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My Favorite Poets & Poems, Part I: The Romanticists

  • Nov 10, 2010
I know that while this list doesn't fall into the category of books, this community accepts reviews and lists on all forms of literature and it occurred to me that poetry hasn't been touched upon often enough. As such, I have decided to create a new series of lists featuring some of my favorite poems and to keep them from being purely textual I'm including some works of art that I associate with each particular piece of poetry. Enjoy.
William Blake
Hear the Voice
by William Blake

Hear the voice of the Bard,
Who present, past, and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walk'd among the ancient trees;

Calling the lapsèd soul,
And weeping in the evening dew,
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!

'O Earth, 'O Earth, return!
Arise from the dewy grass!
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.

'Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.'

Lord George Gordon Byron
She Walks in Beauty
by Lord George Gordon Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven trees,
Or softly lightens o'er her fave;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Percy Bysshe Shelley
To Night
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and clear,
Swift by thy Flight!

Wrap thy form in mantle gray,
Blind with thine hair the eyes of day;
Kiss her until she be wearied out,
Then wander o'er the city, and sea, and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand--
Come, long-sought!

When I arose and saw the dawn,
I sighed for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turned to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,
I sighed for thee.

John Keats
Bright Star
by John Keats

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round
earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors:
No-- yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast
To feel forever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest;
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever-- or else swoon to death.

Edgar Allen Poe
The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; -- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow-- sorrow for the lost Lenore--
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me-- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

"'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure i heard you"-- here I opened wide the door;--
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long stood I there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there was spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door--
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, though," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning-- little relevance bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door--
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such a name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered-- not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before--

On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never-- nevermore.'"

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining with the lamp-light gl
oating o'er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee-- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite-- respite and nepenthe from my memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by Horror haunted-- tell me truly, I implore--
Is there balm in Gilead? -- tell me-- tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us-- by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and t
he Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie they soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door!
Take they beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted-- nevermore!

Emily Brontë
Fall, Leaves, Fall
by Emily Brontë

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from every tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow;
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

What did you think of this list?

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December 23, 2010
Great idea for a list--and the artwork paired with the poems is a very nice touch too. I just nominated you for an award.
January 12, 2011
Aw, you're so sweet!
January 12, 2011
December 16, 2010
Excellent job Count
December 16, 2010
Thanks. I'm trying to figure out what and who to include on my second list.
December 23, 2010
How about Yeats, for the irish out there.
November 18, 2010
The verbal composition designed really convey experiences, ideas, and emotions in a vivid and imaginative way, characterized by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and the use of literary techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme is very powerful. Thanks for posting
November 16, 2010
Lovely "ecphrasis": poems paired with paintings. I've found this a great way to introduce literature to students in our more visually oriented era, by the way.
November 16, 2010
Yeah, I guess depending on how you look at it it's either sad or encouraging. On the one hand, I think it's a shame that people are frightened away by poetry and classic literature because of the linguistic differences or because they don't want to read something long and entirely textual. However, it is good to know that people can learn to appreciate these writings with the help of visual aides.
November 12, 2010
Great list but I am not much for poems and poetry. woopak doesn't talk flowery but lets action speak for him LOL!
November 12, 2010
Then why review? That's a reaction and it involves words. ; )
November 13, 2010
yeah....but I don't sound flowery and my english is bad LOL!
November 13, 2010
Be that as it may, vile miscreant, thou hath besmirch me. LOL!
November 13, 2010
LOL! There you go!
November 12, 2010
Good list and great to see the art you use with each poem, I remember when I first read The Raven by Poe and I was just mesmerized by the rhythm and the mysterious atmosphere of it.
November 12, 2010
I love that one. I was at first hesitant to include it here since it's much gloomier and it's so long, but the list just wasn't complete without it.
November 12, 2010
Thank you so much for creating a list about poetry. I'm hoping to make some poetry badges soon, so if you have any suggestions and lists of poems you wanted added, let me know. I might start with a romantics poetry badge and add these poems and a few others to the list. I've been reading a lot of poetry today as I study for my GRE test. I'll also be featuring your list in our November newsletter, which I will send out next week. I'll update the homepage then as well. Let's get more people thinking about poetry!
November 12, 2010
I'll probably do another list of various Victorian Era poets, including the Pre-Raphaelites and some other Romanticists. After that, I may go way back and do Medieval or Renaissance.
November 14, 2010
Sounds good to me. I'll probably just base the poetry badges off your lists initially since you're an expert on them in our community. Not sure when I will get around to making them as I've been crazy busy studying for GRE tests. Once I put them up, I'll ask you for some advice on any other names/poems to include. Looking forward to more of your lists!
November 14, 2010
I'm no expert. Ask Will. He knows more about the badges than I do.
November 14, 2010
Sounds good. :)
November 11, 2010
Lovely, Sean. Thanks for sharing :)
November 11, 2010
Thanks. It occurred to me I had done so many lists on artists and art, but nothing like this. Hopefully people will enjoy it. It's a change of pace, but I wanted to do something new.
November 11, 2010
Beautiful poems, thanks for sharing them! All I've been reading today is my baby's books, I need to dig out some poetry to read to her - I bet she would find it fascinating :)
November 11, 2010
There are some wonderful poetry collections for children out there. Do you have any?
November 12, 2010
I only have Russian ones, but I'm sure our library has more than enough for us to explore! :)
November 12, 2010
Oooh, you ought to consider doing a list of some Russian poems. That would be interesting and would be a great way to introduce Lunchers to some unfamiliar writers. : )
November 13, 2010
yes! yes! Russian poems please!
November 13, 2010
I'll put it on my to do list, but no promises. I've got my plate full at the moment! If I post them in Russian, how would you read them? :)
November 27, 2010
I'd figure something out.
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