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.

Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room

By William Wordsworth

Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels; . . .

The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd

By Sir Walter Ralegh

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every Shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move, . . .

Ode 

By Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers . . .

Ode on a Grecian Urn

By John Keats

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
       Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express . . .

Ode on Solitude

By Alexander Pope

Happy the man, whose wish and care
   A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air, . . .

['Often rebuked, yet always back returning']

By Emily Brontë

Often rebuked, yet always back returning
    To those first feelings that were born with me,
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning . . .

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes

By Charlotte Smith

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
      How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the withered rose, . . .

Old Ironsides

By Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
   Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see . . .

On a Drop of Dew

By Andrew Marvell

See how the orient dew,
Shed from the bosom of the morn   
   Into the blowing roses, . . .

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 . . .