Pre-20th Century Poems

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ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2014-2015 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 . . .

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 . . .