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.


By Thomas Hardy

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy, . . .

Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person'd God

By John Donne

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend . . .

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

By John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow . . .

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)

By Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words - . . .

How many times these low feet staggered (238)

By Emily Dickinson

How many times these low feet staggered -
Only the soldered mouth can tell -
Try - can you stir the awful rivet - . . .

Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness

By John Donne

Since I am coming to that holy room,
         Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made thy music; as I come . . .

A Hymn to God the Father

By John Donne

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
         Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run, . . .