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.

The Idler

By Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

An idle lingerer on the wayside's road,
  He gathers up his work and yawns away;
  A little longer, ere the tiresome load . . .

In a London Drawingroom

By George Eliot

The sky is cloudy, yellowed by the smoke.
For view there are the houses opposite
Cutting the sky with one long line of wall . . .

In School-days

By John Greenleaf Whittier

Still sits the school-house by the road,
   A ragged beggar sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow, . . .

In the Desert

By Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground, . . .

Infelix

By Adah Isaacs Menken

Where is the promise of my years;
    Once written on my brow?
Ere errors, agonies and fears . . .

Insomnia

By Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep . . .

Introduction to the Songs of Innocence

By William Blake

Piping down the valleys wild 
Piping songs of pleasant glee 
On a cloud I saw a child.  . . .

Invictus

By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be . . .

Invitation to Love

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or come when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars . . .

Is My Team Ploughing

By A. E. Housman

“Is my team ploughing,
   That I was used to drive
And hear the harness jingle . . .