic epistle inspired by the 12th-century story of Héloïse's illicit love for, and secret marriage to, her teacher Pierre Abélard, perhaps the most popular teacher and philosopher in Paris, and the brutal vengeance that her family exacts when they castrate him, even though the lovers had married.
After the assault, and even though they have a child, Abélard enters a monastery and bids Eloisa to do the same. She is tortured by the separation and by her unwilling vow of silence, which she takes with her eyes fixed upon Abélard rather than upon the cross (line 116).
Years later, she completes Historia Calamitatum (History of my Misfortunes), which is a letter of consolation to a friend, and her passion for him is reawakened. Eloisa and Abelard exchange four letters. In an effort to make sense of their personal tragedy, they explore the nature of human and divine love. However, their incompatible male and female perspectives make painful the dialogue for both.
In Pope's poem, Eloisa feels anguish over her powerful feelings — especially in her dreams — for Abélard. She feels further anguish
The Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.
Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Greek legends about the siege; the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war, and related concerns tend to appear near the beginning. Then the epic narrative takes up events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles' looming death and the sack of Troy, prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly, so that when it reaches an end, the poem has told a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War. The Iliad is paired with something of a sequel, the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer.
Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC. In the modern
Kubla Khan ( /ˌkʊblə ˈkɑːn/) is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in 1816. According to Coleridge's Preface to Kubla Khan, the poem was composed one night after he experienced an opium influenced dream after reading a work describing Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China Kublai Khan. Upon waking, he set about writing lines of poetry that came to him from the dream until he was interrupted by a person from Porlock. The poem could not be completed according to its original 200–300 line plan as the interruption caused him to forget the lines. He left it unpublished and kept it for private readings for his friends until 1816 when, on the prompting by George Gordon Byron, it was published.
Some of Coleridge's contemporaries denounced the poem and questioned his story about its origin. It was not until years later that critics began to openly admire the poem. Most modern critics now view Kubla Khan as one of Coleridge's three great poems, with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel. The poem is considered one of the most famous examples of Romanticism in English poetry. A copy of the manuscript is a permanent
"My Country" is an iconic patriotic poem about Australia, written by Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) at the age of 19 while homesick in England. After travelling through Europe extensively with her father during her teenage years she started writing the poem in London in 1904 and re-wrote it several times before her return to Sydney. The poem was first published in the London Spectator in 1908 under the title "Core of My Heart". It was reprinted in many Australian newspapers, quickly becoming well known and establishing Mackellar as a poet.
Mackellar's family owned substantial properties in the Gunnedah district of New South Wales and a property (Torryburn) in the Paterson district. The inspiration for her poems undoubtedly came from the time she spent on the rural properties as a child. The famous poem is believed to have been directly inspired by witnessing the break of a drought when she was at Torryburn; My Country uses imagery to describe the land after the breaking of a long drought. Of ragged mountain ranges possibly refer to the Mount Royal Ranges, and the Barrington Tops.
To many the poem is an overtly romanticised version of "The Australian condition" as Mackellar's family
Of two hymns, Stabat Mater Dolorosa (about the Sorrows of Mary) and Stabat Mater Speciosa (joyfully referring to the Nativity of Jesus), Stabat Mater usually refers to the first, a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, variously attributed to the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi and to Innocent III.
The title of the sorrowful hymn is an incipit of the first line, Stabat mater dolorosa ("The sorrowful mother stood"). The Dolorosa hymn, one of the most powerful and immediate of extant medieval poems, meditates on the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ's mother, during his crucifixion. It is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Dolorosa has been set to music by many composers, with the most famous settings being those by Palestrina, Pergolesi, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Haydn, Rossini, and Dvořák.
The Dolorosa was well known by the end of the fourteenth century and Georgius Stella wrote of its use in 1388, while other historians note its use later in the same century. In Provence, about 1399, it was used during the nine days processions.
As a liturgical sequence, the Dolorosa was suppressed, along with hundreds of other sequences, by the Council of Trent, but restored to the
"The Heathen Chinee", originally published as "Plain Language from Truthful James", is a narrative poem by American writer Bret Harte. It was published for the first time in September 1870 in Overland Monthly. It was written as a parody of Algernon Charles Swinburne's Atalanta in Calydon (1865), and satirized anti-Chinese sentiment in northern California.
Harte, who is known to have repeatedly opposed racial discrimination since as early as 1863, intended the poem to be a satire of the prevalent prejudice among Irish laborers in northern California against the Chinese immigrants competing for the same work. However, the predominantly white middle-class readership of the Overland and the periodicals that reprinted it — including the New York Evening Post, Prairie Farmer, New York Tribune, Boston Evening Transcript, Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, and Saturday Evening Post (published twice) — interpreted and embraced the poem as mocking the Chinese. Following the September 1870 publication, the poem was included in a book by Harte titled Poems, released in January 1871. Several periodicals and books would republish the poem with illustrations.
"The Heathen Chinee", as the poem
Beowulf ( /ˈbeɪ.ɵwʊlf/; in Old English [ˈbeːo̯wʊlf] or [ˈbeːəwʊlf]) is the conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.
It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet is dated between the 8th and the early 11th century. In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through a building housing a collection of Medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. The poem fell into obscurity for decades, and its existence did not become widely known again until it was printed in 1815 in an edition prepared by the Icelandic-Danish scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin.
In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia, comes to the help of Hroðgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall (in Heorot) has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years
"Ring Out, Wild Bells" is a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Published in 1850, the year he was appointed Poet Laureate, it forms part of In Memoriam, Tennyson's elegy to Arthur Henry Hallam, his sister's fiancé who died at the age of twenty-two.
According to a story widely held in Waltham Abbey, and repeated on many websites (see two examples below), the 'wild bells' in question were the bells of the Abbey Church. According to the local story, Tennyson was staying at High Beach in the vicinity and heard the bells being rung. In some versions of the story it was a particularly stormy night and the bells were being swung by the wind rather than deliberately.
This poem is recited annually at the national New Year's Eve celebration in Sweden every year by actor and singer Jan Malmsjö, who has recited the poem since 31 December 2001. The Swedish tradition of reading 'Ring Out, Wild Bells' began in 1897 when the young Swedish actor Anders de Wahl was asked to perform the poem at the annual New Year's Eve Celebration at Skansen in Stockholm. Anders de Wahl performed 'Ring Out, Wild Bells' (which, in Swedish, is called 'Nyårsklockan') until his death in 1956. The television producers at
"Tears, Idle Tears" is a lyric poem written in 1847 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), the Victorian-era English poet. Published as one of the "songs" in his The Princess (1847), it is regarded for the quality of its lyrics. A Tennyson anthology describes the poem as "one of the most Virgilian of Tennyson's poems and perhaps his most famous lyric". Readers often overlook the poem's blank verse—the poem does not rhyme.
Tennyson was inspired to write "Tears, Idle Tears" upon a visit to Tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire, an abbey that was abandoned in 1536. He said the convent was "full for me of its bygone memories", and that the poem was about "the passion of the past, the abiding in the transient." William Wordsworth also wrote a poem inspired by this location in 1798, "Tintern Abbey", which develops a similar theme.
"Tears, Idle Tears" is noted for its lyric richness, and for its tones of paradox and ambiguity—especially as Tennyson did not often bring his doubts into the grammar and symbolism of his works. The ambiguity occurs in the contrasting descriptions of the tears: they are "idle", yet come from deep within the narrator; the "happy autumn-fields" inspire sadness. Literary
Visions of the Daughters of Albion is a 1793 poem by William Blake, produced as a book with his own illustrations. It is a short and early example of his prophetic books, and a sequel of sorts to The Book of Thel.
The central narrative is of the female character Oothoon, called the "soft soul of America", and of her sexual experience. S. Foster Damon (A Blake Dictionary) suggested that Blake had been influenced by Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women, published in 1792.
Oothoon is in love with Theotormon, who represents the chaste man, filled with a false sense of righteousness. Oothoon desires Theotormon but is suddenly, violently raped by Bromion. After Oothoon is raped neither Bromion nor Theotormon want anything to do with her.
As is usual in Blake, the names of the characters represent their symbolic roles. Theotormon's name is derived from the Greek "theos", which means god, and the Latin "tormentum", which means twist or torment. The name of his rival Bromion is Greek meaning "roarer".
Bromion represents the passionate man, filled with lustful fire. Oothoon is the representation of a woman in Blake's society, who had no charge over her own sexuality.
"The Conqueror Worm" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe about human mortality and the inevitability of death. It was first published separately in Graham's Magazine in 1843, but quickly became associated with Poe's short story "Ligeia" after Poe added the poem to a revised publication of the story in 1845. In the revised story, the poem is composed by the eponymous Ligeia, and taught to the narrator in the fits of her death throes.
An audience of weeping angels watches a play performed by "mimes, in the form of God on high", and controlled by vast formless shapes looming behind the scenes. The mimes chase a "Phantom" which they can never capture, running around in circles. Finally, a monstrous "crawling shape" emerges, and eats the mimes. The final curtain comes down, "a funeral pall," signaling an end to the "tragedy, 'Man'" whose only hero is "The Conqueror Worm".
"The Conqueror Worm" was first published as a stand-alone poem in the January 1843 issue of Graham's Magazine. Shortly after, it was included among several other poems by Poe in the February 25 issue of the Saturday Museum in a feature called "The Poets & Poetry of Philadelphia: Edgar Allan Poe". It was later included in
"Sea Slumber Song" is a poem by Roden Noel set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as the first song in his song-cycle Sea Pictures.
The poem here is as sung in Sea Pictures.
Italicised text indicates lines repeated in the song but not in the original poem.
Sea Slumber Song
The sea's lullaby ("I, the Mother mild") is evoked by bass drum and tam-tam and strings repeating a phrase that reappears later in the song cycle. At "Isles in elfin light" the music changes key to C major before returning to the oceanic theme.
"The Garden of Love" is a poem by romantic poet William Blake. It was published as part of his collection, Songs of Experience.
"The Garden of Love" is written to express Blake's beliefs on the naturalness of sexuality and how organised religion, particularly the orthodox Christian church of Blake's time with their preaching and rules cause the repression of our natural desires.
This was an extremely brave statement to make in his time, with a very direct attack on the orthodox Anglican church with mention of a "Chapel" and "priests". Blake's indignation at his subject matter is evident from the second line as he is talking about seeing "what I had never seen". It is interesting that he says he has "never" seen it when he must have grown up all his life being very aware of the Church's attitude towards sexuality. It can then perhaps be inferred that he is speaking from the point of view of innocence who has just entered the world of experience and is in a state of shock and sadness at how his previous freedoms have been literally blocked and squashed by the Church. "A chapel was built in the midst/ Where I used to play on the green" The "green" has special significance also as it
"A Dream Within a Dream" is a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1849. The poem is 24 lines, divided into two stanzas. The poem questions the way one can distinguish between reality and fantasy, asking, "Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?"
The poem dramatizes a confusion in watching the important things in life slip away. Realizing he cannot hold onto even one grain of sand leads to his final question that all things are a dream.
The poem references "golden sand," an image derived from the 1848 discovery of gold in California.
The poem was first published in the March 31, 1849 edition of a Boston-based periodical called Flag of Our Union. The same publication had only two weeks before first published Poe's short story "Hop-Frog." The next month, owner Frederick Gleason announced it could no longer pay for whatever articles and poems it published.
"A Toccata of Galuppi's" is a poem by Robert Browning, originally published in the 1855 collection Men and Women. The title refers to the fact that the speaker is either playing or listening to a toccata by the 18th-century Venetian composer Baldassare Galuppi.
It is not known whether Browning was thinking of any one piece by Galuppi; in Galuppi's time, the terms "toccata" and "sonata" were less clearly differentiated than they later became, and were used interchangeably. A number of Galuppi's sonatas have been suggested as Browning's inspiration, but as Charles van den Borren wrote in The Musical Times, "every poet has the right to evade the prosaic minutiae of fact", and it is impossible to state with confidence that one Galuppi piece has more claim than another to be the inspiration for the poem.
Commentators have remarked on the musicality of the poem. Browning was trained extensively in music, both in composition and musical theory. Professional musicians and musicologists have been dismissive of his use of musical terms, but the music scholar Deryck Cooke writes of the poet's precise grasp of fine musical detail in this work. David Parkinson identifies "a link between each
"Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" is a poem by English author Robert Browning, written in 1855 and first published that same year in the collection entitled Men and Women. The title, which forms the last words of the poem, is a line from William Shakespeare's play King Lear. In the play, Gloucester's son, Edgar, lends credence to his disguise as Tom o' Bedlam by talking nonsense, of which this is a part:
Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
His word was still 'Fie, foh, and fum
I smell the blood of a British man.
King Lear, Act 3, scene 4
Shakespeare took inspiration from the fairy tale "Childe Rowland", although the poem has no direct connection to the tale. Browning claimed that the poem came to him, fully formed, in a dream.
Browning explores Roland's journey to the Dark Tower in 34 six line stanzas with the rhyme form A-B-B-A-A-B and iambic pentameter. It is filled with images from nightmare but the setting is given unusual reality by much fuller descriptions of the landscape than was normal for Browning at any other time in his career. In general, however, the work is one of Browning's most complex works. This is, in part, because the hero's story is glimpsed slowly
The Dragon of Wantley is a 17th century satirical verse parody about a dragon and a brave knight. It was included in Thomas Percy's 1767 Reliques of Ancient Poetry.
The poem is a parody of medieval romances and satirizes a local churchman. In the poem, a dragon appears in Yorkshire and eats children and cattle. The knight More of More Hall battles the dragon and kills it. The Wantley of the poem is Wharncliffe, as the dragon lived in a cave on Wharncliffe Crags, five miles to the north of Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Sir Francis Wortley, the diocese ecclesiastic, and the parishioners of Wharncliffe had a disagreement on tithing and how much the parish owed (under the law of "First Fruits"), so the poem makes him a dragon. More of More Hall was a lawyer who brought a suit against Wortley and succeeded, giving the parishioners relief. Thus, this parody romance satirizes Wortley. The author of the poem is unknown.
Henry Carey wrote the libretto to a burlesque opera called The Dragon of Wantley in 1737. The opera, with music composed by John Frederick Lampe, punctured the vacuous operatic conventions and pointed a satirical barb at Robert Walpole and his taxation policies. The opera was
"The Lamb" is a poem by William Blake, published in Songs of Innocence in 1789. Like many of Blake's works, the poem is about Christianity.
Like the other Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Lamb was intended to be sung; William Blake's original melody is now lost. It was made into a song by Vaughan Williams, although he described it as "that horrible little lamb - a poem that I hate". It was also set to music by Sir John Tavener, who explained, "The Lamb came to me fully grown and was written in an afternoon and dedicated to my nephew Simon for his 3rd birthday." American poet Allen Ginsberg set the poem to music, along with several other of Blake's poems.
The Lamb can be compared to a more grandiose Blake poem: The Tyger in Songs of Experience.
The lamb is a common metaphor for Jesus Christ, who is also called the "The Lamb of God" in John 1:29.
This poem has a simple rhyme scheme : AA BB CC DD AA AA EF GG FE AA
The layout is set up by two stanzas with the refrain: "Little Lamb who made thee?/Dost thou know who made thee?"
In the first stanza, the speaker wonders who the lamb's creator is; the answer lies at the end of the poem. Here we find a physical description of the lamb,
The Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot is a satire in poetic form written by Alexander Pope and addressed to his friend John Arbuthnot, a physician. It was first published in 1735 and composed in 1734, when Pope learned that Arbuthnot was dying. Pope described it as a memorial of their friendship. It has been called Pope's "most directly autobiographical work," in which he defends his practice in the genre of satire and attacks those who had been his opponents and rivals throughout his career.
Both in composition and in publication, the poem had a checkered history. In its canonical form, it is composed of 419 lines of heroic couplets. Epistle to Arbuthnot is notable as the source of the phrase "damn with faint praise," used so often it has become a cliché or idiom. Another of its notable lines is "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"
John Arbuthnot was a physician known as a man of wit. He was a member of the Martinus Scriblerus Club, along with Pope, Jonathan Swift and John Gay. He was formerly the physician of Queen Anne. On 17 July 1734, Arbuthnot wrote to Pope to tell him that he had a terminal illness. In a response dated 2 August, Pope indicates that he planned to write more satire,
"The Giaour" is a poem by Lord Byron first published in 1813 by T. Davison and the first in the series of his Oriental romances. "The Giaour" proved to be a great success when published, consolidating Byron's reputation critically and commercially.
Byron was inspired to write the poem during his Grand Tour during 1809 and 1810, which he undertook with his friend John Cam Hobhouse. While in Athens, he became aware of the Turkish custom of throwing a woman found guilty of adultery into the sea wrapped in a sack.
"Giaour" (Turkish: Gâvur) is the Turkish word for infidel or non-believer, and is similar to the Arabic word "kafir". The story is subtitled "A Fragment of a Turkish Tale", and is Byron's only fragmentary narrative poem. Byron designed the story with three narrators giving their individual point of view about the series of events. The main story is of Leila, a member of her master Hassan's harem, who loves the giaour and is killed by being drowned in the sea by Hassan. In revenge, the giaour kills him and then enters a monastery due to his remorse. The design of the story allows for contrast in Christian and Muslim perceptions of love, sex, death and the afterlife.
"The Wreck of the Hesperus" is a narrative poem by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, first published in Ballads and Other Poems in 1842.
"The Wreck of the Hesperus" is a story that presents the tragic consequences of a sea captain's pride. On an ill-fated voyage in the winter, he brings his daughter aboard ship for company. The captain ignores the advice of one of his experienced men, who fears that a hurricane is approaching. When the storm arrives, the captain ties his daughter to the mast to prevent her from being swept overboard. She calls out to her dying father as she hears the surf beating on the shore, then prays to Christ to calm the seas. The ship crashes onto the reef of Norman's Woe and sinks; the next morning a horrified fisherman finds the daughter's body, still tied to the mast and drifting in the surf. The poem ends with a prayer that all be spared such a fate "on the reef of Norman's Woe."
Longfellow combined fact and fancy to create this, one of his best-known, most macabre, and most enduring poems. His inspiration was the great Blizzard of 1839, which ravaged the northeast coast of the United States for 12 hours starting January 6, 1839, destroying 20
Tam (or Tamas) Lin (also called Tamlane, Tamlin, Tomlin, Tam Lien, Tam-a-Line, Tam Lyn, or Tam Lane) is the hero of a legendary ballad originating from the Scottish Borders. The story revolves around the rescue of Tam Lin by his true love from the Queen of the Fairies. While this ballad is specific to Scotland, the motif of capturing a person by holding him through all forms of transformation is found throughout Europe in folktales.
The story has been adapted into various stories, songs and films.
Most variants begin with the warning that Tam Lin collects either a possession or the virginity of any maiden who passes through the forest of Carterhaugh. When a young girl, usually called Janet or Margaret, goes to Carterhaugh and plucks a double rose, Tam appears and asks why she has come without his leave and taken what is his. She states that she owns Carterhaugh, because her father has given it to her.
In most variants, Janet then goes home and discovers that she is pregnant; some variants pick up the story at this point. When taxed about her condition, she declares that her baby's father is an elf whom she will not forsake. In some variants, she is informed of a herb that will
Epitaph to a Dog (also sometimes referred to as 'Inscription on the Monument to a Newfoundland Dog') is a poem by the English poet Lord Byron. It was written in 1808 in honour of his Newfoundland dog, Boatswain, who had just died of rabies. When Boatswain contracted the disease, Byron reportedly nursed him without any fear of becoming bitten and infected. The poem is inscribed on Boatswain's tomb, which is larger than Byron's, at Newstead Abbey, Byron's estate.
The opening lines, long thought to have been written by Byron, were found to have been written by his friend John Hobhouse. Byron had originally planned to use just the last two lines as the inscription.
