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.

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! . . .

Light Shining out of Darkness

By William Cowper

1
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform; . . .

Lines Written in Early Spring

By William Wordsworth

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts . . .

London

By William Blake

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow. 
And mark in every face I meet . . .

Love Armed

By Aphra Behn

Love in Fantastic Triumph sat,
Whilst Bleeding Hearts around him flowed,
For whom Fresh pains he did Create, . . .

Love (III)

By George Herbert

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew backLove bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back compare Song of Solomon 5:6. "I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had with drawen himself" (Authorized Version, 1611). "Bade" is past tense of "bid," and in Herbert's time was pronounced like "bad."
    . . .

Love Lives Beyond the Tomb

By John Clare

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew—
               I love the fond, . . .

Love’s Philosophy

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river
   And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever . . .

Lovers' Infiniteness

By John Donne

If yet I have not all thy love,
Dear, I shall never have it all;
I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move, . . .