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.

An Autumn Sunset

By Edith Wharton

I

Leaguered in fire . . .

Battle-Hymn of the Republic

By Julia Ward Howe

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fatal lightning of his terrible swift sword: . . .

Before the Birth of One of Her Children

By Anne Bradstreet

All things within this fading world hath end,   
Adversity doth still our joyes attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,    . . .

Bereavement

By William Lisle Bowles

Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet,
      Promised methought long days of bliss sincere!
      Soothing it stole on my deluded ear, . . .

A Birthday

By Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree . . .

A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

By Lewis Carroll

A BOAT beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July — . . .

Break, Break, Break

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Break, break, break,
         On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter . . .

Break of Day

By John Donne

‘Tis true, ‘tis day, what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise because ‘tis light? . . .

Bright Star

By John Keats

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart, . . .

The Canonization

By John Donne

For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love,
         Or chide my palsy, or my gout,
My five gray hairs, or ruined fortune flout, . . .