"Ozymandias" ( /ˌɒziˈmændiəs/, also pronounced with four syllables in order to fit the poem's meter) is a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley, published in 1818 in the 11 January issue of The Examiner in London. It is frequently anthologised and is probably Shelley's most famous short poem. It was written in competition with his friend Horace Smith, who wrote another sonnet entitled "Ozymandias" seen below.
In addition to the power of its themes and imagery, the poem is notable for its virtuosic diction. The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is unusual and creates a sinuous and interwoven effect.
The central theme of "Ozymandias" is the inevitable decline of all leaders, and of the empires they build, however mighty in their own time.
Ozymandias represents a transliteration into Greek of a part of Ramesses' throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re. The sonnet paraphrases the inscription on the base of the statue, given by Diodorus Siculus in his Bibliotheca historica, as "King of Kings am I, Osymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works."
Shelley's poem is often said to have been inspired by the arrival in London of a colossal statue of Ramesses
Pearl is a Middle English alliterative poem written in the late 14th century. Its unknown author, designated the "Pearl poet" or "Gawain poet", is generally assumed, on the basis of dialect and stylistic evidence, to be the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Cleanness or Purity and may have composed St. Erkenwald.
The manuscript, Cotton Nero A.x, is in the British Library. The first publication was by the Early English Text Society (o.s. 1), edited by Richard Morris, in 1864, while a standard modern edition was edited by E. V. Gordon (Oxford, 1953). The most recent edition came out in 2007, edited by Malcolm Andrew and Ronald Waldron with a prose translation on CD-ROM.
Though the real name of "The Pearl Poet" (or poets) is unknown, some inferences about him/her can be drawn from an informed reading of his/her works. The original manuscript is known in academic circles as Cotton Nero A.x, following a naming system used by one of its owners, Robert Cotton, a collector of Medieval English texts. Before the manuscript came into Cotton's possession, it was in the library of Henry Savile of Bank in Yorkshire. Little is known about its previous ownership, and until
The Courtship of Miles Standish is an 1858 narrative poem by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about the early days of Plymouth Colony, the colonial settlement established in America by the Mayflower Pilgrims.
Set against the backdrop of a fierce Indian war, the tale focuses on a love triangle between three Pilgrims: Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullens, and John Alden. Longfellow claimed the story was true, but the historical evidence is inconclusive. Nevertheless, the ballad was very popular in nineteenth-century America, immortalizing the Mayflower Pilgrims.
The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858) was a literary counterpoint to Henry Longfellow's earlier Evangeline (1847), the tragic tale of a woman whose lover disappears in a colonial war. Together, Evangeline and The Courtship of Miles Standish captured the bittersweet quality of America's colonial era, then only recently past. However, the plot of The Courtship of Miles Standish deliberately varies in emotional tone, unlike the steady tragedy of Longfellow's Evangeline. The Pilgrims grimly battle against disease and Indians, but are also obsessed with an eccentric love triangle, creating a curious mix of drama and comedy.
The Faerie Queene is an incomplete English epic poem by Sir Edmund Spenser. The first half was published in 1590, and a second installment was published in 1596. The Faerie Queene is notable for its form: it was the first work written in Spenserian stanza and is one of the longest poems in the English language. It is an allegorical work, and can be read (as Spenser presumably intended) on several levels of allegory, including as praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser's "A Letter of the Authors," he states that the entire epic poem is "cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises," and that the aim of publishing The Faerie Queene was to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.”
The Faerie Queene found political favour with Elizabeth I and was consequently a success, to the extent that it became Spenser's defining work. The poem found such favour with the monarch that Spenser was granted a pension for life amounting to 50 pounds a year, though there is no evidence that Elizabeth I read any of the poem.
A letter written by Spenser to Sir Walter
"This Is Just To Say" (1934) is a famous imagist poem by William Carlos Williams.
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Written as though it were a note left on a kitchen table, Williams' poem appears to the reader like a piece of found poetry. Metrically, the poem exhibits no regularity of stress or of syllable count. Except for lines two and five (each an iamb) and lines eight and nine (each an amphibrach), no two lines have the same metrical form. The consonance of the letters “Th” in lines two, three, and four, as well the consonance of the letter “F” in lines eight and nine, and the letter 'S' in lines eleven and twelve give rise to a natural rhythm when the poem is read aloud.
A conspicuous lack of punctuation contributes to the poem’s tonal ambiguity. While the second stanza begins with a conjunction, implying a connection to the first stanza, the third stanza is separated from the first two by the capitalized “Forgive.” In a 1950 interview, John W. Gerber asked the poet what it is that makes "This Is Just To Say" a poem; Williams replied, "In the first place, it's
"Ulysses" is a poem in blank verse by the Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), written in 1833 and published in 1842 in his well-received second volume of poetry. An oft-quoted poem, it is popularly used to illustrate the dramatic monologue form. Ulysses describes, to an unspecified audience, his discontent and restlessness upon returning to his kingdom, Ithaca, after his far-ranging travels. Facing old age, Ulysses yearns to explore again, despite his reunion with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus.
The character of Ulysses (in Greek, Odysseus) has been explored widely in literature. The adventures of Odysseus were first recorded in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (c. 800–700 BC), and Tennyson draws on Homer's narrative in the poem. Most critics, however, find that Tennyson's Ulysses recalls Dante's Ulisse in his Inferno (c. 1320). In Dante's re-telling, Ulisse is condemned to hell among the false counsellors, both for his pursuit of knowledge beyond human bounds and for his adventures in disregard of his family.
For much of this poem's history, readers viewed Ulysses as resolute and heroic, admiring him for his determination "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to
Europe a Prophecy is a 1794 prophetic book by British poet and illustrator William Blake. It is engraved on 18 plates, and survives in just nine known copies. It followed America a Prophecy of 1793.
During autumn 1790, Blake moved to Lambeth, Surrey. He had a studio at the new house that he used while writing his what were later called his "Lambeth Books", which included Europe in 1794. Like the others under the title, all aspects of the work, including the composition of the designs, the printing of them, the colouring of them, and the selling of them, happened at his home. Early sketches for Europe were included in a notebook that contained images were created between 1790 until 1793. Only a few of Blake's works were fully coloured, and only some of the editions of Europe were coloured.
When Europe was printed, it was in the same format as Blake's America and sold for the same price. It was printed between 1794 and 1821 with only 9 copies of the work surviving. The plates used for the designs were 23 x 17 cm in size. In addition to the illuminations, the work contained 265 lines of poetry, which were organized into septnearies. Henry Crabb Robinson contacted William Upcott on 19
"Spirits of the Dead" (1827), originally titled "Visits of the Dead" is a poem by American author and poet Edgar Allan Poe, first published in Poe's first collection of poems, "Tamerlane and Other Poems".
The poem tells of a dialogue between a dead speaker and a visitor to his grave., and begins with:
Thy soul shall find itself alone 'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone; Not one, of all the crowd, to pry Into thine hour of secrecy.
The Rape of the Lock is a mock-heroic narrative poem written by Alexander Pope, first published anonymously in Lintot's Miscellany in May 1712 in two cantos (334 lines), but then revised, expanded and reissued under Pope's name on March 2, 1714, in a much-expanded 5-canto version (794 lines). The final form was available in 1717 with the addition of Clarissa's speech on good humour.
The poem satirizes a minor incident by comparing it to the epic world of the gods. It was based on an actual incident recounted by Pope's friend, John Caryll. Arabella Fermor and her suitor, Lord Petre, were both from aristocratic recusant Catholic families at a period in England when under such laws as the Test Act, all denominations except Anglicanism suffered legal restrictions and penalties (for example Petre could not take up his place in the House of Lords as a Catholic). Petre, lusting after Arabella, had cut off a lock of her hair without permission, and the consequent argument had created a breach between the two families. Pope, also a Catholic, wrote the poem at the request of friends in an attempt to "comically merge the two." He utilized the character Belinda to represent Arabella and
L'après-midi d'un faune (or The Afternoon of a Faun) is a poem by the French author Stéphane Mallarmé. It is his best-known work and a landmark in the history of symbolism in French literature. Paul Valéry considered it to be the greatest poem in French literature.
Initial versions of the poem were written between 1865 (the first mention of the poem is found in a letter Mallarmé wrote to Henri Cazalis in June 1865) and 1867, and the final text was published in 1876 (see 1876 in poetry). It describes the sensual experiences of a faun who has just woken up from his afternoon sleep and discusses his encounters with several nymphs during the morning in a dreamlike monologue.
Mallarmé's poem formed the inspiration for the orchestral work Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy and the ballets Afternoon of a Faun by Vaslav Nijinsky, Jerome Robbins and Tim Rushton. The Debussy and Njinsky works would be of great significance in the development of modernism in the arts.
Hendrik Lücke: Mallarmé - Debussy. Eine vergleichende Studie zur Kunstanschauung am Beispiel von „L'Après-midi d'un Faune“. (= Studien zur Musikwissenschaft, Bd. 4). Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-8300-1685-9.
An Essay on Criticism is one of the first major poems written by the English writer Alexander Pope (1688–1744). It is written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets.
The poem first appeared in 1711, but was written in 1709. It is clear from Pope's correspondence that many of the poem's ideas had existed in prose form since at least 1706. It is a verse essay written in the Horatian mode and is primarily concerned with how writers and critics behave in the new literary commerce of Pope's contemporary age. The poem covers a range of good criticism and advice. It also represents many of the chief literary ideals of Pope's age.
Pope contends in the poem's opening couplets that bad criticism does greater harm than bad writing:
Despite the harmful effects of bad criticism, literature requires worthy criticism.
Pope delineates common faults of critics, e.g., settling for easy and cliché rhymes:
Throughout the poem, Pope refers to ancient writers such as Virgil, Homer, Aristotle, Horace and Longinus. This is a testament to his belief that the "Imitation of the ancients" is the ultimate standard for taste. Pope also says, "True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As
"Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888" is a baseball poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer. First published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, it was later popularized by DeWolf Hopper in many vaudeville performances.
The poem was originally published anonymously (under the pen name "Phin", based on Thayer's college nickname, "Phineas"). The author's identity was not widely known at first. A number falsely claimed to have authored the poem, and Thayer's efforts to set the record straight were often ignored.
A baseball team from the fictional town of Mudville (implied to be the home team) is losing by two runs with two outs in their last inning. Both the team and its fans (in the poem, about 5,000 attended the game) believe they can win "if only" they could somehow get "Mighty Casey" (Mudville's star player) up to bat. However, Casey was scheduled to be the fifth batter of the inning, and the first two batters (Cooney and Barrows) did not reach base. The next two batters (Flynn and Jimmy Blake) were perceived to be weak hitters with little chance of reaching base to allow Casey at the bat.
Surprisingly, Flynn hits a single, and Blake follows
Endymion is a poem by John Keats first published in 1818. Beginning famously with the line "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever", Endymion, like many epic poems in English (including John Dryden's translations of Virgil and Alexander Pope's translations of Homer), is written in rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter (also known as heroic couplets). Keats based the poem on the Greek myth of Endymion, the shepherd beloved by the moon goddess Selene. The poem elaborates on the original story and renames Selene "Cynthia" (an alternative name for Artemis).
It starts by painting a rustic scene of trees, rivers, shepherds, and sheep. The shepherds gather around an altar and pray to Pan, god of shepherds and flocks. As the youths sing and dance, the elder men sit and talk about what life would be like in the shades of Elysium. However, Endymion is in a trancelike state, and not participating in their discourse. His sister, Peona, takes him away and brings him to her resting place where he sleeps. After he wakes, he tells Peona of his encounter with Cynthia, and how much he loved her.
The poem is divided into four books, each approximately 1000 lines long. Book I gives Endymion's account of
The Merseburg Incantations or Merseburg Charms (German: die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) are two medieval magic spells, charms or incantations, written in Old High German. They are the only known examples of Germanic pagan belief preserved in this language. They were discovered in 1841 by Georg Waitz, who found them in a theological manuscript from Fulda, written in the 9th or 10th century, although there remains some speculation about the date of the charms themselves. The manuscript (Cod. 136 f. 85a) was stored in the library of the cathedral chapter of Merseburg, hence the name.
The Merseburg Incantations are the only surviving instance of ostensibly pre-Christian, pagan, Old High German literature.
The incantations were recorded in the 10th century by a literate cleric, possibly in the abbey of Fulda, on a blank page of a liturgical book, which later passed to the library at Merseburg. The incantations have thus been transmitted in Caroline minuscule on the flyleaf of a Latin sacramentary.
The spells became famous in modern times through the appreciation of the Grimm brothers, who wrote as follows:
The spells were published later by the Brothers Grimm in On two newly-discovered
Piers Plowman (written ca. 1360–87) or Visio Willelmi de Petro Plowman (William's Vision of Piers Plowman) is a Middle English allegorical narrative poem by William Langland. It is written in unrhymed alliterative verse divided into sections called "passus" (Latin for "step"). Piers is considered by many critics to be one of the early great works of English literature along with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight during the Middle Ages.
The poem—part theological allegory, part social satire—concerns the narrator's intense quest for the true Christian life, from the perspective of mediæval Catholicism. This quest entails a series of dream-visions and an examination into the lives of three allegorical characters, Dowel ("Do-Well"), Dobet ("Do-Better"), and Dobest ("Do-Best").
The poem begins in the Malvern Hills in Malvern, Worcestershire. A man named Will falls asleep and has a vision of a tower set upon a hill and a fortress (donjon) in a deep valley; between these symbols of heaven and hell is a "fair field full of folk", representing the world of mankind. In the early part of the poem Piers, the humble plowman of the title, appears and offers himself
"The Eve of St. Agnes" is a long poem (42 stanzas) by John Keats, written in 1819 and published in 1820. It is widely considered to be amongst his finest poems and was influential in 19th century literature. The poem is in Spenserian stanzas.
The title comes from the day (or evening) before the feast of Saint Agnes (or St. Agnes' Eve). St. Agnes, the patron saint of virgins, died a martyr in 4th century Rome. The eve falls on January 20; the feast day on the 21st. The divinations referred to by Keats in this poem are referred to by John Aubrey in his Miscellanies (1696) as being associated with St. Agnes' night.
Keats based his poem on the superstition that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rites on the eve of St. Agnes; that is she would go to bed without any supper, undress herself so that she was completely naked and lie on her bed with her hands under the pillow and looking up to the heavens and not to look behind. Then the proposed husband would appear in her dream, kiss her, and feast with her.
A Scottish version of the ritual would involve young women meeting together on St. Agnes's Eve at midnight, they would go one by one, into a
"The Walrus and the Carpenter" is a narrative poem by Lewis Carroll that appeared in his book Through the Looking-Glass, published in December 1871. The poem is recited in chapter four, by Tweedledum and Tweedledee to Alice. The poem is composed of 18 stanzas and contains 108 lines, in an alternation of iambic trimeters and iambic tetrameters. The rhyme scheme is ABCBDB, and masculine rhymes appear frequently. The rhyming and rhythmical scheme used, as well as some archaisms and syntactical turns, are those of the traditional English ballad.
The Walrus and the Carpenter are the eponymous characters in the poem, which is recited by Tweedledum and Tweedledee to Alice. Walking upon a beach one night when both sun and moon are visible, the Walrus and Carpenter come upon an offshore bed of oysters, four of whom they invite to join them. To the disapproval of the eldest oyster, many more follow them. After walking along the beach (a point is made of the fact that the oysters are all neatly shod despite having no feet), the two main characters are revealed to be predatory and eat all of the oysters. After hearing the poem, the good-natured Alice attempts to determine which of the two
"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" is a popular poem for children written by American writer and poet Eugene Field and published on March 9, 1889. The original title was Dutch Lullaby.
The poem is a fantasy bed-time story of three children sailing and fishing in the stars. Their boat is a wooden shoe. The little fishermen symbolize a sleepy child's blinking eyes and nodding head.
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea —
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish —
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam —
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
"Yonec" is one of the Lais of Marie de France, written in the twelfth century by the French poet known only as Marie de France. Yonec is a Breton lai, a type of narrative poem. The poem is written in the Anglo-Norman dialect of Old French in rhyming couplets of eight syllables each. This lai tells the story of a woman who seeks to escape a loveless marriage, and of the child born from the love that she found elsewhere.
The lord of Caerwent, a rich old man, marries a beautiful young woman. He fears that she will be unfaithful to him, so he imprisons her in a tower and assigns his aged sister to watch over her. As the years go by, she laments her situation and stops taking care of herself, making her beauty fade away. One day, she cries out to God, wishing that she could experience a romantic adventure as she has heard in fairy tales. Suddenly, a dark bird resembling a goshawk appears at her window. The bird transforms into a handsome knight named Muldumarec. Muldumarec declares his love for her and reveals that, while he has loved her from afar, he could only approach her once she had called for him. The woman refuses his advances unless he can prove that he was not sent by the
The Annolied ("Song of Anno") was composed around 1100 in Early Middle High German rhyming couplets by a monk of Siegburg Abbey.
A principal point of reference for the dating is the mention of Mainz as a place of coronation. The German kings were usually crowned in Aachen, and the naming of Mainz in this connection most likely refers to the coronation either of the counter-king Rudolf of Rheinfelden in 1077 or that of Emperor Henry V in 1106.
The Annolied was an encomium to Bishop Anno II of Cologne (d. 1075), later Saint Anno, who was the founder of Siegburg Abbey.
The poem consists of three parts: the religious or spiritual history of the world and its salvation, from the creation to the time of Anno II; the secular history of the world up to the foundation of the German cities (including the theory of the world empires derived from the vision of the Book of Daniel); and finally the "Vita Annonis", or the biography of Bishop Anno II.
A recent interpretation (Dunphy, Herweg) sees this threefold structure in the context of the poet's remark in the prologue that in the beginning God created two worlds, one spiritual and one earthly, and then he mixed these to create the first human,
Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie, is an epic poem by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published in 1847. The poem follows an Acadian girl named Evangeline and her search for her lost love Gabriel, set during the time of the Expulsion of the Acadians.
The idea for the poem came from Longfellow's friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Longfellow used dactylic hexameter, imitated from Greek and Latin classics, though the choice was criticized. It was published in 1847 and became Longfellow's most famous work in his lifetime. It remains one of his most popular and enduring works.
The poem had a powerful effect in defining both Acadian history and identity in the nineteenth and twentieth century. More recent scholarship has revealed the historical errors in the poem and the complexity of the Expulsion and those involved, which the poem ignores.
Evangeline describes the betrothal of a fictional Acadian girl named Evangeline Bellefontaine to her beloved, Gabriel Lajeunesse, and their separation as the British deport the Acadians from Acadie in the Great Upheaval. The poem then follows Evangeline across the landscapes of America as she spends years in a search for him, at some times being
Jnanappana is a devotional poem written by the 16th century Malayalam poet Poonthanam. This poem written as a devotional prayer to Guruvayoorappan is considered as an important work in Malayalam literature. Written in simple Malayalam, the Jnanappana was Poonthanam's magnum opus and is an important work of Bhakti literature from Kerala and is revered for its poetic merit and intensity of devotion.
Jnanappana can be considered as the Bhagavad Gita of Malayalees. This is a darshanika kavyam or philosophical poem expressed in simple Malayalam for ordinary people. The Jnanappana is noted for its literary quality, the use of simple phrases, its philosophical strength and reflects Poonthanam's deep bhakti to Guruvayoorappan. Jnanappana consists of 360 lines of verse written in the pana metre of Malayalam poetry. The Jnanappana is noted for its use of opposing images through which Poonthanam draws out the cosmic acts of Krishna through the web of karma.
