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.

Epitaph on the Tombstone of a Child, the Last of Seven that Died Before

By Aphra Behn

This Little, Silent, Gloomy Monument,
Contains all that was sweet and innocent ; . . .


By Ralph Waldo Emerson

The lords of life, the lords of life,—
I saw them pass,
In their own guise, . . .


By Edith Wharton


Like Crusoe with the bootless gold we stand . . .

The Fair Singer

By Andrew Marvell

To make a final conquest of all me,
Love did compose so sweet an enemy,
In whom both beauties to my death agree, . . .

A Fit of Rhyme against Rhyme

By Ben Jonson

Rhyme, the rack of finest wits,
That expresseth but by fits
True conceit, . . .


By Margaret Fuller

We deemed the secret lost, the spirit gone,
Which spake in Greek simplicity of thought,
And in the forms of gods and heroes wrought . . .

Floating Island

By Dorothy Wordsworth

Harmonious Powers with Nature work
On sky, earth, river, lake, and sea:
Sunshine and storm, whirlwind and breeze . . .

Follow Thy Fair Sun

By Thomas Campion

Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow,
Though thou be black as night
And she made all of light, . . .


By Thomas Carlyle

The wind blows east, the wind blows west,
And the frost falls and the rain:
A weary heart went thankful to rest, . . .

Friendship After Love

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
    Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
    In the intensity of its own fires, . . .