Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

CreationEarth Nature Photos

Best Famous Sidney Lanier Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Sidney Lanier poems. This is a select list of the best famous Sidney Lanier poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Sidney Lanier poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Sidney Lanier poems.

Search for the best famous Sidney Lanier poems, articles about Sidney Lanier poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Sidney Lanier poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also:

Famous poems below this ad
Written by Sidney Lanier |

A Ballad Of The Trees And The Master

 Into the woods my Master went,
Clean forspent, forspent.
Into the woods my Master came, Forspent with love and shame.
But the olives they were not blind to Him, The little gray leaves were kind to Him: The thorn-tree had a mind to Him When into the woods He came.
Out of the woods my Master went, And He was well content.
Out of the woods my Master came, Content with death and shame.
When Death and Shame would woo Him last, From under the trees they drew Him last: 'Twas on a tree they slew Him -- last When out of the woods He came.

Written by Sidney Lanier |


 A pale enchanted moon is sinking low
Behind the dunes that fringe the shadowy lea, 
And there is haunted starlight on the flow
Of immemorial sea.
I am alone and need no more pretend Laughter or smile to hide a hungry heart; I walk with solitude as with a friend Enfolded and apart.
We tread an eerie road across the moor Where shadows weave upon their ghostly looms, And winds sing an old lyric that might lure Sad queens from ancient tombs.
I am a sister to the loveliness Of cool far hill and long-remembered shore, Finding in it a sweet forgetfulness Of all that hurt before.
The world of day, its bitterness and cark, No longer have the power to make me weep; I welcome this communion of the dark As toilers welcome sleep.

Written by Sidney Lanier |

The Wedding

 O marriage-bells, your clamor tells
Two weddings in one breath.
SHE marries whom her love compels: -- And I wed Goodman Death! My brain is blank, my tears are red; Listen, O God: -- "I will," he said: -- And I would that I were dead.
Come groomsman Grief and bridesmaid Pain Come and stand with a ghastly twain.
My Bridegroom Death is come o'er the meres To wed a bride with bloody tears.
Ring, ring, O bells, full merrily: Life-bells to her, death-bells to me: O Death, I am true wife to thee!

More great poems below...

Written by Sidney Lanier |

A Birthday Song. To S. G.

 For ever wave, for ever float and shine
Before my yearning eyes, oh! dream of mine
Wherein I dreamed that time was like a vine,

A creeping rose, that clomb a height of dread
Out of the sea of Birth, all filled with dead,
Up to the brilliant cloud of Death o'erhead.
This vine bore many blossoms, which were years.
Their petals, red with joy, or bleached by tears, Waved to and fro i' the winds of hopes and fears.
Here all men clung, each hanging by his spray.
Anon, one dropped; his neighbor 'gan to pray; And so they clung and dropped and prayed, alway.
But I did mark one lately-opened bloom, Wherefrom arose a visible perfume That wrapped me in a cloud of dainty gloom.
And rose -- an odor by a spirit haunted -- And drew me upward with a speed enchanted, Swift floating, by wild sea or sky undaunted, Straight through the cloud of death, where men are free.
I gained a height, and stayed and bent my knee.
Then glowed my cloud, and broke and unveiled thee.
"O flower-born and flower-souled!" I said, "Be the year-bloom that breathed thee ever red, Nor wither, yellow, down among the dead.
"May all that cling to sprays of time, like me, Be sweetly wafted over sky and sea By rose-breaths shrining maidens like to thee!" Then while we sat upon the height afar Came twilight, like a lover late from war, With soft winds fluting to his evening star.
And the shy stars grew bold and scattered gold, And chanting voices ancient secrets told, And an acclaim of angels earthward rolled.

Written by Sidney Lanier |


 Sometimes in morning sunlights by the river
Where in the early fall long grasses wave,
Light winds from over the moorland sink and shiver
And sigh as if just blown across a grave.
And then I pause and listen to this sighing.
I look with strange eyes on the well-known stream.
I hear wild birth-cries uttered by the dying.
I know men waking who appear to dream.
Then from the water-lilies slow uprises The still vast face of all the life I know, Changed now, and full of wonders and surprises, With fire in eyes that once were glazed with snow.
Fair now the brows old Pain had erewhile wrinkled, And peace and strength about the calm mouth dwell.
Clean of the ashes that Repentance sprinkled, The meek head poises like a flower-bell.
All the old scars of wanton wars are vanished; And what blue bruises grappling Sense had left And sad remains of redder stains are banished, And the dim blotch of heart-committed theft.
O still vast vision of transfigured features Unvisited by secret crimes or dooms, Remain, remain amid these water-creatures, Stand, shine among yon water-lily blooms.
For eighteen centuries ripple down the river, And windy times the stalks of empires wave, -- Let the winds come from the moor and sigh and shiver, Fain, fain am I, O Christ, to pass the grave.