In the Jnanappana, Poonthanam Namboothiri, an ardent devotee of Shri Guruvayurappan, transforms his unbearable sorrow from his infant son’s death into a yogavishesham. He used this sad experience to build his Bhakti soudham or house of
"The Absent-Minded Beggar" is an 1899 poem by Rudyard Kipling, set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan and often accompanied by an illustration by Richard Caton Woodville. The song was written as part of an appeal by the Daily Mail to raise money for soldiers fighting in the South African War (sometimes known as the Boer War) and their families. The fund was the first such charitable effort for a war.
The chorus of the song exhorted its audience to "pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay— pay— pay!" The patriotic poem and song caused a sensation and were constantly performed throughout the war and beyond. Kipling was offered a knighthood shortly after publication of the poem but declined the honour. Vast numbers of copies of the poem and sheet music were published, and large quantities of related merchandise were sold to aid the charity. The "Absent-Minded Beggar Fund" was an unprecedented success and raised a total of more than £250,000.
In September 1899, it was clear that the crisis in South Africa was likely to turn into war. By 2 October, all military leave had been cancelled, and urgent preparations were under way to send a large expeditionary force to the Cape, with horses
The Ballad of the White Horse is a poem by G. K. Chesterton about the idealized exploits of the Saxon King Alfred the Great, published in 1911. Written in ballad form, the work is usually considered one of the last great traditional epic poems ever written in the English language. The poem narrates how Alfred was able to defeat the invading Danes at the Battle of Ethandun under the auspices of God working through the agency of the Virgin Mary. In addition to being a narration of Alfred's military and political accomplishments, it is also considered a Catholic allegory. Chesterton incorporates a significant amount of philosophy into the basic structure of the story.
The poem consists of 2,684 lines of English verse. They are divided into stanzas, typically consisting of 4 to 6 lines each. The poem is based on the ballad stanza form, although the poem often departs significantly from it. Types of metrical feet are used more or less freely, although there is often basic repetition in a line. The rhyme scheme varies, often being ABCB or ABCCCB.
Chesterton begins his work with a note (in prose) declaring that the poem is not historical. He says that he has chosen to place
"The Blossom" is a poem by William Blake, published in Songs of Innocence in 1789.
This poem is full of cheerful images of life, such as the "leaves so green", and "happy blossom". The poem tells the tale of two different birds - a sparrow and a robin. The former is clearly content with its existence; whereas the latter is distraught with it, meaning the second stanza becomes full of negative, depressing images. This could be an attempt by Blake to portray the opinions of different groups of society - with one class (assumedly the ruling classes) content with maintaining the Status Quo, and the other class unfair with the changes required - as Robins traditionally appear during the Winter, one could assume that it is upset at having the miss the exciting, lively critiques that occur with summer - such as Blossoms.
Another possible interpretation is a sexual one, where the poem represents the joy that can be found through innocent sexual love. The sparrow, seeking his cradle 'swift as an arrow' has been interpreted in a phallic sense, and demonstrates the innocence and joy of free love. The 'happy blossom' in this sense is therefore the female sexual organs, which is happy upon
The Song of Hiawatha is an 1855 epic poem, in trochaic tetrameter, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, featuring an Indian hero. It is loosely based on the legends and ethnography of the Ojibwe (Chippewa, Anishinaabeg) and other Native American peoples as contained in Algic Researches (1839) and additional writings by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an ethnographer and United States Indian agent. In sentiment, scope, overall conception, and many particulars, Longfellow's poem is very much a work of American Romantic literature, not a representation of Native American oral tradition. Longfellow insisted, "I can give chapter and verse for these legends. Their chief value is that they are Indian legends."
Longfellow had originally planned on following Schoolcraft in calling his hero Manabozho, the name in use at the time among the Ojibwe of the south shore of Lake Superior for a figure of their folklore, a trickster-transformer. But in his journal entry for June 28, 1854, he wrote, "Work at 'Manabozho;' or, as I think I shall call it, 'Hiawatha'—that being another name for the same personage." Hiawatha was not "another name for the same personage" (the mistaken identification of the trickster
Easter, 1916 is a poem by W. B. Yeats describing the poet's torn emotions regarding the events of the Easter Rising staged in Ireland against British rule on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916. The uprising was unsuccessful, and most of the Irish republican leaders involved were executed for treason. The poem was written between May and September 1916.
Although a committed nationalist, Yeats generally disapproved of violence as a means to securing Irish independence, and as a result had strained relations with some of the figures who eventually led the uprising. The deaths of these revolutionary figures at the hands of the British, however, were as much a shock to Yeats as they were to ordinary Irish people at the time, who did not expect the events to take a worse turn so soon. Yeats was working through his feelings about the revolutionary movement in this poem, and the insistent refrain that "a terrible beauty is born" turned out to be prescient, as the execution of the leaders of the Easter Rising by the British had the opposite effect to that intended. The brutal killings led to a reinvigoration of the Irish Republican movement rather than its dissipation. The initial social and
"Holy Thursday" is a poem by William Blake, first published in Songs of Innocence and Experience in 1794. This poem, unlike its companion poem in "Songs of Innocence" (1789), focuses more on society as a whole than the Holy Thursday ceremony.
The primary objective of this poem is to question social and moral injustice. In the first stanza, Blake contrasts the "rich and fruitful land" with the actions of a "cold and usurous hand" - thereby continuing his questioning of the virtue of a society where resources are abundant but children are still "reduced to misery".
"Holy" or "Maundy" Thursday refers to the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples as recorded in the New Testament. One particularly significant episode during that event was that of the master's foot washing - an act which signified the utmost humility in service. English monarchs and the wealthy traditionally used this festival for symbolic acts of charity: with the complementary poem in "Songs of Innocence", Blake pictures such an act, of which he appears to approve, carried out in St. Paul's Cathedral. However, our appreciation of the "wise guardians of the poor" thus advertising their charity may not be wholly shared
"Pioneers! O Pioneers!" is a poem by the American poet Walt Whitman. It was first published in Leaves of Grass in 1865. The poem was written as a tribute to Whitman's fervor for the great Westward expansion in the United States that led to things like the California Gold Rush and exploration of the far west.
Whitman's poem was written as an ode to the pioneers who had set out in search of a more fulfilling life by settling in the American West. Throughout the poem Whitman pays homage to the pioneers' courage and fearless choice to set out to find a brighter future. Whitman's use of elements such as allegory, and imagery, present his support for the pioneers and manifest destiny. The poem deals with perseverance and the enthusiasm towards exploration in America as compared to “Western youths” which refers to the young United States, and “Elder races” which refers to the European countries “shrouded bards of other lands” that once had the opportunity to explore the western territory. In the poem the myth of the west, which was incredibly important in the bringing up of the United States, acts as a continuum linking the past to the future; showing the potential of the new America. By
"Strange fits of passion have I known" is a seven-stanza poem ballad by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. Composed during a sojourn in Germany in 1798, the poem was first published in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800). The poem describes the poet's trip to his beloved Lucy's cottage, and his thoughts on the way. Each of its seven stanzas is four lines long and has a rhyming scheme of a-b-a-b. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter.
In the poem, the speaker narrates a nighttime ride to the cottage of his beloved Lucy, who always looks as "fresh as a rose in June". The speaker begins by saying that he has experienced "strange fits of passion" and will recount them only to another lover ("in the Lover's ear alone, / What once to me befell."). In the five following stanzas, he recounts how he wended his way on horseback "beneath an evening-moon". He crossed a lea, passed through an orchard, and began to climb a hill, atop which was Lucy's cottage. As he "came near, and nearer still" to "Lucy's cot", the sinking moon appeared to follow suit. As he closely approaches the cottage, the moon vanishes from sight behind the roof. A morbid thought
The Angel in the House is a narrative poem by Coventry Patmore, first published in 1854 and expanded until 1862. Although largely ignored upon publication, it became enormously popular during the later 19th century and its influence continued well into the twentieth. The poem was an idealised account of Patmore's courtship of his first wife, Emily, whom he believed to be the perfect woman.
The poem is in two main parts, but was originally published in four instalments. The first was published with the main title in 1854. It was followed by "The Espousals" (1856), "Faithful for Ever" (1860), and "The Victories of Love" (1862). The latter two instalments are effectively a separate poem, related to the main text.
The first two instalments form a single coherent poem. It begins with a preface in which the poet, called Felix Vaughan in the book, tells his wife that he is going to write a long poem about her. The narrative then begins with an account of the poet's youth when he meets Honoria Churchill, the woman who is to become his wife. It proceeds in a series of short lyrics, representing Felix's reflections on his beloved, and on the nature of ideal femininity. There are also lyrics
"The Famous Tay Whale" is a poem by William Topaz McGonagall about a humpback whale hunted and killed in 1883 in the Firth of Tay near Dundee, Scotland, then the UK's main whaling port. The Tay whale came to public prominence when it was subject to a public dissection by Sir John Struthers and taken on a tour of the UK. Its skeleton now resides in the McManus Galleries in Dundee city centre.
McGonagall's poem was set to music by the composer Mátyás Seiber in 1958. The premiere performance of this work – scored for orchestra, foghorn, espresso coffee machine and narrator – took place at the second of Gerard Hoffnung's music festivals, with Edith Evans in the role of the narrator.
"The New Colossus" is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus (1849–1887), written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
This poem was written as a donation to an auction of art and literary works conducted by the "Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty", the aim of which was to raise money for the pedestal's construction The contribution was solicited by fundraiser William Maxwell Evarts. Initially Lazarus refused, but Constance Cary Harrison convinced her that the statue would be of great significance to immigrants sailing into the harbor.
"The New Colossus" was the only entry read at the exhibit's opening, but was forgotten and played no role at the opening of the statue in 1886. In 1901, Lazarus's friend Georgina Schuyler began an effort to memorialize Lazarus and her poem, which succeeded in 1903 when a plaque bearing the text of the poem was mounted on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
The line "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" has read "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" on the plaque hanging inside the Statue of
"To Autumn" is a poem by English Romantic poet John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821). The work was composed on 19 September 1819 and published in 1820 in a volume of Keats's poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of Saint Agnes. "To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes". Although he had little time throughout 1819 to devote to poetry because of personal problems, he composed "To Autumn" after a walk near Winchester one autumnal evening. The work marks the end of his poetic career as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A little over a year following the publication of "To Autumn", Keats died in Rome.
The poem has three eleven-line stanzas which describe a progression through the season, from the late maturation of the crops to the harvest and to the last days of autumn when winter is nearing. The imagery is richly achieved through the personification of Autumn, and the description of its bounty, its sights and sounds. It has parallels in the work of English landscape artists, with Keats himself describing the fields of stubble that he saw on his walk as being like that in a
Venus and Adonis is a poem by William Shakespeare, written in 1592–1593, with a plot based on passages from Ovid's Metamorphoses. It is a complex, kaleidoscopic work, using constantly shifting tone and perspective to present contrasting views of the nature of love.
Venus and Adonis was entered into the Stationers' Register on 18 April 1593; the poem appeared later that year in a quarto edition, published and printed by Richard Field, a Stratford-upon-Avon man and a close contemporary of Shakespeare. Field released a second quarto in 1594, then transferred his copyright to John Harrison ("the Elder"), the stationer who published the first edition of The Rape of Lucrece, also in 1594. Subsequent editions of Venus and Adonis were in octavo format rather than quarto; Harrison issued the third edition (O1) probably in 1595, and the fourth (O2) in 1596 (both of Harrison's editions were printed by Field). The poem's copyright then passed to William Leake, who published two editions (O3, O4) in 1599 alone, with perhaps four (O5, O6, O7, and O8) in 1602. The copyright passed to William Barrett in 1617; Barrett issued O9 that same year. Five more editions appeared by 1640 – making the poem,
Façade is a series of poems by Edith Sitwell, best known as part of Façade – An Entertainment in which the poems are recited over an instrumental accompaniment by William Walton. The poems and the music exist in several versions.
Sitwell began to publish some of the Façade poems in 1918, in the literary magazine Wheels. In 1922 many of them were given an orchestral accompaniment by Walton, Sitwell's protégé. The "entertainment" was first performed in public in 1923, and achieved both fame and notoriety for its unconventional form. Walton arranged two suites of his music for full orchestra. When Frederick Ashton made a ballet of Façade in 1931, Sitwell did not wish her poems to be part of it, and the orchestral suites were used.
After Sitwell's death, Walton published supplementary versions of Façade for speaker and small ensemble using numbers dropped between the premiere and the publication of the full score in 1951.
Façade exists in several strongly contrasted versions, principally:
It is sometimes said that the Façade verses are nonsense poetry, in the tradition of Edward Lear. This, however, is incorrect; despite the experiments with sound and rhythm, there is meaning in
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) is a long poem by Ezra Pound. It has been regarded as a turning point in Pound's career (by F.R. Leavis and others), and its completion was swiftly followed by his departure from England. The name "Selwyn" might have been an homage to Rhymers' Club member Selwyn Image. The name and personality of the titular subject is also reminiscent of T. S. Eliot's main character in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
The poem comprises eighteen short poems which are grouped into two sections. The first is a capsule biography of Ezra Pound himself, as indicated by the title of the first poem, which reads "E.P. Ode pour l'élection de son sépulchre" ("Ezra Pound: Ode for the Choice of His Sepulchre"). The second section introduces us to the struggling poet Mauberley's character, career and fate. Readers have been misled by the fact that Pound assigns to every poem a title or, alternatively, a number. Thus poem I, "E.P. Ode pour l'Election de Son Sépulchre", is followed by poems II-V, that are numbered, while poems VI to IX are again given individual titles. As a consequence, in some websites poems II-V are reprinted as if they were parts II-V of "E.P. Ode". They are
"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (also commonly known as "Daffodils" or "The Daffodils") is a lyric poem by William Wordsworth.
It was inspired by an event on April 15, 1802, in which Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, came across a "long belt" of daffodils. Written at some time between 1804 and 1807 (in 1804 on Wordsworth's own account), it was first published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volumes, and a revised version was published in 1815. It is written in six-line stanzas with an ababcc rhyme scheme, as in the Venus and Adonis stanza of Shakespeare but in tetrameters rather than pentameters.
It is generally considered Wordsworth's most famous work. In the "Nation's Favourite Poems", a poll carried out by the BBC's Bookworm, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" came fifth. Often anthologised, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" is commonly seen as a classic of English romanticism within poetry, although Poems in Two Volumes was poorly reviewed by Wordsworth's contemporaries.
The inspiration for the poem came from a walk he took with his sister Dorothy around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, in the Lake District. Wordsworth would draw on this to compose "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" in 1804. It was
Infant Sorrow is a poem by William Blake from Songs of Experience.
""My mother groan'd! my father wept.
Into the dangerous world I leapt.
Helpless, naked, piping loud;
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.
Struggling in my father's hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands;
Bound and weary I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's breast.""
One thing that generally goes unnoticed in this poem is the use of the past tense to describe this birth. The speaker is no longer a baby: he has had some experience of the dangerous world and he turns back to see the dreadful moment when - like a fiend, not like an angel - he came to life. The verb leapt suggests his exhausted mother\'s last push after a painful labour, with no tender arms to take and cuddle this creature. The baby found itself half stifled with the poor bandage wrapped around its tiny body and its father\'s hands to hold him tight. He tried to free himself, as hard as he could, but his attempt was vain and in the end he could only surrender and \"sulk upon ... mother\'s breast\". The struggle is symbolical of any attempt of contrasting tyrannical oppressive power (the father, the institutions, the church itself...) and the
London is a poem by William Blake, published in Songs of Experience in 1794. It is one of the few poems in Songs of Experience which does not have a corresponding poem in Songs of Innocence.
As with most of Blake's poetry, there are several critical interpretations of London. The most common interpretation, favored by critics such as Camille Paglia and E. P. Thompson, holds that London is primarily a social protest. A less frequently held view is that of Harold Bloom; that London primarily is Blake's response to the tradition of Biblical prophecy.
The use of the word 'Chartered' is ambiguous and portrays control and ownership. It may express the political and economic control that Blake considered London to be enduring at the time of his writing. Blake's friend Thomas Paine had criticised the granting of Royal Charters to control trade as a form of class oppression. However, 'chartered' could also mean 'freighted', and may refer to the busy or overburdened streets and river, or to the licenced trade carried on within them.
In Thompson's view, Blake was an unorthodox Christian of the dissenting tradition, who felt that the state was abandoning those in need. He was heavily
Man Jiang Hong (simplified Chinese: 满江红; traditional Chinese: 滿江紅; pinyin: Mǎn Jīang Hóng; literally "all are red in the river") is the title of a set of Chinese lyrical poems sharing the same pattern. If unspecified, it most often refers to the one normally attributed to Song Dynasty general Yue Fei. However, the commonly accepted authorship of that particular poem has been disputed.
The common belief is that Yue Fei wrote the poem in 1133 at the age of 30 after the capture of the Song Dynasty emperors Qinzong and Huizong by forces of the Jurchen-led Jin Dynasty (known as the "Humiliation of Jingkang" as mentioned in the poem) alongside Emperor Gaozong's retreat to present-day Hangzhou in 1127 and the subsequent formation of the Southern Song Dynasty.
However, Princeton University history professor James T.C. Liu states that Yue's version was actually written by a different person during the early 16th century. The poem was not included in the collected works of Yue Fei compiled by Yue's grandson, the poet and historian, Yue Ke (岳柯, 1183 - post 1234). And it was never mentioned in any major works written prior to the Ming Dynasty. The section that states the author's wish "to
Milton is an epic poem by William Blake, written and illustrated between 1804 and 1810. Its hero is John Milton, who returns from Heaven and unites with Blake to explore the relationship between living writers and their predecessors, and to undergo a mystical journey to correct his own spiritual errors.
Milton was Blake's longest published poem to date, and was printed in Blake's characteristic combination of etched text and illustration supplemented by watercolour.
The preface to Milton includes the poem "And did those feet in ancient time", which became the lyrics for the hymn "Jerusalem". The poem appears after a long prose attack on the influence of Greek and Roman culture, which is unfavourably contrasted with "the sublime of the Bible".
The poem is divided into two "books".
Book I opens with an epic invocation to the muses, drawing on the classical models of Homer and Virgil, and also used by John Milton in Paradise Lost. However, Blake describes inspiration in bodily terms, vitalising the nerves of his arm. Blake goes on to describe the activities of Los, one of his mythological characters, who creates a complex universe from within which other Blakean characters debate the
The Dunciad /ˈdʌnsi.æd/ is a landmark literary satire by Alexander Pope published in three different versions at different times. The first version (the "three book" Dunciad) was published in 1728 anonymously. The second version, the Dunciad Variorum was published anonymously in 1729. The New Dunciad, in four books and with a different hero, appeared in 1743. The poem celebrates the goddess Dulness and the progress of her chosen agents as they bring decay, imbecility, and tastelessness to the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Pope told Joseph Spence (in Spence's Anecdotes) that he had been working on a general satire of Dulness, with characters of contemporary scribblers, for some time and that it was the publication of Shakespeare Restored by Lewis Theobald that spurred him to complete the poem and publish it in 1728. Theobald's edition of Shakespeare was not, however, as imperfect as The Dunciad would suggest; it was, in fact, far superior to the edition Pope had himself written in 1725. Pope's underlying reason for the satire then was retaliation against the full title of Theobald's edition: Shakespeare restored, or, A specimen of the many errors, as well committed, as unamended, by Mr.
"The Man from Snowy River" is a poem by Australian bush poet Banjo Paterson. It was first published in The Bulletin, an Australian news magazine, on 26 April 1890.
The poem tells the story of a horseback pursuit to recapture the colt of a prizewinning racehorse that escaped from its paddock and is living wild with the brumbies (wild horses) of the mountain ranges. Eventually the brumbies descend a seemingly impassably steep slope, at which point the assembled riders give up the pursuit, except the young hero, who spurs his pony down the "terrible descent" to catch the mob.
Two characters mentioned in the early part of the poem are featured in previous Paterson poems; "Clancy of the Overflow" and Harrison from "Old Pardon, Son of Reprieve".
