Pre-20th Century Poems

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ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2013-2014 Poetry Out Loud competition. More information here.

It was not Death, for I stood up, (355)

By Emily Dickinson

It was not Death, for I stood up,
And all the Dead, lie down -
It was not Night, for all the Bells . . .

January, 1795

By Mary Robinson

Pavement slipp’ry, people sneezing,
Lords in ermine, beggars freezing;
Titled gluttons dainties carving, . . .

['Joy of my life, full oft for loving you']

By Edmund Spenser

Joy of my life, full oft for loving you
    I bless my lot, that was so lucky placed:
    But then the more your own mishap I rue, . . .

Kubla Khan

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran . . .

La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad

By John Keats

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
       Alone and palely loitering?
The sedgesedge Grasslike or rushlike plant that grows in wet areas. has withered from the lake, . . .

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

By William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, . . .

Let the Light Enter

By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

“Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
        And my life is ebbing low,
Throw the windows widely open: . . .

A Letter to her Husband, absent upon Publick employment

By Anne Bradstreet

My head, my heart, mine Eyes, my life, nay more,
My joy, my Magazine of earthly store,
If two be one, as surely thou and I, . . .

Life

By Edith Wharton

Life, like a marble block, is given to all,
A blank, inchoate mass of years and days,
Whence one with ardent chisel swift essays . . .

Life in a Love

By Robert Browning

Escape me?
Never—
Beloved! . . .