Written by Sidney Lanier |

My Springs

 In the heart of the Hills of Life, I know
Two springs that with unbroken flow
Forever pour their lucent streams
Into my soul's far Lake of Dreams.
Not larger than two eyes, they lie Beneath the many-changing sky And mirror all of life and time, -- Serene and dainty pantomime.
Shot through with lights of stars and dawns, And shadowed sweet by ferns and fawns, -- Thus heaven and earth together vie Their shining depths to sanctify.
Always when the large Form of Love Is hid by storms that rage above, I gaze in my two springs and see Love in his very verity.
Always when Faith with stifling stress Of grief hath died in bitterness, I gaze in my two springs and see A Faith that smiles immortally.
Always when Charity and Hope, In darkness bounden, feebly grope, I gaze in my two springs and see A Light that sets my captives free.
Always, when Art on perverse wing Flies where I cannot hear him sing, I gaze in my two springs and see A charm that brings him back to me.
When Labor faints, and Glory fails, And coy Reward in sighs exhales, I gaze in my two springs and see Attainment full and heavenly.
O Love, O Wife, thine eyes are they, -- My springs from out whose shining gray Issue the sweet celestial streams That feed my life's bright Lake of Dreams.
Oval and large and passion-pure And gray and wise and honor-sure; Soft as a dying violet-breath Yet calmly unafraid of death; Thronged, like two dove-cotes of gray doves, With wife's and mother's and poor-folk's loves, And home-loves and high glory-loves And science-loves and story-loves, And loves for all that God and man In art and nature make or plan, And lady-loves for spidery lace And broideries and supple grace And diamonds and the whole sweet round Of littles that large life compound, And loves for God and God's bare truth, And loves for Magdalen and Ruth, Dear eyes, dear eyes and rare complete -- Being heavenly-sweet and earthly-sweet, -- I marvel that God made you mine, For when He frowns, 'tis then ye shine!

Written by Sidney Lanier |

Joness Porvate Argyment

 That air same Jones, which lived in Jones,
He had this pint about him:
He'd swear with a hundred sighs and groans,
That farmers MUST stop gittin' loans,
And git along without 'em:

That bankers, warehousemen, and sich
Was fatt'nin' on the planter,
And Tennessy was rotten-rich
A-raisin' meat and corn, all which
Draw'd money to Atlanta:

And the only thing (says Jones) to do
Is, eat no meat that's boughten:
`But tear up every I, O, U,
And plant all corn and swear for true
To quit a-raisin' cotton!'

Thus spouted Jones (whar folks could hear,
-- At Court and other gatherin's),
And thus kep' spoutin' many a year,
Proclaimin' loudly far and near
Sich fiddlesticks and blatherin's.
But, one all-fired sweatin' day, It happened I was hoein' My lower corn-field, which it lay 'Longside the road that runs my way Whar I can see what's goin'.
And a'ter twelve o'clock had come I felt a kinder faggin', And laid myself un'neath a plum To let my dinner settle sum, When 'long come Jones's waggin, And Jones was settin' in it, SO: A-readin' of a paper.
His mules was goin' powerful slow, Fur he had tied the lines onto The staple of the scraper.
The mules they stopped about a rod From me, and went to feedin' 'Longside the road, upon the sod, But Jones (which he had tuck a tod) Not knowin', kept a-readin'.
And presently says he: "Hit's true; That Clisby's head is level.
Thar's one thing farmers all must do, To keep themselves from goin' tew Bankruptcy and the devil! "More corn! more corn! MUST plant less ground, And MUSTN'T eat what's boughten! Next year they'll do it: reasonin's sound: (And, cotton will fetch 'bout a dollar a pound), THARFORE, I'LL plant ALL cotton!"

