Pre-20th Century Poems

ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2017-2018 competition.

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By George Moses Horton

I lov’d thee from the earliest dawn,
     When first I saw thy beauty’s ray,
And will, until life’s eve comes on,...

By William Blake

The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies.
The merry bells ring...

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King;
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring; ...

By Mary Lamb

This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
   Nor the sweet mignionet: ...

By Robert Browning

At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
When you set your fancies free,
Will they pass to where—by death, fools think, imprisoned—...

By Christopher Smart

It ever was allow’d, dear Madam,   
Ev’n from the days of father Adam,   
Of all perfection flesh is heir to,   ...

By Katherine Philips

What on Earth deserves our trust?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain,...

By Thomas Carew

This little vault, this narrow room,
Of Love, and Beauty, is the tomb;
The dawning beam that gan to clear ...

By Aphra Behn


This Little, Silent, Gloomy Monument,
Contains all that was sweet and innocent ;...

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

The lords of life, the lords of life,—
I saw them pass,
In their own guise,...

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