It is recorded in the selected works of "Banjo" Paterson that the location of the ride fictionalised in the poem was in the region of today's Burrinjuck Dam, north-west of Canberra in Australian Capital Territory. Paterson had helped round up brumbies as a child and later owned property in this region.
The Snowy River, from where "the Man" comes, has its headwaters in the Snowy Mountains, the highest section of the Great Dividing Range near the
"The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore". The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references.
Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay "The Philosophy of Composition". The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett's poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship", and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout.
"The Raven" was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on
The Revolt of Islam (1818) is a poem in twelve cantos composed by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1817. The poem was originally published under the title Laon and Cythna; or, The Revolution of the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century by Charles and James Ollier in December, 1817. Shelley composed the work in the vicinity of Bisham Wood, near Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire, northwest of London, from April to September. The plot centres on two characters named Laon and Cythna who initiate a revolution against the despotic ruler of the fictional state of Argolis, modeled on the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Despite its title, the poem has nothing to do with Islam in particular, though the general subject of religion is addressed. The work is a symbolic parable on liberation and revolutionary idealism following the disillusionment of the French Revolution.
In The Revolt of Islam, A Poem, in Twelve Cantos (1818), consisting of 4,818 lines, Shelley returned to the social and political themes of Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem (1813). The poem is in Spenserian stanzas with each stanza containing nine lines in total: eight lines in iambic pentameter followed by a single Alexandrine
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (German: Der Zauberlehrling) is a poem by Goethe, written in 1797. The poem is a ballad in fourteen stanzas.
The poem begins as an old sorcerer departs his workshop, leaving his apprentice with chores to perform. Tired of fetching water by pail, the apprentice enchants a broom to do the work for him — using magic in which he is not yet fully trained. The floor is soon awash with water, and the apprentice realizes that he cannot stop the broom because he does not know how.
Not knowing how to control the enchanted broom, the apprentice splits it in two with an axe, but each of the pieces becomes a new broom and takes up a pail and continues fetching water, now at twice the speed. When all seems lost, the old sorcerer returns, quickly breaks the spell and saves the day. The poem finishes with the old sorcerer's statement that powerful spirits should only be called by the master himself.
Der Zauberlehrling is well known in the German-speaking world. The lines in which the apprentice implores the returning sorcerer to help him with the mess he has created have turned into a cliché, especially the line Die Geister, die ich rief ("The spirits that I called"), a
Eureka (1848) is a lengthy non-fiction work by American author Edgar Allan Poe which he subtitled "A Prose Poem", though it has also been subtitled as "An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe". Adapted from a lecture he had presented, Eureka describes Poe's intuitive conception of the nature of the universe with no scientific work done to reach his conclusions. He also discusses man's relationship with God, whom he compares to an author. It is dedicated to the German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Though it is generally considered a literary work, some of Poe's ideas anticipate discoveries of the 20th century. Indeed a critical analysis of the scientific content of Eureka reveals a non-causal correspondence with modern cosmology due to the assumption of an evolving Universe, but excludes the anachronistic anticipation of relativistic concepts such as black holes.
Eureka was received poorly in Poe's day and generally described as absurd, even by friends. Modern critics continue to debate the significance of Eureka and some doubt its seriousness, in part because of Poe's many incorrect assumptions and his comedic descriptions of well-known historical minds.
The Lantingji Xu (simplified Chinese: 兰亭集序; traditional Chinese: 蘭亭集序; pinyin: Lántíngjí Xù; Wade–Giles: Lant'ingchi Hsü; literally "Preface to the Poems Collected from the Orchid Pavilion") or Lanting Xu (蘭亭序) is a famous work of calligraphy by Wang Xizhi, composed in year 353. Written in semi-cursive script, it is among the most well-known and well-copied pieces of calligraphy in Chinese history. This work began as the preface to a collection of poetry seminal to the Chinese nature poetry movement, but developed somewhat of a life of its own: it describes the event during that year's Spring Purification Festival; in which, 42 literati including Xie An and Sun Chuo were present at a gathering at the Orchid Pavilion near Shaoxing, Zhejiang, at which they to composed poems, played music, and enjoyed the wine. The gentlemen engaged in a drinking contest: wine cups were floated down a small winding creek as the men sat along its banks; whenever a cup stopped, the man closest to the cup was required to empty it and write a poem. In the end, twenty-six of the participants composed thirty-seven poems.
The preface consists of 324 Chinese characters in 28 lines. The character zhī (之)
"O Captain! My Captain!" is an extended metaphor poem written in 1865 by Walt Whitman, concerning the death of American president Abraham Lincoln.
Walt Whitman wrote the poem after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Repeated metaphorical reference is made to this issue throughout the verse. The "ship" spoken of is intended to represent the United States of America, while its "fearful trip" recalls the troubles of the American Civil War. The title role "Captain" is Lincoln himself.
With a conventional meter and rhyme scheme that is unusual for Whitman, it was the only poem anthologized during Whitman's lifetime. Many articles of the time stated that Whitman was planning to change his writing style, and after reading this poem, they were shocked with his counter-attack on the media. This was the only poem that he had ever written like this.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
In 1996, Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer translated the poem to Hebrew and wrote music for it. This was done in
The "Ode on Indolence" is one of five odes composed by English poet John Keats in the spring of 1819. The others were "Ode on a Grecian Urn", "Ode on Melancholy", "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode to Psyche". The poem describes the state of indolence, otherwise known as laziness, and was written during a time when he felt that he should devote his efforts to earning an income instead of composing poetry. After finishing the spring poems, Keats wrote in June 1819 that its composition brought him more pleasure than anything else he had written that year. Unlike the other odes he wrote that year, "Ode on Indolence" was not published until 1848, 27 years after his death.
The poem is an example of Keats's break from the structure of the classical form. It follows the poet's contemplation of a morning spent in idleness. Three figures are presented—Ambition, Love and Poesy — dressed in "placid sandals" and "white robes". The narrator examines each using a series of questions and statements on life and art. The poem concludes with the narrator giving up on having all three of the figures as part of his life. Some critics regard "Ode on Indolence" as inferior to the other four 1819 odes.
"Ode to a Nightingale" is a poem by John Keats written in May 1819 in either the garden of the Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, or, as according to Keats' friend Charles Armitage Brown, under a plum tree in the garden of Keats House, Hampstead, London. According to Brown, a nightingale had built its nest near his home in the spring of 1819. Inspired by the bird's song, Keats composed the poem in one day. It soon became one of his 1819 odes and was first published in Annals of the Fine Arts the following July. "Ode to a Nightingale" is a personal poem that describes Keats's journey into the state of Negative Capability. The tone of the poem rejects the optimistic pursuit of pleasure found within Keats's earlier poems, and it explores the themes of nature, transience and mortality, the latter being particularly personal to Keats.
The nightingale described within the poem experiences a type of death but it does not actually die. Instead, the songbird is capable of living through its song, which is a fate that humans cannot expect. The poem ends with an acceptance that pleasure cannot last and that death is an inevitable part of life. In the poem, Keats imagines the loss of the physical world
"Pole and Hungarian cousins be" (the Polish version) and "Pole and Hungarian, two good friends" (a Hungarian version) are respective forms of a popular bilingual proverb concerning the historic friendship between the Polish and Hungarian peoples.
A full Polish text of the proverb is:
—which may be rendered:
A full Hungarian text of the proverb is:
—which may be rendered:
—or, without the contrivance and rigidity of rhyme, meter, or syllable-count, but translated word-by-word:
The Polish version of the proverb comprises two couplets, each of the four lines consisting of 8 syllables; the Hungarian version comprises a single couplet, each of the two lines also consisting of 8 syllables.
In the Polish version, "bratanki" means "nephews (one's brother's sons)", but at one time "bratanek" (the singular) may have been a diminutive for "brother" ("brat"). This Polish expression differs in meaning from the Hungarian version's "barát" ("friend"), though the two words look much alike.
The Polish version given above is the one most commonly quoted by Poles today. In Hungarian, there are a total of 10 versions, each a couplet of the same general meaning, and most again comprising 8
Psalm 100 (Greek numbering: Psalm 99) is part of the biblical Book of Psalms. It may be used as a canticle in the Anglican liturgy of Morning Prayer, when it is referred to by its incipit as the Jubilate or Jubilate Deo. It also constitutes the bulk of the first movement of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.
According to Professor William Schniedewind from UCLA, Psalm 100 was also part of the liturgy of the ancient Jerusalem temple and was reused in later Psalms and prophetic texts, particularly the ambiguous verse 3.
Psalm 100 (Hebrew: מזמור לתודה, Mizmor Letoda) is part of the daily prayer service, recited as part of the Songs of thanksgiving in Pesukei Dezimra, except on Shabbat, festivals, Chol HaMoed of Pesach, and the days before Yom Kippur and Pesach. Psalm 100 is representative of the Thanksgiving offering, which thanks God for having been saved from dangers we face every day. A person always faces danger in his daily routine, even though he may be unaware of it.
Psalm 100 is omitted on Shabbat and Yom Tov because the Thanksgiving offering was not offered on these days in the Temple; only communal offerings were brought on these days. the day before and during Pesach
"Song of Myself" is a poem by Walt Whitman that is included in his work Leaves of Grass. It has been credited as “representing the core of Whitman’s poetic vision.”
The poem was first published without sections as the first of twelve untitled poems in the first (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass. The first edition was published by Whitman at his own expense.
In the second (1856) edition, Whitman used the title "Poem of Walt Whitman, an American,” which was shortened to “Walt Whitman” for the third (1860) edition.
The poem was divided into fifty-two numbered sections for the fourth (1867) edition and finally took on the title “Song of Myself” in the last edition (1881-2).
Following its 1855 publication, “Song of Myself” was immediately singled out by critics and readers for particular attention, and today, remains among the most acclaimed and influential poems written by an American.
In 1855, the Christian Spiritualist gave a long, glowing review of “Song of Myself”, praising Whitman for representing “a new poetic mediumship,” which through active imagination sensed the “influx of spirit and the divine breath.” Ralph Waldo Emerson also wrote a letter to Whitman, praising his work for
A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle is a long poem by Hugh MacDiarmid written in Scots and published in 1926. It is composed as a form of monologue with influences from stream of consciousness genres of writing. A poem of extremes, it ranges between comic and serious modes and examines a wide range of cultural, sexual, political, scientific, existential, metaphysical and cosmic themes, ultimately unified through one consistent central thread, the poet's emotionally and intellectually charged contemplation, from a male perspective, of the condition of Scotland. It also includes extended and complex responses to figures from European and Russian literature, in particular Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, as well as referencing topical events and personalities of the mid 1920s such as Isadora Duncan or the UK General Strike of 1926. It is one of the major modernist literary works of the 20th century.
The Scots poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle is an extended montage of distinct poems, or sections in various poetic forms, that are connected or juxtaposed to create one emotionally continuous whole in a way which both develops and consciously parodies compositional techniques used by poets such
"Bisclavret" ("The Werewolf") is one of the twelve Lais of Marie de France written in the 12th century. Originally written in French, it tells the story of a werewolf who is trapped in lupine form by the treachery of his wife. The tale was popular and was reworked as The Lay of Melion, and is probably referenced in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
Marie de France claimed that she translated this lay, as well as the other eleven she wrote, from the Breton language, in which she claimed to have heard them performed. There have been many translations of her work into the English language, the translation linked below was done by Eugene Mason.
Bisclavret, a baron in Brittany who is well loved by the king, vanishes every week for three full days. No one in his household, not even his wife, knows where he goes. His wife finally begs him to tell her his secret, and he explains that he is a werewolf. He says also that while in werewolf form he needs to hide his clothing in a safe place so he can return to human form. The baron's wife is so shocked by this news that she tries to think of ways she can escape her husband. She no longer wants to "lie beside him anymore." She conspires
"Namárië" is a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien written in Quenya, a constructed language, and published for the first time in The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter "Farewell to Lórien"). It has the subtitle "Galadriel's Lament in Lórien", which in Quenya is Altariello nainië Lóriendessë. The poem appears only in one other book by Tolkien, The Road Goes Ever On.
The Quenya word namárië is a reduced form of á na márië, meaning literally "be well", an Elvish formula used for greeting and for farewell.
"Namárië" is the longest Quenya text in the The Lord of the Rings and also one of the longest continuous texts in Quenya that was ever written by Tolkien. It was rewritten many times by Tolkien before it reached the form that was published (see Early versions below). Many Tengwar versions were made by Tolkien. An English translation is provided in the book.
The first version of "Namárië" was published in The Treason of Isengard pp. 284–285. The text is in Quenya, but Tolkien did not provide a translation and some of the words are unlike those used in the final poem. Many words can be found in the Etymologies.
Although there are words that can be recognized by
The Classic of Poetry (traditional Chinese: 詩經; pinyin: Shījīng; Wade-Giles: Shih-ching), translated variously as the Book of Songs, the Book of Odes, and often known simply as its original name the Odes or Poetry (Chinese: 詩; pinyin: Shī), is the earliest existing collection of Chinese poems and songs. It comprises 305 poems and songs dating from the 10th to the 7th century BC. It forms part of the Five Classics. The Odes first became known as a jīng, or a "classic book", in the canonical sense, as part of the Han Dynasty official adoption of Confucianism as the guiding principles of Chinese society. The word shi is the same word that later became a generic term for poetry. In English, lacking an exact equivalent for the Chinese, the translation of the word shi in this regard is generally as "poem", "song", or "ode".
The Poetry is an anthology compiled from the works of various anonymous authorship. The various collected works are generally associated with specific chronological periods, such as the Zhou Dynasty, and/or associated with the specific states of that time period; however, many uncertainties exist, especially as to dates of the earliest poems.
According to tradition,
The Man With the Hoe is a famous poem written by Edwin Markham inspired by the painting L'homme à la houe by Jean-François Millet, which is currently in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum. The poem was first presented as a public poetry reading at a New Year's Eve party in 1898, and published soon afterwards. It evokes the laborings of much of humanity using the symbolism of a laborer leaning upon his hoe, burdened by his work, but receiving little rest or reward. It has been called "the battle-cry of the next thousand years" and translated into more than 30 languages.
The Man with the Hoe
"Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art" is the first line of a love sonnet by John Keats.
It is unclear when Keats first drafted "Bright Star"; his biographers suggest different dates. Andrew Motion suggests it was begun in October 1819. Robert Gittings states it was begun in April 1818 - before he met his beloved Fanny Brawne and then revised it for her. Colvin believed it to have been in the last week of February 1819, immediately after their informal engagement.
The final version of the sonnet was copied into a volume of The Poetical Works of William Shakespeare, opposite Shakespeare's poem, A Lover's Complaint. The book had been given to Keats in 1819 by John Hamilton Reynolds. Joseph Severn maintained that the last draft was transcribed into the book in late September 1820 while they were aboard the ship Maria Crowther, travelling to Rome, from where the very sick Keats would never return. The book also contains one sonnet by his friend Reynolds and one by Severn. Keats probably gave the book to Joseph Severn in January 1821 before his death in February, aged 25. Severn believed that it was Keats's last ever poem and that it had been composed especially for him.
"Eulalie," or "Eulalie - A Song," is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the July 1845 issue of The American Review and reprinted shortly thereafter in the August 9, 1845 issue of the Broadway Journal.
The poem is a bridal song about a man who overcomes his sadness by marrying the beautiful Eulalie. The woman's love here has a transformative effect on the narrator, taking him from a "world of moan" to one of happiness.
The poem utilizes Poe's frequent theme of "the death of a beautiful woman", which he considered to be "the most poetical topic in the world." The use of this theme has often been suggested to be autobiographical by Poe critics and biographers, stemming from the repeated loss of women throughout Poe's life, including his mother Eliza Poe and his foster mother Frances Allan. If autobiographical, "Eulalie" may be referring to Poe's relationship with his wife Virginia. It seems to express that she lifted his spirits and washed away his feelings of loneliness. After Virginia's death in 1847, Poe scribbled on a manuscript copy of "Eulalie" a couplet, now known as "Deep in Earth." It is unclear if Poe intended this to be part of "Eulalie," an unfinished new poem,
"Jabberwocky" is a nonsense verse poem written by Lewis Carroll in his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The book tells of Alice's adventures within the back-to-front world of a looking glass.
In a scene in which she is in conversation with the chess pieces White King and White Queen, Alice finds a book written in a seemingly unintelligible language. Realising that she is travelling through an inverted world, she recognises that the verse on the pages are written in mirror-writing. She holds a mirror to one of the poems, and reads the reflected verse of "Jabberwocky". She finds the nonsense verse as puzzling as the odd land she has walked into, later revealed as a dreamscape.
"Jabberwocky" is considered one of the greatest nonsense poems written in English. Its playful, whimsical language has given us nonsense words and neologisms such as "galumphing" and "chortle".
A decade before the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass, Carroll wrote the first stanza to what would become "Jabberwocky" while in Croft on Tees, close to nearby Darlington, where he lived
"Tamerlane" is an epic poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the 1827 collection Tamerlane and Other Poems. That collection, with only 50 copies printed, was not credited with the author's real name but by "A Bostonian." The poem's original version was 403 lines but trimmed down to 223 lines for its inclusion in Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems.
The poem itself follows a Turkic conqueror named Tamerlane. The name is a Latinized version of "Timur Lenk", the 14th century warlord, though the poem is not historically accurate.
Tamerlane ignores the young love he has for a peasant in order to achieve power. On his deathbed, he regrets this decision to create "a kingdom [in exchange] for a broken-heart." The peasant is named Ada in most of Poe's original version of the poem, though it is removed and re-added throughout its many revised versions. The name "Ada" is likely a reference to Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, a renowned poet whom Poe admired. In fact, the line "I reach'd my home -- my home no more" echoes a line in Byron's work "Don Juan."
The main themes of "Tamerlane" are independence and pride as well as loss and exile. Poe may have written the poem based
The Cantos by Ezra Pound is a long, incomplete poem in 120 sections, each of which is a canto. Most of it was written between 1915 and 1962, although much of the early work was abandoned and the early cantos, as finally published, date from 1922 onwards. It is a book-length work, widely considered to present formidable difficulties to the reader. The Cantos is generally considered one of the most significant works of modernist poetry in the 20th century. As in Pound's prose writing, the themes of economics, governance and culture are integral to the work's content.
The most striking feature of the text, to a casual browser, is the inclusion of Chinese characters as well as quotations in European languages other than English. Recourse to scholarly commentaries is almost inevitable for a close reader. The range of allusion to historical events is very broad, and abrupt changes occur with little transition. There is also wide geographical reference; Pound added to his earlier interests in the classical Mediterranean culture and East Asia selective topics from medieval and early modern Italy and Provence, the beginnings of the United States, England of the 17th century, and details
"To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" is a poem written by Robert Herrick in the 17th century. The poem is in the genre of carpe diem, Latin for seize the day. The opening stanza, one of his more famous, is as follows:
First published in 1648 in a volume of verse entitled Hesperides, it is perhaps one of the most famous poems to extol the notion of carpe diem. Carpe diem expresses a philosophy that recognizes the brevity of life and therefore the need to live for and in the moment. The phrase originates in Horace's Ode 1.11.
The opening line, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may", echoes the Latin phrase collige, virgo, rosas ("gather, girl, the roses"), which appears at the end of the poem "De rosis nascentibus," also called "Idyllium de rosis," attributed to Ausonius or Virgil.
A Lover's Complaint is a narrative poem published as an appendix to the original edition of Shakespeare's sonnets. It is given the title 'A Lover's Complaint' in the book, which was published by Thomas Thorpe in 1609. Although published in a book of Shakespeare's work, the poem's authorship is a matter of critical debate.
