Pre-20th Century Poems


ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the current Poetry Out Loud competition. More information here.

The Days Gone By

By James Whitcomb Riley

O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The apples in the orchard, and the pathway through the rye;
The chirrup of the robin, and the whistle of the quail . . .

The Definition of Love

By Andrew Marvell

My love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair . . .

Delia 33: When men shall find thy flower, thy glory, pass

By Samuel Daniel

When men shall find thy flower, thy glory, pass,
And thou with careful brow sitting alone . . .

The Destruction of Sennacherib

By Lord Byron (George Gordon)

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, . . .

Dirge in Woods

By George Meredith

A wind sways the pines,
         And below
Not a breath of wild air; . . .

The Doubt of Future Foes

By Queen Elizabeth I

The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy;
For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects’ faith doth ebb, . . .

Dover Beach

By Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light . . .