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.

On Monsieur’s Departure

By Queen Elizabeth I

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant, . . .

On Shakespeare. 1630

By John Milton

What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones,
The labor of an age in pilèd stones,
Or that his hallowed relics should be hid    . . .

On the Death of Anne Brontë

By Charlotte Brontë

THERE 's little joy in life for me,
      And little terror in the grave;
I 've lived the parting hour to see . . .

On the Death of Richard West

By Thomas Gray

In vain to me the smiling Mornings shine,
And reddening Phœbus lifts his golden fire;
The birds in vain their amorous descant join; . . .

On Virtue

By Phillis Wheatley

O thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach. . . .


By Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, . . .

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