Pre-20th Century Poems


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

The Author to Her Book

By Anne Bradstreet

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, . . .

An Autumn Sunset

By Edith Wharton


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,    . . .


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? . . .

A Celebration of Charis: I. His Excuse for Loving

By Ben Jonson

Let it not your wonder move,
Less your laughter, that I love.
Though I now write fifty years, . . .