The poem consists of forty-seven seven-line stanzas written in the rhyme royal (with the rhyme scheme ababbcc), a metre and structure identical to that of Shakespeare's poem The Rape of Lucrece. In the poem, the speaker sees a young woman weeping at the edge of a river, into which she throws torn-up letters, rings, and other tokens of love. An old man asks the reason for her sorrow, and she responds by telling him of a former lover who pursued, seduced, and finally abandoned her. She concludes her story by conceding that she would fall for the young man's false charms again:
Despite its appearance in the published collection of the sonnets, critics have often doubted attribution to Shakespeare. A Lover's Complaint contains many words and forms not found elsewhere in Shakespeare, including several archaisms and Latinisms, and is sometimes regarded as rhythmically
"In a Station of the Metro" is an Imagist poem by Ezra Pound published in 1913 in the literary magazine Poetry. In the poem, Pound describes a moment in the underground metro station in Paris in 1912; Pound suggested that the faces of the individuals in the metro were best put into a poem not with a description but with an "equation". Because of the treatment of the subject's appearance by way of the poem's own visuality, it is considered a quintessential Imagist text.
The poem was reprinted in Pound's collection Lustra in 1917, and again in the 1926 anthology Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound, which compiled his early pre-Hugh Selwyn Mauberley works.
The poem contains only fourteen words, further exemplifying Imagism's precise economy of language. Pound was influential in the creation of Imagist poetry until he left the movement to embrace Vorticism in 1914. Pound, though briefly, embraced Imagism stating that it was an important step away from the verbose style of Victorian literature and suggested that it "is the sort of American stuff I can show here in Paris without its being ridiculed". "In a Station of the Metro" is an early work of Modernist poetry as it attempts
The Sequence of Saint Eulalia, also known as the Canticle of Saint Eulalia (French: Séquence or Cantilène de sainte Eulalie) is the earliest surviving piece of French hagiography and one of the earliest extant texts in vernacular langue d'oïl. It dates from around 880.
Saint Eulalia of Mérida was an early Christian martyr from Mérida, Spain, who was killed during Diocletian's repressions around 304. Her legend is recounted in the 29 verses of the Sequence, in which she resists pagan threats, bribery and torture from the pagan emperor Maximian. She miraculously survives being burned at the stake, but is finally decapitated. She then ascends to heaven in the form of a dove.
The Sequence was composed in verse around 880, soon after the rediscovery of the relics of a saint of the same name, Saint Eulalia of Barcelona, in 878.
The manuscript containing the Sequence is a collection of sermons by Gregory of Nazianzus. It is first mentioned in a 12th century catalog of the library of Saint-Amand Abbey, although the production of the manuscript has been dated to the early 9th century. It is not known with certainty where it was produced. B. Bischoff suggests that it came from a scriptorium
The Song of Roland (French: La Chanson de Roland) is a heroic poem based on the Battle of Roncesvalles in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. It is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. It exists in various manuscript versions which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries. The oldest of these is the Oxford manuscript which contains a text of some 4,004 lines (the number varies slightly in different modern editions) and is usually dated to the middle of the twelfth century (between 1140 and 1170). The epic poem is the first and most outstanding example of the chanson de geste, a literary form that flourished between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries and celebrated the legendary deeds of a hero.
There are nine extant manuscripts of the Song of Roland in Old French. The oldest of these manuscripts is held at the Bodleian Library at Oxford. This copy dates between 1140 and 1170 and was written in Anglo-Norman.
Scholars estimate that the poem was written between approximately 1040 and 1115, and most of the alterations were performed by about 1098. Some favor an earlier dating, because it allows one to say that the poem was
"Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey" (often abbreviated to "Tintern Abbey", or simply "Lines") is a poem by William Wordsworth. Tintern Abbey is located in the southern Welsh county of Monmouthshire, and was abandoned in 1536. The poem is of particular interest in that Wordsworth's descriptions of the banks of the River Wye outline his general philosophies on nature.
It also has significance as the terminal poem of the 1798 edition of Lyrical Ballads, although it does not fit well into the titular category, being more protracted and elaborate than its predecessors. The poem's full title, as given in Lyrical Ballads, is "Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour, July 13, 1798".
"I cannot paint/ What then I was," Wordsworth writes, reflecting and almost puzzling over his "boyish days" when the natural world of Tintern Abbey was to him an unmixed "passion" and a "feeling" that had no need of "any interest/ Unborrowed from the eye." Yet the poet insists that age compensates for this loss of thoughtless passion by giving him instead a sense of the sublimity of nature, of "something far more deeply interfused," and here
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance. It is one of the better-known Arthurian stories, of an established type known as the "beheading game". Written in bob and wheel stanzas, it emerges from Welsh, Irish and English tradition and highlights the importance of honour and chivalry. It is an important poem in the romance genre, which typically involves a hero who goes on a quest that tests his prowess, and it remains popular to this day in modern English renderings from J. R. R. Tolkien, Simon Armitage and others as well as through film and stage adaptations.
In it Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table, accepts a challenge from a mysterious "Green Knight" who challenges any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts and beheads him with his blow, at which the Green Knight stands up, picks up his head and reminds Gawain of the appointed time. In his struggles to keep his bargain Gawain demonstrates chivalry and loyalty until his honour is called into question by a test involving Lady Bertilak, the lady of the Green Knight's castle.
The ambiguity of the poem's ending
Sir Launfal is a 1045-line Middle English romance or Breton lay written by Thomas Chestre dating from the late-14th century. It is based primarily on the 538-line Middle English poem Sir Landevale, which in turn was based on Marie de France's lai Lanval, written in a form of French understood in the courts of both England and France in the 12th century. Sir Launfal retains the basic story told by Marie de France and retold in Sir Landevale, augmented with material from an Old French lai Graelent and a lost romance that possibly featured a giant named Sir Valentyne. This is in line with Thomas Chestre's eclectic way of creating his poetry.
In the tale, Sir Launfal is propelled from wealth and status – the steward at King Arthur's court – to being a pauper and a social outcast. He is not even invited to a feast in his home town of Caerleon in South Wales when the king visits, although Arthur knows nothing of this. Out in the forest alone, he meets with two damsels who take him to their mistress, the daughter of the King of Faerie. She gives him untold wealth and a magic bag in which money can always be found, on the condition that he becomes her lover. She will visit him whenever he
"The Stolen Child" is a poem by William Butler Yeats, published in 1889 in The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems.
The poem was written in 1886 and is considered to be one of Yeats's more notable early poems. The poem is based on Irish legend and concerns faeries beguiling a child to come away with them. Yeats had a great interest in Irish mythology about faeries resulting in his publication of Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry in 1888 and Fairy Folk Tales of Ireland in 1892.
The poem reflects the early influence of Romantic literature and Pre-Raphaelite verse.
The places mentioned in the poem are in Leitrim and Sligo where Yeats spent much of his childhood.
The poem was first published in the Irish Monthly in December 1886. The poem was then published in a compilation of work by several Irish poets Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland in 1888 with several critics praising the poem. It was later published in his first book of poetry The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems as well as Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry.
The poem was set to music and recorded by Loreena McKennitt on her 1985 debut album Elemental. Subsequently, additional musical versions were
"Ulalume" is a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1847. Much like a few of Poe's other poems (such as "The Raven", "Annabel Lee", and "Lenore"), "Ulalume" focuses on the narrator's loss of a beautiful woman due to her death. Poe originally wrote the poem as an elocution piece and, as such, the poem is known for its focus on sound. Additionally, it makes many allusions, especially to mythology, and the identity of Ulalume herself, if a real person, has been questioned.
The poem takes place on a night in the "lonesome October" with a gray sky as the leaves are withering for the autumn season. In the region of Weir, by the lake of Auber, the narrator roams with a "volcanic" heart. He has a "serious and sober" talk with his soul, though he does not realize it is October or where his roaming is leading him. He remarks on the stars as night fades away, remarking on the brightest one, and wonders if it knows that the tears on his cheeks have not yet dried. His soul, however, mistrusts the star and where it is leading them. Just as the narrator calms his soul, he realizes he unconsciously has walked to the vault of his "lost Ulalume" on the very night he had buried her one year
Darkness is a poem written by Lord Byron in July 1816. That year was known as the Year Without a Summer - this is because Mount Tambora had erupted in the Dutch East Indies the previous year, casting enough ash in to the atmosphere to block out the sun and cause abnormal weather across much of north-east America and northern Europe. This pall of darkness inspired Byron to write his poem. Literary critics were initially content to classify it as a "last man" poem, telling the apocalyptic story of the last man on earth. More recent critics have focused on the poem's historical context, as well as the anti-biblical nature of the poem, despite its many references to the Bible. The poem was written only months after the end of Byron's marriage to Anne Isabella Milbanke.
Byron's poem was written during the Romantic period. During this period, several events occurred which resembled (to some) the biblical signs of the apocalypse. Many authors at the time saw themselves as prophets with a duty to warn others about their impending doom. However, at the same time period, many were questioning their faith in a loving God, due to recent fossil discoveries revealing records of the deaths of
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep is a poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye. Although the origin of the poem was disputed until later in her life, Mary Frye's authorship was confirmed in 1998 after research by Abigail Van Buren, a newspaper columnist.
The "definitive version," as published by The Times and The Sunday Times in Frye's obituary, 5 November 2004:
Mary Frye, who was living in Baltimore at the time, wrote the poem in 1932. She had never written any poetry, but the plight of a young German Jewish woman, Margaret Schwarzkopf, who was staying with her and her husband, inspired the poem. She wrote it down on a brown paper shopping bag. Margaret Schwarzkopf had been concerned about her mother, who was ill in Germany, but she had been warned not to return home because of increasing anti-Semitic unrest. When her mother died, the heartbroken young woman told Frye that she never had the chance to “stand by my mother’s grave and shed a tear”. Frye found herself composing a piece of verse on a brown paper shopping bag. Later she said that the words “just came to her” and expressed what she felt about life and death. Mary Frye circulated the poem privately. Because she never
The Dream of the Rood is one of the earliest Christian poems in the corpus of Old English literature and an example of the genre of dream poetry. Like most Old English poetry, it is written in alliterative verse. Rood is from the Old English word rod 'pole', or more specifically 'crucifix'. Preserved in the 10th century Vercelli Book, the poem may be considerably older, even one of the oldest works of Old English literature.
There are sections from “The Dream of the Rood” that are found on the Ruthwell Cross that dates back to the 8th century. It was an 18 foot, free standing, Anglo-Saxon Cross, perhaps intended as a "conversion tool". At each side of the vine-tracery the runes are carved. On the cross there is an excerpt that was written in runes along with scenes of Jesus healing the blind, the annunciation, and the story of Egypt. Although it was torn down and destroyed during initial Protestant revolt, it was reconstructed as much as possible after the fear of iconography passed. Fortunately during that time of religious unrest, those words that were in the runes were still protected in the Vercelli Book, so called because the book is kept in Vercelli, Italy. The Vercelli Book
Hudibras is an English mock heroic narrative poem from the 17th century written by Samuel Butler.
The work is a satirical polemic upon Roundheads, Puritans, Presbyterians and many of the other factions involved in the English Civil War. The work was begun, according to the title page, during the civil war and published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678, with the first edition encompassing all three parts in 1684 (see 1684 in poetry). The Mercurius Aulicus (an early newspaper of the time) reported an unauthorised edition of the first part was already in print in early 1662.
Published only four years after Charles II had been restored to the throne and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell being completely over, the poem found an appreciative audience. The satire is not balanced as Butler was fiercely royalist and only the parliamentarian side are singled out for ridicule. Butler also uses the work to parody some of the dreadful poetry of the time.
The epic tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is described dramatically and with laudatory praise that is so thickly applied as to be absurd, and the conceited and arrogant person is visible beneath. He is praised for his
Love Among the Ruins is an 1855 poem by Robert Browning. It was included in his collection Men and Women, published that year. It is the first poem in the book.
Below is the first stanza:
Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles, Miles and miles On the solitary pastures where our sheep Half-asleep Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop As they crop--- Was the site once of a city great and gay, (So they say) Of our country's very capital, its prince Ages since Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far Peace or war.
Browning here employs an unusual structure of rhyming couplets in which long trochaic lines are paired with short lines of three syllables. This may be related to the theme of the poem, a comparison between love and material glory. The speaker, overlooking a pasture where sheep graze, recalls that once a great ancient city, his country's capital, stood there. After spending four stanzas describing the beauty and grandeur of the ancient city, the speaker says that "a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair/Waits me there", and that "she looks now, breathless, dumb/Till I come." The speaker, after musing further on the glory of the city and thinking
The Ormulum or Orrmulum is a twelfth-century work of biblical exegesis, written by a monk named Orm (or Ormin) and consisting of just under 19,000 lines of early Middle English verse. Because of the unique phonetic orthography adopted by its author, the work preserves many details of English pronunciation existing at a time when the language was in flux after the Norman Conquest. Consequently, it is invaluable to philologists in tracing the development of the language.
After a preface and dedication, the work consists of homilies explicating the biblical texts set for the mass throughout the liturgical year; it was intended to be consulted as the texts changed, and is agreed to be tedious and repetitive when read straight through. Only about a fifth of the promised material is in the single manuscript of the work to survive, which is in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Orm was concerned with priests' ability to speak the vernacular, and developed an idiosyncratic spelling system to guide his readers in the pronunciation of the vowels. He used a strict poetic metre to ensure that readers know which syllables are to be stressed. Modern scholars use these two features to reconstruct
"She Walks in Beauty" is a poem written in 1814 by Lord Byron. One of Lord Byron’s most famous, it is a lyric poem that describes a woman of much beauty and elegance. The poem appears to be told from the view point of third person omniscient. There are no hints as to the identity of the narrator, but it is believed that the narrator may be Byron himself. The poem is said to have been inspired by the vision of Byron’s cousin by marriage in a mourning gown. It was the first of several poems to be set to Jewish tunes from the synagogue by Isaac Nathan, which were published as Hebrew Melodies in 1815. The poem was performed by the Golden Goblets as a madrigal on Season 3 of Glee in the episode "On My Way". In 2008, a film "Disgrace" chose the poem as a main theme song in the film.
"She Walks in Beauty" was written by George Gordon Noel Byron, also known as Lord Byron, who was one of the most influential writers of his time. Byron was born on 22 January 1788 to Captain “Mad Jack” Byron and Catherine Gordon. After losing his father at a young age and inheriting the family title and estate, he went on to Harrow school, followed by an attendance to Cambridge. After leaving Cambridge, Byron
"The Little Girl Lost" is a poem written by the English poet William Blake. It was published as part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794. It is followed by "The Little Girl Found".
Texts on Wikisource:
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Along with other poems in Lyrical Ballads, it was a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of British Romantic literature.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner relates the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The Mariner stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The Wedding-Guest's reaction turns from bemusement to impatience and fear to fascination as the Mariner's story progresses, as can be seen in the language style: for example, Coleridge uses narrative techniques such as personification and repetition to create either a sense of danger, of the supernatural or of serenity, depending on the mood of each of the different parts of the poem.
The Mariner's tale begins with his ship departing on its journey. Despite initial good fortune, the ship is driven south off course by a storm and eventually
Y Gododdin (pronounced [ə ɡɔˈdɔðɪn]) is a medieval Welsh poem consisting of a series of elegies to the men of the Britonnic kingdom of Gododdin and its allies who, according to the conventional interpretation, died fighting the Angles of Deira and Bernicia at a place named Catraeth in ca. AD 600. It is traditionally ascribed to the bard Aneirin, and survives only in one manuscript, known as the Book of Aneirin.
The poem is recorded in a manuscript of the second half of the 13th century, and it has been dated to anywhere between the 7th and the early 11th centuries. The text is partly written in Middle Welsh orthography and partly in Old Welsh. The early date would place its oral composition to soon after the battle, presumably in the Hen Ogledd ("Old North") in what would have been the Cumbric variety of Brythonic. Others consider it the work of a poet in medieval Wales, composed in the 9th, 10th or 11th century. Even a 9th-century date would make it one of the oldest surviving Welsh works of poetry.
The Gododdin, known in Roman times as the Votadini, held territories in what is now southeast Scotland and Northumberland, part of the Hen Ogledd (Old North). The poem tells how a
'Tis the Voice of the Lobster is a poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in Chapter 10 of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As recited by Alice to the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, the first stanza describes a vain and stylish lobster who pretends not to fear sharks, but is in fact terrified by them. In the second stanza, an owl naively attempts to share a meat pie with a greedy panther. Although the poem's final line is left incomplete, the owl's unhappy fate is evident to the reader.
"'Tis the Voice of the Lobster" is a parody of "The Sluggard", a moralistic poem by Isaac Watts which was well known in Carroll's day. "The Sluggard" depicts the unsavory lifestyle of a slothful individual as a negative example. Carroll's lobster's corresponding vice is that he is weak and cannot back up his boasts, and is consequently easy prey. This fits the pattern of the predatory parody poems in the two Alice books.
Alice's recitation is suddenly interrupted by the Mock Turtle, who finds the poem "the most confusing thing I ever heard." It is generally assumed that the last words of the poem could be supplied as "— eating the Owl".
This poem is not to be conflated with a "Lobster Quadrille" that the
The "Lyke-Wake Dirge" is a traditional English song that tells of the soul's travel, and the hazards it faces, on its way from earth to purgatory. Though the song is from the Christian era and features references to Christianity much of the symbolism is thought to be of heathen origin.
The title refers to the watch over the dead between the death and funeral, known as a wake. "Lyke" is an obsolete word meaning a dead body, and is related to the German word leiche and the Dutch word lijk, which have the same meaning. It survives in modern English in the expression lychgate, the roofed gate at the entrance to a churchyard, where, in former times, bodies were placed before burial, and the fictional undead monster type lich. "Lyke-wake" could also be from the Norse influence on the Yorkshire dialect: the contemporary Norwegian and Swedish words for "wake" are still "likvake" and "likvaka" respectively ("lik" and "vaka"/"vake" with the same meanings as previously described for "lyke" and "wake").
The song is written in an old form of the Yorkshire dialect of Northern English. It goes:
The safety and comfort of the soul in faring over the hazards it faces in the afterlife, are in the old
The Aeneid ( /əˈniːɪd/; Latin: Aeneis [ajˈneːis]—the title is Greek in form: genitive case Aeneidos) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter. The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half tells of the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.
The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad, composed in the 8th century BC. Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas' wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or national epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, explained the Punic wars, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome
Le Spleen de Paris, also known as Paris Spleen or Petits Poèmes en prose, is a collection of 51 short prose poems by Charles Baudelaire. The collection was published posthumously in 1869 (see 1869) by Baudelaire's sister, and is associated with the modernist literary movement.
Baudelaire mentions he had read Aloysius Bertrand's Gaspard de la nuit (considered the first example of prose poetry) at least twenty times before starting this work. Though inspired by Bertrand, Baudelaire's prose poems were based on Parisian contemporary life instead of the medieval background which Bertrand employed. He told about his work: "These are the flowers of evil again, but with more freedom, much more detail, and much more mockery." Indeed, many of the themes and even titles from Baudelaire's earlier collection Les Fleurs du mal are revisited in this work.
These poems have no particular order, have no beginning and no end and they can be read like thoughts or short stories in a stream of consciousness style. The point of the poems is "to capture the beauty of life in the modern city," using what Jean-Paul Sartre has labeled as being his existential outlook on his surroundings.
Written twenty years
The Book of the Duchess, also known as The Deth of Blaunche is the earliest of Chaucer’s major poems, preceded only by his short poem, "An ABC," and possibly by his translation of The Romaunt of the Rose. Most sources put the date of composition after September 12, 1368 (when Blanche of Lancaster died) and 1372, with many recent studies privileging a date as early as the end of 1368.