Written by Sidney Lanier |

The Bee

 What time I paced, at pleasant morn,
A deep and dewy wood,
I heard a mellow hunting-horn
Make dim report of Dian's lustihood
Far down a heavenly hollow.
Mine ear, though fain, had pain to follow: `Tara!' it twanged, `tara-tara!' it blew, Yet wavered oft, and flew Most ficklewise about, or here, or there, A music now from earth and now from air.
But on a sudden, lo! I marked a blossom shiver to and fro With dainty inward storm; and there within A down-drawn trump of yellow jessamine A bee Thrust up its sad-gold body lustily, All in a honey madness hotly bound On blissful burglary.
A cunning sound In that wing-music held me: down I lay In amber shades of many a golden spray, Where looping low with languid arms the Vine In wreaths of ravishment did overtwine Her kneeling Live-Oak, thousand-fold to plight Herself unto her own true stalwart knight.
As some dim blur of distant music nears The long-desiring sense, and slowly clears To forms of time and apprehensive tune, So, as I lay, full soon Interpretation throve: the bee's fanfare, Through sequent films of discourse vague as air, Passed to plain words, while, fanning faint perfume, The bee o'erhung a rich, unrifled bloom: "O Earth, fair lordly Blossom, soft a-shine Upon the star-pranked universal vine, Hast nought for me? To thee Come I, a poet, hereward haply blown, From out another worldflower lately flown.
Wilt ask, `What profit e'er a poet brings?' He beareth starry stuff about his wings To pollen thee and sting thee fertile: nay, If still thou narrow thy contracted way, -- Worldflower, if thou refuse me -- -- Worldflower, if thou abuse me, And hoist thy stamen's spear-point high To wound my wing and mar mine eye -- Nathless I'll drive me to thy deepest sweet, Yea, richlier shall that pain the pollen beat From me to thee, for oft these pollens be Fine dust from wars that poets wage for thee.
But, O beloved Earthbloom soft a-shine Upon the universal Jessamine, Prithee, abuse me not, Prithee, refuse me not, Yield, yield the heartsome honey love to me Hid in thy nectary!" And as I sank into a dimmer dream The pleading bee's song-burthen sole did seem: "Hast ne'er a honey-drop of love for me In thy huge nectary?"

Written by Sidney Lanier |

The Raven Days

 Our hearths are gone out and our hearts are broken,
And but the ghosts of homes to us remain,
And ghastly eyes and hollow sighs give token
From friend to friend of an unspoken pain.
O Raven days, dark Raven days of sorrow, Bring to us in your whetted ivory beaks Some sign out of the far land of To-morrow, Some strip of sea-green dawn, some orange streaks.
Ye float in dusky files, forever croaking.
Ye chill our manhood with your dreary shade.
Dumb in the dark, not even God invoking, We lie in chains, too weak to be afraid.
O Raven days, dark Raven days of sorrow, Will ever any warm light come again? Will ever the lit mountains of To-morrow Begin to gleam athwart the mournful plain?

Written by Sidney Lanier |

The Waving Of The Corn

 Ploughman, whose gnarly hand yet kindly wheeled
Thy plough to ring this solitary tree
With clover, whose round plat, reserved a-field,
In cool green radius twice my length may be --
Scanting the corn thy furrows else might yield,
To pleasure August, bees, fair thoughts, and me,
That here come oft together -- daily I,
Stretched prone in summer's mortal ecstasy,
Do stir with thanks to thee, as stirs this morn
With waving of the corn.
Unseen, the farmer's boy from round the hill Whistles a snatch that seeks his soul unsought, And fills some time with tune, howbeit shrill; The cricket tells straight on his simple thought -- Nay, 'tis the cricket's way of being still; The peddler bee drones in, and gossips naught; Far down the wood, a one-desiring dove Times me the beating of the heart of love: And these be all the sounds that mix, each morn, With waving of the corn.
From here to where the louder passions dwell, Green leagues of hilly separation roll: Trade ends where yon far clover ridges swell.
Ye terrible Towns, ne'er claim the trembling soul That, craftless all to buy or hoard or sell, From out your deadly complex quarrel stole To company with large amiable trees, Suck honey summer with unjealous bees, And take Time's strokes as softly as this morn Takes waving of the corn.

Written by Sidney Lanier |

From The Flats.

