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.

Mezzo Cammin

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Half of my life is gone, and I have let
   The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
   The aspiration of my youth, to build . . .

The moon now rises to her absolute rule

By Henry David Thoreau

The moon now rises to her absolute rule,
And the husbandman and hunter
Acknowledge her for their mistress. . . .

The Man with the Hoe

By Edwin Markham

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans   
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,   
The emptiness of ages in his face, . . .

A narrow fellow in the grass (1096)

By Emily Dickinson

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him—did you not . . .

The Natural Child

By Helen Leigh

Let not the title of my verse offend,
   Nor let the pride contract her rigid brow;
That helpless Innocence demands a friend, . . .

The New Colossus

By Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand . . .

The New Decalogue

By Ambrose Bierce

Have but one God: thy knees were sore
If bent in prayer to three or four.
. . .

News

By Thomas Traherne

News from a foreign country came,
As if my treasures and my joys lay there;
         So much it did my heart inflame, . . .

No Coward Soul Is Mine

By Emily Brontë

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven's glories shine . . .

A Noiseless Patient Spider

By Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, . . .