Overwhelming (if disputed) evidence suggests that Chaucer wrote the poem to commemorate the death of Blanche of Lancaster, wife of John of Gaunt. The evidence includes handwritten notes from Elizabethan antiquary John Stowe indicating that the poem was written at John of Gaunt’s request. There are repeated instances of the word “White,” which is almost certainly a play on “Blanche.” In addition, at the end of the poem there are references to a 'long castel', suggesting the house of Lancaster (line 1318) and a 'ryche hil' as John of Gaunt was earl of Richmond (mond=hill) (line 1319) and the narrator swears by St John, which is John of Gaunt's saints name.
At the beginning of the poem, the sleepless poet lies in bed, reading a book. A collection of old stories, the book tells the story of Ceyx and
Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 is a sonnet by William Wordsworth describing London and the River Thames, viewed from Westminster Bridge in the early morning. It was first published in the collection Poems in Two Volumes in 1807.
The sonnet was originally dated 1803, but this was corrected in later editions and the date of composition given precisely as 31 July 1802, when Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy were travelling to Calais to visit Annette Vallon and his daughter Caroline by Annette, prior to his forthcoming marriage to Mary Hutchinson.
The sonnet has always been popular, escaping the generally excoriating reviews from critics such as Francis Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review when Poems in Two Volumes was first published. The reason undoubtedly lies in its great simplicity and beauty of language, turning on Dorothy's observation that this man-made spectacle is nevertheless one to be compared to nature's grandest natural spectacles. Cleanth Brooks analysed the sonnet in these terms in The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry.
Stephen Gill remarks that at the end of his life Wordsworth, engaged in editing his works, contemplated a revision
Der Erlkönig (often called just Erlkönig) is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It depicts the death of a child assailed by a supernatural being, the Erlking or "Erlkönig" (suggesting the literal translation "alder king", but see below). It was originally composed by Goethe as part of a 1782 Singspiel entitled Die Fischerin.
The poem has been used as the text for Lieder (art songs for voice and piano) by many classical composers, with Franz Schubert's rendition, his Opus 1 (D. 328), being the best-known one. Many other settings survive. Other notable settings are by members of Goethe's circle, including the actress Corona Schröter (1782), Andreas Romberg (1793), Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1794) and Carl Friedrich Zelter (1797). Beethoven attempted to set it to music but abandoned the effort; his sketch however was complete enough to be published in a completion by Reinhold Becker (1897). A few other nineteenth-century versions are those by Václav Tomášek (1815), Carl Loewe (1818) and Ludwig Spohr (1856, with obbligato violin). A 21st century example is pianist Marc-André Hamelin's "Etude No. 8 (after Goethe)" for solo piano, based on the Erlkönig.
An anxious young boy is being
Erec and Enide (French: Érec et Énide) is the first of Chrétien de Troyes' five romance poems, completed around 1170. It is one of three completed works by the author. Consisting of about 7000 lines of Old French, the poem is the earliest known Arthurian romance in any language, though the Welsh Culhwch and Olwen likely predates its surviving manuscripts.
Chrétien de Troyes played a primary role in the formation of Arthurian romance and is influential up until the latest romances. Erec et Enide features many of the common elements of Arthurian romance, such as Arthurian characters, the knightly quest, and women or love as a catalyst to action. While it is not the first story to use conventions of the Arthurian characters and setting, Chrétien de Troyes is credited with the invention of the Arthurian romance genre by establishing expectation with his contemporary audience based on its prior knowledge of the subjects.
Popular in its own day, the poem was translated into several other languages, notably German in Hartmann von Aue's Erec and Welsh in Geraint and Enid, one of the Three Welsh Romances included in the Mabinogion. Many authors explicitly acknowledge their debt to Chrétien,
"Lost in Translation" is a narrative poem by James Merrill (1926–1995), one of the most studied and celebrated of his shorter works. It was originally published in The New Yorker magazine on April 8, 1974, and published in book form in 1976 in Divine Comedies.
The poem opens with a description of a summer Merrill spent as a child in a great house in The Hamptons, with his governess, waiting patiently for a rented wooden jigsaw puzzle to arrive in the mail from an Upper East Side Manhattan puzzle rental shop.
"Lost in Translation" is Merrill's most anthologized poem, and has been widely praised by literary critics including Harold Bloom.
Merrill wrote in his lifetime mainly for a select group of friends, fans, and critics, and expected readers of "Lost in Translation" to have some knowledge of his biography. Born in New York City, Merrill was the son of the founder of the world's largest brokerage firm. He enjoyed a privileged upbringing in economic and cultural terms, although his intelligence and exceptional financial circumstances often made him feel lonely as a child. Merrill was the only son of Charles E. Merrill and Hellen Ingram. (Merrill had two older half siblings from his
This article is about the poem by Lord Byron, for other uses see Mazeppa
Mazeppa is a Romantic narrative poem written by Lord Byron in 1819, based on a popular legend about the early life of Ivan Mazepa (1639-1709), a Ukrainian gentleman who later became Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks. According to the poem, the young Mazeppa, while serving as a page at the Court of King John II Casimir Vasa, has a love affair with a Countess named Theresa, who was married to a much older man. The Count, on discovering the affair, punishes Mazeppa by tying him naked to a wild horse and setting the horse loose. The bulk of the poem describes the traumatic journey of the hero strapped to the horse. The poem has been praised for its “vigor of style and its sharp realization of the feelings of suffering and endurance”. This poem also inspired Alexander Pushkin to write his poem Poltava as an answer to Byron's poem. The collection contained the short story "A Fragment", also known as "Fragment of a Novel" and "The Burial: A Fragment", one of the earliest vampire stories in English.
The poem opens with a framing device: Mazeppa and the Swedish King Charles XII, together with their armies, are
The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality, better known simply as Night-Thoughts, is a long poem by Edward Young published in nine parts (or "nights") between 1742 and 1745.
The poem is written in blank verse. It describes the poet's musings on death over a series of nine "nights" in which he ponders the loss of his wife and friends, and laments human frailties. The best-known line in the poem is the adage "procrastination is the thief of time", which is part of a passage in which the poet discusses how quickly life and opportunities can slip away.
Night-Thoughts had a very high reputation for many years after its publication, but is now best known for the fact that it gave rise to a major series of illustrations by William Blake in 1797 and by Thomas Stothart in 1799.
The nine nights are each a poem of their own. They are: "Life, Death, and Immortality" (dedicated to Arthur Onslow); "Time, Death, Friendship" (dedicated to Spencer Compton); "Narcissa" (dedicated to Margaret Bentinck); "The Christian Triumph" (dedicated to Philip Yorke); "The Relapse" (dedicated to George Lee); "The Infidel Reclaim'd" (in two parts, "Glories and Riches" and "The Nature, Proof,
"The Bells" is a heavily onomatopoeic poem by Edgar Allan Poe which was not published until after his death in 1849. It is perhaps best known for the diacopic use of the word "bells." The poem has four parts to it; each part becomes darker and darker as the poem progresses from "the jingling and the tinkling" of the bells in part 1 to the "moaning and the groaning" of the bells in part 4.
This poem can be interpreted in many different ways, the most basic of which is simply a reflection of the sounds that bells can make, and the emotions evoked from that sound. For example, "From the bells bells bells bells/Bells bells bells!" brings to mind the clamoring of myriad church bells. Several deeper interpretations exist as well. One is that the poem is a representation of life from the nimbleness of youth to the pain of age. Growing despair is emphasized alongside the growing frenzy in the tone of the poem. Another is the passing of the seasons, from spring to winter. The passing of the seasons is often used as a metaphor for life itself. The poem also suggests a Poe theme of mourning over a lost wife, courted in sledge, married and then killed in a fire as the husband looks on. The
The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in 8 Fits) is usually thought of as a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in 1874, when he was 42 years old. It describes "with infinite humour the impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature".
The poem borrows occasionally from Carroll's short poem "Jabberwocky" in Through the Looking-Glass (especially the poem's creatures and portmanteau words), but it is a stand-alone work, first published in 1876 by Macmillan. The illustrations were by Henry Holiday.
In common with other Carroll works, the meaning of his poems has been queried and analysed in depth. One of the most comprehensive gatherings of information about the poem and its meaning is The Annotated Snark by Martin Gardner.
The crew consists of ten members, whose descriptions all begin with the letter B: a Bellman (the leader), a Boots, a Bonnet-maker, a Barrister, a Broker, a Billiard-marker, a Banker, a Butcher, a Baker, and a Beaver. The Boots is the only character who is not shown in any illustration in the original, a fact that has led to much speculation (see below).
After crossing the sea guided by the Bellman's map of the
The Passionate Pilgrim (1599) is an anthology of 20 poems collected and published by William Jaggard that were attributed to "W. Shakespeare" on the title page, only five of which are accepted by present-day scholars as authentically Shakespearean. These are two sonnets, later to be published in the 1609 collection of Shakespeare's sonnets, and three poems extracted from the play Love's Labour's Lost.
Other poems in the collection may be by Shakespeare, but it also contains poems definitely identifiable as the work of other authors, and Jaggard later published an augmented edition with poems he knew to be by Thomas Heywood. For this reason the remaining poems cannot be definitively confirmed or rejected as Shakespeare's.
The Passionate Pilgrim was published by William Jaggard, later the publisher of Shakespeare's First Folio. The first edition survives only in a single fragmentary copy; its date cannot be fixed with certainty since its title page is missing, though many scholars judge it likely to be from 1599, the year the second edition appeared with the attribution to Shakespeare. The title page of this second edition states that the book is to be sold by stationer William
The Phoenix and the Turtle is an allegorical poem about the death of ideal love by William Shakespeare. It is widely considered to be one of his most obscure works and has led to many conflicting interpretations. It has also been called "the first great published metaphysical poem". The title "The Phoenix and the Turtle" is a conventional label. As published, the poem was untitled. The "turtle" is the Turtledove, not the shelled reptile.
The poem describes a funeral arranged for the deceased Phoenix and Turtledove, the latter a traditional emblem of devoted love. Some birds are invited, but others excluded. It goes on to state that the love of the birds created a perfect unity which transcended all logic and material fact. It concludes with a prayer for the dead lovers.
It was first published in 1601 as a supplement to a long poem by Robert Chester, entitled Love's Martyr. The full title of Chester's book explains the content:
Chester prefaced his poem with a short dedication addressed to the Phoenix and Turtledove. The Phoenix is envisaged as female and the dove as male:
Chester's main poem is a long allegory in which the relationship between the birds is explored, and its
"The Second Coming" is a poem composed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in 1919 and first printed in The Dial (November 1920) and afterwards included in his 1921 collection of verses titled Michael Robartes and the Dancer. The poem uses Christian imagery regarding the Apocalypse and second coming as allegory to describe the atmosphere in post-war Europe. The poem is considered a major work of Modernist poetry and has been reprinted in several collections including The Norton Anthology of Modernist Poetry.
The poem was written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War. While the various manuscript revisions of the poem refer to the Renaissance, French Revolutions, the Irish rebellion, and those of Germany and of Russia, Richard Ellman and Harold Bloom suggest the text refers to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Bloom argues that Yeats takes the side of the counter-revolutionaries and the poem suggests that reaction to the revolution would come too late. Early drafts also included such lines as: "And there's no Burke to cry aloud no Pitt," and "The good are wavering, while the worst prevail."
The word gyre in the poem's first line may be used in a sense drawn from Yeats's book
"Zdravljica" (English: "A Toast") or "Zdravica", written in 1844 and published with some changes in 1848, is a poem by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren, considered the national poet of Slovenes. On 27 September 1989, it became the national anthem of Slovenia.
"Zdravljica" is a drinking song and a carmen figuratum because the shape of each stanza resembles a wine cup. In it, the poet declares his belief in a free-thinking Slovene and Slavic political awareness. It has been interpreted as a promotion of the idea of a united Slovenia, which the March Revolution in 1848 elevated into a national political programme.
With the act on the national symbols of Slovenia, passed in 1994, the eponymous melody by Stanko Premrl, written after the lyrics of the seventh stanza of the Prešeren's poem, emphasising internationalism, has been defined as the anthem.
Censorship did not allow for the poem to be printed. Later Prešeren himself intended to include it in his poem collection Poezije (Poems), and to that end omitted the third stanza ("V sovražnike 'z oblakov / rodú naj naš'ga treši gróm") in order to save the rest. However the censor (fellow-Slovene Franc Miklošič in Austrian service)
Absalom and Achitophel is a landmark poetic political satire by John Dryden. The poem exists in two parts. The first part, of 1681, is undoubtedly by Dryden. The second part, of 1682, was written by another hand, most likely Nahum Tate, except for a few passages—including attacks on Thomas Shadwell and Elkanah Settle, expressed as Og and Doeg—that Dryden wrote himself.
The poem is an allegory that uses the story of the rebellion of Absalom against King David as the basis for discussion of the background to the Monmouth Rebellion (1685), the Popish Plot (1678) and the Exclusion Crisis.
The story of Absalom's revolt is told in the Second Book of Samuel in the Old Testament of the Bible (chapters 14 to 18). Absalom rebels against his father King David. The beautiful Absalom is distinguished by extraordinarily abundant hair, which is probably meant to symbolize his pride (2 Sam. 14:26). When David's renowned advisor, Achitophel (Achitophel in the Vulgate) joins Absalom's rebellion, another advisor, Hushai, plots with David to pretend to defect and give Absalom advice that plays into David's hands. The result was that Absalom takes the advice of the double agent Hushai over the good
Lines is a poem written by English writer Emily Brontë in December 1837. It is understood that the poem was written in the Haworth parsonage, two years after Brontë had left Roe Head, where she was unable to settle as a pupil. At the time Lines was written, Emily had already lived through the death of her mother and two of her sisters, Elizabeth and Maria. As the daughter of a parson, Emily received a rigorously religious education which is evident in much of her work. Lines is representative of much of Emily’s poetry, which broke Victorian gender stereotypes by adopting the Gothic tradition and genre of Romanticism, allowing her to express and examine her emotions.
Throughout their lives, the Brontë children struggled with leaving their in home in Haworth to which they felt so closely attached. The gender prejudice of the nineteenth century left little choice for young women, like Emily, who were seeking employment, occupation or education. It was widely accepted that females would hold self-effacing roles as housewives, mothers, governesses or seamstresses. Any poetry written by females was expected to address issues of religion, motherhood and wifehood on an instructive and
Maid of Athens, ere we part is a poem by Lord Byron, written in 1810 and dedicated to a young girl of Athens.
Each stanza of the poem ends with the same Greek refrain, which Byron translated as "My life, I love you!". It may be viewed as an example of macaronic verse, although it obviously lacks the humorous intent typical of that genre.
According to C. G. Brouzas, Byron's "Maid of Athens" was born Teresa Macri or Macris in 1797. She was the daughter of Mrs. Tarsia Macri, at whose house Byron lodged briefly in 1809 and in February 1810. Byron apparently fell in love with the 12-year-old girl; in a letter to Henry Drury the poet declares to be "dying for love of three Greek Girls at Athens", "Teresa, Mariana, and Kattinka", and wrote the poem for her before departing for Istanbul. On his way back from Turkey to Morea, on 17 July 1810, he stayed at Mrs. Macri's house for another ten days. At some point he offered £500 for the girl — an offer which evidently was not accepted.
Byron never met Teresa again. She eventually married James Black (1803–1868) and died impoverished in 1875 in Athens, Greece.
Manfred is a dramatic poem written in 1816–1817 by Lord Byron. It contains supernatural elements, in keeping with the popularity of the ghost story in England at the time. It is a typical example of a Romantic closet drama. Manfred was adapted musically by Robert Schumann in 1852, in a composition entitled Manfred: Dramatic Poem with music in Three Parts, and later by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in his Manfred Symphony. Friedrich Nietzsche was impressed by the poem's depiction of a super-human being, and wrote some music for it.
Byron wrote this "metaphysical drama", as he called it, after his marriage failed in scandal amidst charges of sexual improprieties and an incestuous affair between Byron and his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. Attacked by the press and ostracized by London society, Byron fled England for Switzerland in 1816 and never returned.
Because Manfred was written immediately after this and because Manfred regards a main character tortured by his own sense of guilt for an unmentionable offense, some critics consider Manfred to be autobiographical, or even confessional. The unnamed but forbidden nature of Manfred's relationship to Astarte is believed to represent Byron's
Prometheus is a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in which the character of the mythic Prometheus addresses God (as Zeus) in misotheist accusation and defiance. The poem was written between 1772 and 1774 and first published in 1789 after an anonymous and unauthorised publication in 1785 by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi. It is an important work of the Sturm und Drang movement.
In early editions of the Collected Works it appeared in Volume II of Goethe's poems in a section of Vermischte Gedichte (assorted poems), shortly following the Gesang der Geister über den Wassern, and the Harzreise im Winter. It is immediately followed by "Ganymed", and the two poems together should be understood as a pair. Both belong to the period 1770–1775. Prometheus (1774) was planned as a drama but not completed, but this poem draws upon it. Prometheus is the creative and rebellious spirit which, rejected by God, angrily defies him and asserts itself; Ganymede is the boyish self which is adored and seduced by God. One is the lone defiant, the other the yielding acolyte. As the humanist poet, Goethe presents both identities as aspects or forms of the human condition.
Although the setting is classical, the
Sonnet 18, often alternately titled Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, is one of the best-known of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Part of the Fair Youth sequence (which comprises sonnets 1-126 in the accepted numbering stemming from the first edition in 1609), it is the first of the cycle after the opening sequence now described as the Procreation sonnets. Most scholars now agree that the original subject of the poem, the beloved to whom the poet is writing, is a male, though the poem is commonly used to describe a woman.
In the sonnet, the speaker compares his beloved to the summer season, and argues that his beloved is better. He also states that his beloved will live on forever through the words of the poem. Scholars have found parallels within the poem to Ovid's Tristia and Amores, both of which have love themes. Sonnet 18 is written in the typical Shakespearean sonnet form, having 14 lines of iambic pentameter ending in a rhymed couplet. Detailed exegeses have revealed several double meanings within the poem, giving it a greater depth of interpretation.
The poem starts with a flattering question to the beloved—"Shall I compare
The Little Black Boy is a poem by William Blake published in Songs of Innocence in 1789. It was published during a time when slavery was still legal and the campaign for the abolition of slavery was still young.
"The Little Black Boy" was published in 1789, a time when slavery was still legal and the campaign for the abolition of slavery was still young. In "The Little Black Boy", Blake questions conventions of the time with basic Christian ideals. This becomes apparent in the third stanza, where Blake uses the sun as a metaphor for God and His Kingdom: "Look on the rising sun: there God does live,". This line is particularly important, as the reference to the sun not only introduces the running religious metaphor in the subsequent stanzas, but the fact that it is "rising" denotes change.
In accordance with the running metaphor of the sun, the fact that Blake speaks of "black bodies" and a "sunburnt face" in the fourth stanza seems to imply that black people are near God as a result of their suffering – for one can only become dark and sunburned as a result of being exposed to the sun's rays. In the final stanza this idea is developed further, as the black boy says that he will
Viaje al Parnaso (or Viaje del Parnaso) (Spanish: Journey to Parnassus) is a poetic work by Miguel de Cervantes, generally rated as his second greatest work after the novel Don Quixote. It was first published in 1614 (see 1614 in poetry), two years before the author's death.
The chief object of the poem is to satirize those among the author's contemporaries who are false pretenders to the honours of the Spanish Parnassus. This satire is of a peculiar character: an effusion of sportive humour, leaving it a matter of doubt whether Cervantes intended to praise or to ridicule the individuals whom he points out as being particularly worthy of the favour of Apollo. He himself says: "Those whose names do not appear in this list may be just as well pleased as those who are mentioned in it." Cervantes' aims in composing the poem seem to have been to characterise true poetry according to his own poetic feelings, to manifest in a decided way his enthusiasm for the art even in his old age, and to hold up a mirror for the conviction of those who were only capable of making rhymes and inventing extravagances. Concealed satire and open jesting are the combined elements of this work.
The poem is
Les Fleurs du mal (English: The Flowers of Evil) is a volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire. First published in 1857 (see 1857 in poetry), it was important in the symbolist and modernist movements. The subject matter of these poems deals with themes relating to decadence and eroticism.
The initial publication of the book was arranged in six thematically segregated sections:
The foreword to the volume, identifying Satan with the pseudonymous alchemist Hermes Trismegistus and calling boredom the worst of miseries, neatly sets the general tone of what is to follow:
Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l'incendie,
N'ont pas encore brodé de leurs plaisants dessins
Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
C'est que notre âme, hélas! n'est pas assez hardie.
The preface concludes with the following malediction:
C'est l'Ennui! —l'œil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,
Il rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
—Hypocrite lecteur,—mon semblable,—mon frère!
The author and the publisher were prosecuted under the regime of the Second Empire as an outrage aux bonnes mœurs (trans. "an insult to public decency"). As a consequence of this prosecution,
Aurora Leigh (1856) is an eponymous epic novel/poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The poem is written in blank verse and encompasses nine books (the woman's number, the number of the prophetic books of the Sibyl). It is a first person narration, from the point of view of Aurora; its other heroine, Marian Erle, is an abused self-taught child of itinerant parents. The poem is set in Florence, Malvern, London, and Paris. She uses her knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, while also playing off modern novels, such as Corinne ou l'Italie by Anne Louise Germaine de Staël and the novels by George Sand. Through Book 5, Aurora narrates her past, from her childhood to the age of about 27; in Books 6-9, the narrative has caught up with her, and she reports events in diary form. Elizabeth Barrett Browning styled the poem "a novel in verse", and referred to it as "the most mature of my works, and the one into which my highest convictions upon Life and Art have entered."
Aurora describes her childhood in Florence, growing up as the daughter of a Tuscan mother and an English father. Her mother died when she was four, leaving her father to raise her. He was a scholar, and imparted to her knowledge of
"If—" is a poem written in 1895 by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in the "Brother Square Toes" chapter of Rewards and Fairies, Kipling's 1910 collection of short stories and poems. Like William Ernest Henley's "Invictus", it is a memorable evocation of Victorian stoicism and the "stiff upper lip" that popular culture has made into a traditional British virtue. Its status is confirmed both by the number of parodies it has inspired, and by the widespread popularity it still enjoys amongst Britons. It is often voted Britain's favourite poem. This poem was printed, framed and fixed to the wall in front of the study desk in the officer cadets cabins at the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Pune India. The very presence of If in front of each desk, has inspired thousands of the Armed Forces officers trained at the NDA over the last half century. The poem's line, "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same" is written on the wall of the Centre Court players' entrance at the British tennis tournament, Wimbledon, and a part of the poem was read in a promotional video for the Wimbledon 2008 gentleman's final by Roger
The Ludwigslied (in English, Lay or Song of Ludwig) is an Old High German poem of 59 rhyming couplets, celebrating the victory of the Frankish army, led by Louis III of France, over Danish (Viking) raiders at the Battle of Saucourt-en-Vimeu on 3 August 881.
The poem is thoroughly Christian in ethos. It presents the Viking raids as a punishment from God: He caused the Northmen to come across the sea to remind the Frankish people of their sins, and inspired Louis to ride to the aid of his people. Louis praises God both before and after the battle.
Although the poem is Christian in content, and the use of rhyme reflects Christian rather than Germanic poetic tradition, it is not without Germanic elements. It belongs to the genre of Preislied, a song in praise of a warrior, of a type which must have been common in Germanic oral tradition.
The poem is preserved in over four pages in a single 9th century manuscript formerly in the monastery of Saint-Amand, now in the Bibliothèque municipale, Valenciennes (Codex 150, f. 141v-143r). In the same manuscript, and written by the same scribe, is the Old French Sequence of Saint Eulalia.
The poem speaks of Louis in the present tense: it opens, "I
"The Birks of Aberfeldy" is a song lyric written for a pre-existing melody in 1787 by Robert Burns. He was inspired to write it by the Falls of Moness and the birch trees of Aberfeldy during a tour of the Scottish Highlands with his friend William Nicol.
The Book of Thel is a poem by William Blake, dated 1789 and probably worked on in the period 1788 to 1790. It is illustrated by his own plates, and is relatively short and easy to understand, compared to his later prophetic books. The metre is a fourteen-syllable line. It was preceded by Tiriel, which Blake left in manuscript. A few lines from Tiriel were incorporated into The Book of Thel. Most of the poem is in unrhymed verse.
This book consists of eight plates executed in illuminated printing. Sixteen copies of the original print of 1789-1793 are known. Three copies bearing a watermark of 1815 are more elaborately colored than the others.
Thel’s Motto can be interpreted as Blake’s rejection of the Church of England. The “silver rod” where Wisdom cannot be found represents a scepter or staff that would have been used in traditional kingship or even high-ranking ecclesiasts before the rise of nationalism and the consequent fall of the papacy in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Motto goes on to say that Love cannot be found in a “golden bowl.” The image of the golden bowl refers to a chalice that is raised when priests in the Christian tradition celebrate the blood atonement. The
"The Lady of Shalott" is a Victorian ballad by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892). Like his other early poems – "Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere" and "Galahad" – the poem recasts Arthurian subject matter loosely based on medieval sources.
Tennyson wrote two versions of the poem, one published in 1833, of twenty stanzas, the other in 1842 of nineteen stanzas. It was loosely based on the Arthurian legend of Elaine of Astolat, as recounted in a thirteenth-century Italian novella titled Donna di Scalotta (No. lxxxii in the collection Cento Novelle Antiche), with the earlier version being closer to the source material than the later. Tennyson focused on the Lady's "isolation in the tower and her decision to participate in the living world, two subjects not even mentioned in Donna di Scalotta."
The first four stanzas describe a pastoral setting. The Lady of Shalott lives in an island castle in a river which flows to Camelot, but little is known about her by the local farmers.
Stanzas five to eight describe the lady's life. She suffers from a mysterious curse, and must continually weave images on her loom without ever looking directly out at the world. Instead, she looks
Ruslan and Ludmila (Russian: Руслан и Людмила; Ruslan i Lyudmila) is a poem by Alexander Pushkin, published in 1820. It is written as an epic fairy tale consisting of a dedication (посвящение), six "songs" (песни) or "cantos", and an epilogue (эпилог). It tells the story of the abduction of Ludmila, the daughter of Prince Vladimir of Kiev by an evil wizard and the attempt by the brave knight Ruslan to find and rescue her.
Pushkin began writing the poem in 1817, while attending the Imperial Lyceum at Tsarskoye Selo. He based it on Russian folktales he had heard as a child. Before it was published in 1820, Pushkin was exiled to the south of Russia for political ideas he had expressed in other works such as his ode to "Freedom” (вольность). A slightly revised edition was published in 1828.
The poem was the basis of an opera of the same name composed by Mikhail Glinka between 1837 and 1842.
A feature film based on the poem was produced in the Soviet Union in 1972, directed by Aleksandr Ptushko and starring Valeri Kozinets and Natalya Petrova as the title characters. Other film versions include a 1915 silent produced by the Russian production company Khanzhonkov, directed by Wladyslaw
The Rape of Lucrece (1594) is a narrative poem by William Shakespeare about the legendary Lucretia. In his previous narrative poem, Venus and Adonis (1593), Shakespeare had included a dedicatory letter to his patron, the Earl of Southampton, in which he promised to write a "graver work". Accordingly, The Rape of Lucrece lacks the humorous tone of the earlier poem.
The Rape of Lucrece was entered into the Stationers' Register on 9 May 1594, and published later that year, in a quarto printed by Richard Field for the bookseller John Harrison ("the Elder"); Harrison sold the book from his shop at the sign of the White Greyhound in St. Paul's Churchyard. The title given on the title page was simply Lucrece, though the running title throughout the volume, as well as the heading at the beginning of the text, is The Rape of Lucrece. (The Arden edition of Shakespeare's [The] Poems, ed F.T.Prince, London and New York, Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1960), from which this information is taken, calls the poem Lucrece.) Harrison's copyright was transferred to Roger Jackson in 1614; Jackson issued a sixth edition (O5) in 1616. Other octavo editions followed in 1624, 1632, and 1655. The poem went through
In Memoriam A.H.H. is a poem by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, completed in 1849. It is a requiem for the poet's Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. Because it was written over a period of 17 years, its meditation on the search for hope after great loss touches upon many of the most important and deeply-felt concerns of Victorian society. It contains some of Tennyson's most accomplished lyrical work, and is an unusually sustained exercise in lyric verse. It is widely considered to be one of the great poems of the 19th century.
The poem was a great favourite of Queen Victoria, who found it a source of solace after the death of Prince Albert in 1861: "Next to the Bible, In Memoriam is my comfort." In 1862, Victoria requested a meeting with Tennyson because she was so impressed by the poem.
The original title of the poem was "The Way of the Soul", and this might give an idea of how the poem is an account of all Tennyson's thoughts and feelings as he copes with his grief over such a long period - including wrestling with the big philosophico-scientific questions of his day. It is perhaps because of this that the
The Tale of the Priest and of his Workman Balda (Russian: Сказка о попе и о работнике его Балде, Skazka o pope i o rabotnike ego Balde) is a fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin wrote the tale on September 13, 1830 while staying at Boldino. It is based on a Russian folk tale which Pushkin collected in Mikhailovskoe early on. The Tale of the Priest and of his Workman Balda consists of 189 extremely varied lines that range from three to fourteen syllables but made to rhyme in couplets. In the summer of 1831, Pushkin read the tale to Nikolai Gogol who liked it a great deal. The Tale was first published posthumously by Vasily Zhukovsky in 1840 with considerable alterations due to censorship; the Priest character was replaced by a merchant.
The poem tells of a lazy priest who is wandering around a market looking for a cheap worker. There he meets Balda (Балда in Russian means a stupid or not very serious person) who agrees to work for a year without pay except that he be allowed to hit the priest three times on his forehead and have cooked spelt for food. The priest, being a cheapskate, agrees. But then, after he gets a chance to observe Balda at work, he sees that he is
"Al Aaraaf" is an early poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1829. It is based on stories from the Qur'an, and tells of the afterlife in a place called Al Aaraaf. At 422 lines, it is Poe's longest poem.
"Al Aaraaf", which Poe claimed to have written before he was 15, was first published as the major poem in Poe's 1829 collection Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. The book and "Al Aaraaf" in particular received mostly negative reviews for its complexity, obscure references, and odd structure. Some, however, noted the potential in the young poet, including John C. Neal, to whom Poe had shown "Al Aaraaf" prior to publication. Poe would later refer to Neal's response as the first words of encouragement he had received. Nevertheless, the negative response to "Al Aaraaf" may have inspired Poe's later poetic theory that poems should be kept short.
Years later, in 1845, Poe used "Al Aaraaf" to hoax members of the Boston literary circle during a reading. Poe claimed the poem was a new one and his audience was perplexed by it. He later claimed a Boston crowd did not deserve a new poem. He held a strong dislike for New England poets and the New England-based
La Légende des siècles ("The Legend of the Ages") is a collection of poems by Victor Hugo, conceived as an immense depiction of the history and evolution of humanity.
Written intermittently between 1855 and 1876, while the exiled Victor Hugo worked on numerous other projects, the poems were published in three series in 1859, 1877, and 1883. Bearing witness to an unparalleled poetic talent in which all Hugo's art is evident, the Légende des Siècles is often considered the only true French epic and, according to Baudelaire's formulation, the only modern epic possible.
The dreaming poet contemplates the "wall of the centuries," indistinct and terrible, on which scenes of the past, present and future are drawn, and along which the whole long procession of humanity can be seen. The poems are depictions of these scenes, fleetingly perceived and interspersed with terrifying visions. Hugo sought neither historical accuracy nor exhaustiveness; rather, he concentrated on obscure figures, usually his own inventions, who incarnated and symbolized their eras. As he proclaimed himself in the preface to the first series, "this is history, eavesdropped upon at the door of legend." The poems, by
The Battle of Maldon took place on 10 August 991 near Maldon beside the River Blackwater in Essex, England, during the reign of Aethelred the Unready. Earl Byrhtnoth and his thegns led the English against a Viking invasion. The battle ended in an Anglo-Saxon defeat. After the battle Archbishop Sigeric of Canterbury and the aldermen of the south-western provinces advised King Aethelred to buy off the Vikings rather than continue the armed struggle. The result was a payment of 10,000 Roman pounds (3,300 kg) of silver, the first example of Danegeld in England.
An account of the battle, embellished with many speeches attributed to the warriors and with other details, is related in an Old English poem which is usually named The Battle of Maldon. A modern embroidery created for the millennium celebration in 1991 and, in part, depicting the battle can be seen at the Maeldune Centre in Maldon.
One manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle said a Norwegian, Olaf Tryggvason, led the Viking forces, estimated to have been between 2,000 and 4,000 fighting men. A source from the 12th century, Liber Eliensis, written by the monks at Ely, suggests that Byrhtnoth had only a few men to command: "he
The Little Vagabond is a poem written by the English poet William Blake. It was published as part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794.
Dear mother, dear mother, the Church is cold;
But the Alehouse is healthy, and pleasant, and warm.
Besides, I can tell where I am used well;
Such usage in heaven will never do well.
But, if at the Church they would give us some ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We’d sing and we’d pray all the livelong day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.
Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing,
And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring;
And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at church,
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.
And God, like a father, rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as He,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the barrel,
But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel.
"The Song of the Stormy Petrel" (Russian: Песня о Буревестнике) is a short piece of revolutionary literature written by the Russian writer Maxim Gorky in 1901. Written in a variation of unrhymed trochaic tetrameter with occasional Pyrrhic substitutions, it is considered poetry.
In 1901, no one could criticise the Tsar directly and hope to escape unhappy fate. The language calling for revolution is coded—the proud stormy petrel, unafraid of the storm (that is, revolution), as all other animals cower.
Maxim Gorky wrote "The Song of the Storm Petrel" in March 1901 in Nizhny Novgorod. It was first published in the Zhizn magazine in April 1901. Gorky was arrested for publishing "The Song", but released shortly thereafter.
The poem was later referred to as "the battle anthem of the revolution", and the epithet Burevestnik Revolyutsii (The Storm Petrel of the Revolution) soon became attached to Gorky himself. According to Nadezhda Krupskaya, "The Song" became one of Lenin's favorite works by Gorky.
In honor of the poem, and of Maxim Gorky himself, various things in the Soviet Union—and, in particular, in its Gorky Oblast—became named "Burevestnik" (Storm Petrel), including a national
Lady Clara Vere de Vere is an English poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson, part of the collection The Lady of Shalott, and Other Poems, published in 1842. The poem is about a lady in a family of aristocrats, and has numerous noble references, such as to earls or coats of arms. One such line from the poem goes, "Kind hearts are more than coronets, and simple faith than Norman blood." This line gave the title to the film Kind Hearts and Coronets. Lewis Carroll's poem Echoes is based on Lady Clare Vere de Vere.
Perceval, the story of the Grail (French: Perceval, le Conte du Graal) is the unfinished fifth romance of Chrétien de Troyes. Probably written between 1181 and 1191, it is dedicated to Chrétien's patron Philip, Count of Flanders. It is said by some scholars that during the time Chretien was writing Perceval, there was a political crisis taking place between the aristocracy, which included his patron, Phillipe de Flandre, and the monarchy, which may have influenced Chretien’s work.
Chrétien claimed to be working from a source given to him by Philip. The poem relates the adventures and growing pains of the young knight Perceval but the story breaks off, there follows an adventure of Gawain of similar length that also remains incomplete: there are some 9,000 lines in total, whereas Chretien's other romances seldom exceed 7,000 lines.
Later authors added 54,000 more lines in what are known collectively as the Four Continuations. Perceval is the earliest recorded account of what was to become the Quest for the Holy Grail but describes only "a" golden grail (a serving dish) in the central scene and does not call it "holy" but treats a lance, appearing at the same time, as equally
"Pierce the Ploughman's Crede" is a medieval alliterative poem of 855 lines, savagely lampooning the four orders of friars.
Surviving in two complete forteenth-century manuscripts and two early printed editions, the Crede can be dated on internal evidence to the short period between 1393 and 1400. The two manuscripts both include Piers Plowman, and in the first, the Crede serves as an introduction to a C-text version of Piers Plowman. Additionally, BL MS Harley 78 contains a fragment of the Crede copied ca. 1460-70.
The Crede was first printed in London by Reyner Wolfe, and then reprinted for inclusion with Owen Rogers's 1561 reprint of Robert Crowley's 1550 edition of Piers Plowman. The Crede was not printed again until T. Bensley's edition in 1814, based on that of 1553, and Thomas Wright's of 1832. The 1553 and 1561 editions were altered to include more anticlericalism and to attack an "abbot" where the original text had "bishop". This latter revision is a conservative one, undoubtedly motivated by the security of attacking a defunct institution following the Dissolution of the Monasteries rather than an aspect of Catholicism which survived in the Church of England. Nearly all
"Sumer Is Icumen In" is a medieval English rota of the mid-13th century.
The title translates approximately to "Summer Has Come In" or "Summer Has Arrived". The song is composed in the Wessex dialect of Middle English. Although the composer's identity is unknown today, it may have been W. de Wycombe. The year of composition is estimated to be ca. 1260.
This rota is the oldest known musical composition featuring six-part polyphony (Albright, 1994), and is possibly the oldest surviving example of counterpoint.
It is sometimes called the Reading Rota because the earliest known copy of the composition, a manuscript written in mensural notation, was found at Reading Abbey; it was probably not drafted there, however. The British Library now retains this manuscript.
A rota is a type of round, which in turn is a kind of partsong. To perform the round, one singer begins the song, and a second starts singing the beginning again just as the first got to the point marked with the red cross in the first figure below. The length between the start and the cross corresponds to the modern notion of a bar, and the main verse comprises six phrases spread over twelve such bars. In addition, there are
The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You is a 15,283-line epic poem by the poet Frank Stanford. First published in 1977 as a 542-page book, the poem is visually characterized by its absence of stanzas (or any skipped horizontal spaces) and punctuation and is recognized as a complex, unusual work — at once both highly humorous and tragically beautiful.
Stanford worked on the manuscript for many years (beginning as a teenager in the 1960s [or possibly even before his teenage years]) prior to its publication — a joint-publication by Mill Mountain Press (Stanford's publisher throughout the early and mid-1970s) and Lost Roads (Stanford's own press) — in 1977. After being out of print for several years, the book was republished by Lost Roads (under succeeding editorship of C.D. Wright and Forrest Gander) in 2000; this second, corrected edition — 383 pages, equipped with line numbers — is in print, having been reprinted by the press in 2008. A common misconception is that the 15,283-line poem (as evident in the 2000 edition) was actually over 21,000 lines in the first edition (which suggests that the two texts are actually different), but the seemingly longer line count in the 1977
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", commonly known as "Prufrock", is a poem by T. S. Eliot, begun in February 1910 and published in Chicago in June 1915. Described as a "drama of literary anguish," it presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic monologue, and marked the beginning of Eliot's career as an influential poet. With its weariness, regret, embarrassment, longing, emasculation, sexual frustration, sense of decay, and awareness of mortality, "Prufrock" has become one of the most recognized voices in modern literature.
Composed mainly between February 1910 and July or August 1911, the poem was first published in Chicago in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, after Ezra Pound, the magazine's foreign editor, persuaded Harriet Monroe, its founder, that Eliot was unique: "He has actually trained himself AND modernized himself ON HIS OWN. The rest of the promising young have done one or the other, but never both." This was Eliot's first publication of a poem outside school or university.
In November 1915 (see 1915 in poetry), the poem—along with Eliot's "Portrait of a Lady," "The Boston Evening Transcript," "Hysteria," and "Miss Helen
Yvain, the Knight with the Lion (French: Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion) is a romance by Chrétien de Troyes. It was probably written in the 1170s simultaneously with Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, and includes several references to the narrative of that poem.
It is a story of knight-errantry, with the protagonist Yvain being exiled from the favours of his lady being required to perform a number of heroic deeds before regaining her.
In the narrative, Yvain seeks to avenge his cousin Calogrenant who had been defeated by an otherworldly knight Esclados beside a magical storm-making stone in the forest of Brocéliande. Yvain defeats Esclados and falls in love with his widow Laudine. With the aid of Laudine's servant Lunete, Yvain wins his lady and marries her, but Gawain convinces him to embark on chivalric adventure. Laudine assents but demands he return after one year, but he becomes so enthralled in his knightly exploits that he forgets his lady, and she bars him from returning. Yvain goes mad with grief, is cured by a noblewoman, and decides to rediscover himself and a way to win back his Laudine. A lion he rescues from a serpent proves to be a loyal companion and a symbol of
"Ah Sunflower" is a poem written by the English poet William Blake. It was published as part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794. Ed Sanders of The Fugs set the poem to music and recorded it on The Fugs First Album in 1965. For the passing of the 2nd millennium British composer Jonathan Dove set the text of "Ah, Sunflower" and two other poems by Blake ("Invocation" and "The Narrow Bud Opens Her Beauties To The Sun") in his piece "The Passing of the Year" (2000), a song cycle for double chorus and piano. In 2002 the Canadian sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle wanted to record Ed Sanders' setting in French; they asked Philippe Tatartcheff to translate the poem, only to find the words no longer scanned with the tune. So they composed a new tune which accommodated both languages. That appeared the following year on their album La vache qui pleure in both English and French recordings.
Ah Sun-flower weary of time.
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go!
Archy and Mehitabel (styled as archy and mehitabel) is the title of a series of newspaper columns written by Don Marquis beginning in 1916. Written as fictional social commentary and intended as a space-filler to allow Marquis to meet the challenge of writing a daily newspaper column six days a week, archy and mehitabel is Marquis' most famous work. Collections of these stories are still sold in print today. The published editions of these stories were originally illustrated by George Herriman, the creator and illustrator of Krazy Kat.
In 1916, Marquis introduced Archy, a fictional cockroach, into his daily newspaper column at The New York Evening Sun. Archy (whose name was always written in lower case in the book titles, but was upper case when Marquis would write about him in narrative form) was a cockroach who had been a free verse poet in a previous life, and took to writing stories and poems on an old typewriter at the newspaper office when everyone in the building had left. Archy would climb up onto the typewriter and hurl himself at the keys, laboriously typing out stories of the daily challenges and travails of a cockroach. Archy's best friend was Mehitabel, an alley cat.
The "Calamus" poems are a cluster of poems in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. These poems celebrate and promote "the manly love of comrades". Most critics believe that these poems are Whitman's clearest expressions in print of his ideas about homosexual love.
The first evidence of the poems that were to become the "Calamus" cluster is an unpublished manuscript sequence of twelve poems entitled "Live Oak With Moss," written in or before spring 1859. These poems were all incorporated in Whitman's 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass, but out of their original sequence. These poems seem to recount the story of a relationship between the speaker of the poems and a male lover. Even in Whitman's intimate writing style, these poems, read in their original sequence, seem unusually personal and candid in their disclosure of love and disappointment, and this manuscript has become central to arguments about Whitman's homoeroticism or homosexuality. This sequence was not known in its original manuscript order until a 1953 article by Fredson Bowers.
In the 1860 third edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman included the twelve "Live Oak" poems along with others to form a sequence of 45 untitled numbered
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.
The poem contains elements thought to be autobiographical, as Byron generated some of the storyline from experience gained during his travels through Portugal, the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea between 1809 and 1811. The "Ianthe" of the dedication was the term of endearment he used for Charlotte Harley, the 13-year-old daughter of Lady Oxford (the artist Francis Bacon's great-great-grandmother).
Despite Byron's initial hesitation at having the first two cantos of the poem published because he felt it revealed too much of himself, it was published, at the urging of friends, by John Murray in
The Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from Mesopotamia, is amongst the earliest surviving works of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five independent Sumerian poems about 'Bilgamesh' (Sumerian for Gilgamesh), king of Uruk. Four of these were used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. This first, "Old Babylonian" version of the epic dates to the 18th century BC and is titled Shūtur eli sharrī ("Surpassing All Other Kings"). Only a few fragments of it survive. The later, Standard Babylonian version dates from the 13th to the tenth centuries and bears the title Sha naqba īmuru ("He who Saw the Deep"). Fragments of approximately two thirds of this longer, 12 tablet version have been recovered. Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.
The story centers on a friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh's equal to distract him from oppressing the people of Uruk. Together, they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh
Germany: A Winter's Tale (German: Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen) is a satirical verse-epic or narrative by the German-Jewish author Heinrich Heine.
From the onset of the (Metternich) Restoration in Germany Heine was no longer secure from the state Censor, and in 1831 he migrated to France as an exile. In 1835 a decree of the German Federal Assembly banned his writings together with the publications of the Young Germany literary group.
At the end of 1843 Heine went back to Germany for a few weeks to visit his mother and his publisher Julius Campe in Hamburg. On the return journey the first draft of Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen took shape. The verse epic appeared in 1844 published by Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg. According to the censorship regulations of the Carlsbad Conference of 1819, manuscripts of more than twenty folios did not fall under the scrutiny of the censor. Therefore Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen was published together with other poems in a volume called ‘New Poems’. Then on the 4 October 1844 the book was banned, and the stock confiscated, in Prussia. On December 12 1844 King Friedrich Wilhelm IV issued a warrant of arrest against Heine. In the period following the
The Heroides (The Heroines), or Epistulae Heroidum (Letters of Heroines), is a collection of fifteen epistolary poems composed by Ovid in Latin elegiac couplets and presented as though written by a selection of aggrieved heroines of Greek and Roman mythology in address to their heroic lovers who have in some way mistreated, neglected, or abandoned them.
A further set of six poems—widely known as the Double Heroides and numbered 16 to 21 in modern scholarly editions—follows these individual letters and presents three separate exchanges of paired epistles: one each from a heroic lover to his absent beloved and from the heroine in return.
Arguably some of Ovid's most influential works (see below), one point that has greatly contributed to the mystique of the Heroides—and to the reverberations they have produced within the writings of later generations—is directly attributable to Ovid himself. In the third book of his Ars Amatoria, Ovid makes the claim that, in writing these fictional epistolary poems in the personae of famous heroines—rather than from a first-person perspective—he created an entirely new literary genre. Recommending parts of his poetic output as suitable reading
Jiu Zhang (Chinese: 九章 Pinyin: Jiu Zhang; English: Nine Pieces) is a collection of poems attributed to Qu Yuan and printed in the Chu Ci (楚辭 Songs of Chu, sometimes Songs of the South).
The "Nine Pieces" consists of nine titles of poems:
"Lenore" is a poem by the American author Edgar Allan Poe. It began as a different poem, "A Paean", and was not published as "Lenore" until 1843.
The poem discusses proper decorum in the wake of the death of a young woman, described as "the queenliest dead that ever died so young". The poem concludes: "No dirge shall I upraise,/ But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!" Lenore's fiancé, Guy de Vere, finds it inappropriate to "mourn" the dead; rather, one should celebrate their ascension to a new world. Unlike most of Poe's poems relating to dying women, "Lenore" implies the possibility of meeting in paradise.
The poem may have been Poe's way of dealing with the illness of his wife Virginia. The dead woman's name, however, may have been a reference to Poe's recently-dead brother, William Henry Leonard Poe. Poetically, the name Lenore emphasizes the letter "L" sound, a frequent device in Poe's female characters including "Annabel Lee", "Eulalie", and "Ulalume".
The poem was first published as part of an early collection in 1831 under the title "A Pæan". This early version was only 11 quatrains and the lines were spoken by a bereaved husband. The name "Lenore" was
"Mandalay" is a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling that was first published in the collection Barrack-Room Ballads, and Other Verses, the first series, published in 1892. The poem colourfully illustrates the nostalgia and longing of a soldier of the British Empire for Asia's exoticism, and generally for the countries and cultures located "East of Suez", as compared to the cold, damp and foggy climates and to the social disciplines and conventions of the UK and Northern Europe.
The Mandalay referred to in this poem was the sometime capital city of Burma, which was a British colony from 1885 to 1948. It mentions the old Moulmein pagoda, Moulmein being the Anglicised version of present-day Mawlamyine, in South eastern Burma, on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Martaban.
The British troops stationed in Burma were taken up (or down) the Irrawaddy River by paddle steamers run by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company (IFC). Rangoon to Mandalay was a 700 km trip each way.
Rudyard Kipling's poem "Mandalay" was written in March or April 1890, when the British poet was 24 years old. He had arrived in England in October the previous year, after seven years in India. He had taken an eastward route home,
"Musée des Beaux Arts" (French for "Museum of Fine Arts") is a poem by W. H. Auden from 1938. The poem's title derives from the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels which contains the painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, thought until recently to be by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, though still believed to be based on a lost original of his.
"Brueghel's" painting portrays several men and a ship peacefully performing daily activities in a charming landscape. While this occurs, Icarus is visible in the bottom right hand corner of the picture, his legs splayed at absurd angles, drowning in the water.
The allusions in the first part of the poem to a "miraculous birth" and a "dreadful martyrdom" refer obliquely to Christianity, the subject of other paintings by Breughel in the museum that the poem evokes (e.g. "The Census at Bethlehem" and "The Massacre of the Innocents"). The "forsaken cry" of Icarus alludes to Christ crying out on the cross, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Some years after Auden wrote this poem, William Carlos Williams wrote a poem titled "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" about the same paintings.
This poem and the painting Landscape with
The Odyssey (Greek: Ὀδύσσεια, Odysseia) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second oldest extant work of Western literature, the Iliad being the first. It is believed to have been composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.
The poem mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres (Greek: Μνηστῆρες) or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.
It continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe that the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos (epic poet/singer), perhaps a rhapsode (professional performer), and was more likely intended to be heard than read. The details
Oread is the title of a poem by Hilda Doolittle. Doolittle published her first poems under the name H. D. Imagiste. (The 'e' in "Imagiste was meant to suggest the French poets to whom Imagism owed such a debt. Later, she dropped the artificial surname and wrote as just plain H. D.)
Oread, one of her earliest and best-known poems, which was first published in the 1915 anthology, serves to illustrate this early style well. The title Oread was added after the poem was first written, to suggest that a Nymph was ordering up the sea.
"Oread" may serve to illustrate some prominent features of Imagist poetry. Rejecting the rhetorics of Late Romanticism and Victorianism, the Imagists aimed at a renewal of language through extreme reduction. This reduction is what Ezra Pound had in mind, when he wrote, counseling future poets: "use no superfluous word, no adjective, which does not reveal something".
In this poem, the reduction is brought to such an extreme that two images are superimposed on each other, depriving the reader of the possibility to determine, which is the "primary" one. The two image domains relevant here are the sea and the forest. The Oread, apparently the speaker of the
"Pangur Bán" is an Old Irish poem, written about the 9th century at or around Reichenau Abbey. It was written by an Irish monk, and is about his cat. Pangur Bán, "white fuller", is the cat's name. Although the poem is anonymous, it bears similarities to the poetry of Sedulius Scottus, prompting speculation that Sedulius is the author. In 8 verses of four lines, the author compares the cat's activities with his own scholarly pursuits.
The poem is preserved in the Reichenau Primer (Stift St. Paul Cod. 86b/1 fol 1v) and now kept in St. Paul's Abbey in the Lavanttal. A critical edition of the poem was published in 1903 by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan in the second volume of the Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus. The most famous of the many English translations is that by Robin Flower. In W. H. Auden's translation, the poem was set by Samuel Barber as the eighth of his ten Hermit Songs (1952-3).
Fay Sampson wrote a series of books based on the poem. They follow the adventures of Pangur Bán, his friend, Niall the monk, and Finnglas, a Welsh princess.
In the 2009 animated movie The Secret of Kells, which is heavily inspired by Irish mythology, one of the supporting characters is a white cat
The Roman de la rose, pronounced: [ʁɔmɑ̃ də la ʁoz], is a medieval French poem styled as an allegorical dream vision. It is a notable instance of courtly literature. The work's stated purpose is to both entertain and to teach others about the Art of Love. At various times in the poem, the "Rose" of the title is seen as the name of the lady, and as a symbol of female sexuality in general. Likewise, the other characters' names function both as regular names and as abstractions illustrating the various factors that are involved in a love affair.
The poem was written in two stages. The first 4058 lines, written by Guillaume de Lorris circa 1230, describe the attempts of a courtier to woo his beloved. This part of the story is set in a walled garden or locus amoenus, one of the traditional topoi of epic and chivalric literature. In this walled garden, the interior represents romance, while the exterior stands for everyday life. It is unclear whether Lorris considered his version to be incomplete, but it was generally viewed as such. Around 1275, Jean de Meun composed an additional 17,724 lines. Jean's discussion of love is considered more philosophical and encyclopedic, but also more
Shakespeare's sonnets are a collection of 154 sonnets, dealing with themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality, first published in a 1609 quarto entitled SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS.: Never before imprinted. (although sonnets 138 and 144 had previously been published in the 1599 miscellany The Passionate Pilgrim). The quarto ends with "A Lover's Complaint", a narrative poem of 47 seven-line stanzas written in rhyme royal.
The first 17 poems, traditionally called the procreation sonnets, are addressed to a young man urging him to marry and have children in order to immortalise his beauty by passing it to the next generation. Other sonnets express the speaker's love for a young man; brood upon loneliness, death, and the transience of life; seem to criticise the young man for preferring a rival poet; express ambiguous feelings for the speaker's mistress; and pun on the poet's name. The final two sonnets are allegorical treatments of Greek epigrams referring to the "little love-god" Cupid.
The publisher, Thomas Thorpe, entered the book in the Stationers' Register on 20 May 1609:
Whether Thorpe used an authorised manuscript from Shakespeare or an unauthorised copy is
Shui diao ge tou (simplified Chinese: 水调歌头; traditional Chinese: 水調歌頭; pinyin: Shuǐ diào gē tóu) is the name of a traditional Chinese melody to which a poem in the cí style can be sung. Different poets have written different lyrics to the melody which are usually prefixed by the title "水調歌頭". The poem by Song dynasty poet Su Shi, also known as Su Dongpo, 水調歌頭·丙辰中秋 being the most famous. Cí(詞) is one of the literary genres that are unique to the Song dynasty, and can be sung to melody. Many ancient melodies are lost to history, but modern composers often compose new melodies for cí.
In 1983, Liang Hong Zhi (梁弘誌) set Su's poem to new music as the song "Wishing We Last Forever" (但願人長久). This new setting was recorded by Teresa Teng in her album dan dan you qing (淡淡幽情), which also contained songs based on other poems from the Tang and Song dynasties. Later artists such as Faye Wong, Jacky Cheung and China Flowers (芳華十八) covered this song in albums and concerts.
In June 1956, Mao Zedong wrote the poem "游泳" ("Swimming") which is also rhymed to the tune of Shuǐ diào gē tóu.
"Tam o' Shanter" is a poem written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1790.
First published in 1791, it is one of Burns's longer poems, and employs a mixture of Scots and English. It tells the story of a man who stayed too long at a public house and witnessed a disturbing vision on his way home.
The name is often misspelled "Tam O'Shanter", by mistaking "o'", a contraction of "of", for the Irish patronymic prefix "O'".
The poem begins:
When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate,
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
After Burns has located us geographically:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonnie lasses).
(a quote that gave Ayr United F.C. their nickname "the honest men"), Tam sits and drinks with his friends, and the reader is regaled with a dark prophecy of Tam's wife Kate:
She prophesied that late or soon,
The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish (Russian: Сказка о рыбаке и рыбке, Skazka o rybake i rybke) is a fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin wrote the tale in autumn 1833 and it was first published in the literary magazine Biblioteka dlya chteniya in May 1835. The tale is about a fisherman who manages to catch a "Golden Fish" which promises to fulfill any wish of his in exchange for its freedom. The storyline is similar to the Russian fairy tale The Greedy Old Wife (according to Vladimir Propp) and the Brothers Grimm's tale The Fisherman and His Wife.
In Pushkin's poem, an old man and woman have been living poorly for many years. They have a small hut, and every day the man goes out to fish. One day, he throws in his net and pulls out seaweed two times in succession, but on the third time he pulls out a golden fish. The fish pleads for its life, promising any wish in return. However, the old man does not want anything, and lets the fish go. When he returns and tells his wife about the golden fish, she gets angry and tells her husband to go ask the fish for a new washboard, as theirs is broken, and the fish happily grants this small request. The next day, the wife asks
The Twelve (Russian: Двенадцать, Dvenadtsat) is a controversial long poem by Aleksandr Blok. Written early in 1918, the poem was one of the first poetic responses to the October Revolution of 1917.
The poem describes the march of twelve Bolshevik soldiers (likened to the Twelve Apostles) through the streets of revolutionary Petrograd, with a fierce winter blizzard raging around them. The mood of the Twelve as conveyed by the poem oscillates from base and even sadistic aggression towards everything perceived bourgeois and counter-revolutionary, to strict discipline and sense of "revolutionary duty." In a violent clash with a vigilante deserter, a prostitute (who is accused of killing an officer) is killed by one of the Twelve (Peter), who appears unusually struck by the accident and later reveals to his comrades that he had been in love with the woman. However, after the others remind him that in these revolutionary times one's personal tragedies are nothing, the murderer regains his determination and continues the march. In the last stanza of the poem, most controversially, a figure of Christ is seen in the snowstorm, heading the march of the Twelve.
The Twelve, with its
"Tulips" is a poem by American poet Sylvia Plath. The poem was written in 1961 and included in the collection Ariel published in 1965.
"Tulips" is written in nine 7-line stanzas, totaling sixty-three lines, and follows no rhyme scheme. Richard Grey comments on the verse that it is "nominally free but has a subtle iambic base; the lines... ...move quietly and mellifluously; and a sense of hidden melody ('learning' / 'lying', 'lying by myself quietly', 'light lies', 'white walls') transforms apparently casual remarks into memorable speech."
Ted Hughes has stated "Tulips" was written about some flowers she received while in a hospital recovering from an appendectomy." Unlike many of her other Ariel poems, "Tulips" was written long before her eventual suicide in 1963.
The speaker is in a hospital bed and describes her experience using an image of red tulips (presumably a gift) that interrupt her calm stay in the white hospital. During her stay at the hospital she has given up everything, including her identity, as expressed by the lines:
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anaesthetist and my
The Wessobrunn Prayer, sometimes called the Wessobrunn Creation Poem (German: Wessobrunner Gebet, Wessobrunner Schöpfungsgedicht), believed to date from c790, is among the earliest known poetic works in Old High German.
The poem is named after Wessobrunn Abbey, a Benedictine monastery at in Bavaria, for centuries the repository of the sole manuscript, which is now in the Bavarian State Library in Munich (ref: Clm 22053, III, ff 65b/66a).
The date of composition is put at around 790 or a little later, while the surviving manuscript dates from about 814. The author of the verses is unknown, although from the content and a couple of linguistic features (see below), it seems highly probable that it was composed after an Anglo-Saxon model for use in the Christian missions to the heathen taking place in Germany at this time.
The place of origin of the manuscript is also unknown. It was not written in Wessobrunn; a number of Bavarian religious establishments could have produced it, the most likely being Augsburg or Regensburg. The conspicuous oddity in this manuscript of the use of the star-rune as a shorthand symbol for the syllable "ga-" is shared by only one other manuscript, also