 What heartache -- ne'er a hill!
Inexorable, vapid, vague and chill
The drear sand-levels drain my spirit low.
With one poor word they tell me all they know; Whereat their stupid tongues, to tease my pain, Do drawl it o'er again and o'er again.
They hurt my heart with griefs I cannot name: Always the same, the same.
Nature hath no surprise, No ambuscade of beauty 'gainst mine eyes From brake or lurking dell or deep defile; No humors, frolic forms -- this mile, that mile; No rich reserves or happy-valley hopes Beyond the bend of roads, the distant slopes.
Her fancy fails, her wild is all run tame: Ever the same, the same.
Oh might I through these tears But glimpse some hill my Georgia high uprears, Where white the quartz and pink the pebble shine, The hickory heavenward strives, the muscadine Swings o'er the slope, the oak's far-falling shade Darkens the dogwood in the bottom glade, And down the hollow from a ferny nook Bright leaps a living brook!

Written by Sidney Lanier |


 My soul is sailing through the sea,
But the Past is heavy and hindereth me.
The Past hath crusted cumbrous shells That hold the flesh of cold sea-mells About my soul.
The huge waves wash, the high waves roll, Each barnacle clingeth and worketh dole And hindereth me from sailing! Old Past let go, and drop i' the sea Till fathomless waters cover thee! For I am living but thou art dead; Thou drawest back, I strive ahead The Day to find.
Thy shells unbind! Night comes behind, I needs must hurry with the wind And trim me best for sailing.

Written by Sidney Lanier |


 O Hunger, Hunger, I will harness thee
And make thee harrow all my spirit's glebe.
Of old the blind bard Herve sang so sweet He made a wolf to plow his land.

Written by Sidney Lanier |

On A Palmetto

 Through all that year-scarred agony of height,
Unblest of bough or bloom, to where expands
His wandy circlet with his bladed bands
Dividing every wind, or loud or light,
To termless hymns of love and old despite,
Yon tall palmetto in the twilight stands,
Bare Dante of these purgatorial sands
That glimmer marginal to the monstrous night.
Comes him a Southwind from the scented vine, It breathes of Beatrice through all his blades, North, East or West, Guelph-wind or Ghibelline, 'Tis shredded into music down the shades; All sea-breaths, land-breaths, systol, diastol, Sway, minstrels of that grief-melodious Soul.

Written by Sidney Lanier |

To Beethoven

 In o'er-strict calyx lingering,
Lay music's bud too long unblown,
Till thou, Beethoven, breathed the spring:
Then bloomed the perfect rose of tone.
O Psalmist of the weak, the strong, O Troubadour of love and strife, Co-Litanist of right and wrong, Sole Hymner of the whole of life, I know not how, I care not why, -- Thy music sets my world at ease, And melts my passion's mortal cry In satisfying symphonies.
It soothes my accusations sour 'Gainst thoughts that fray the restless soul: The stain of death; the pain of power; The lack of love 'twixt part and whole; The yea-nay of Freewill and Fate, Whereof both cannot be, yet are; The praise a poet wins too late Who starves from earth into a star; The lies that serve great parties well, While truths but give their Christ a cross; The loves that send warm souls to hell, While cold-blood neuters take no loss; Th' indifferent smile that nature's grace On Jesus, Judas, pours alike; Th' indifferent frown on nature's face When luminous lightnings strangely strike The sailor praying on his knees And spare his mate that's cursing God; How babes and widows starve and freeze, Yet Nature will not stir a clod; Why Nature blinds us in each act Yet makes no law in mercy bend, No pitfall from our feet retract, No storm cry out `Take shelter, friend;' Why snakes that crawl the earth should ply Rattles, that whoso hears may shun, While serpent lightnings in the sky, But rattle when the deed is done; How truth can e'er be good for them That have not eyes to bear its strength, And yet how stern our lights condemn Delays that lend the darkness length; To know all things, save knowingness; To grasp, yet loosen, feeling's rein; To waste no manhood on success; To look with pleasure upon pain; Though teased by small mixt social claims, To lose no large simplicity, And midst of clear-seen crimes and shames To move with manly purity; To hold, with keen, yet loving eyes, Art's realm from Cleverness apart, To know the Clever good and wise, Yet haunt the lonesome heights of Art; O Psalmist of the weak, the strong, O Troubadour of love and strife, Co-Litanist of right and wrong, Sole Hymner of the whole of life, I know not how, I care not why, Thy music brings this broil at ease, And melts my passion's mortal cry In satisfying symphonies.
Yea, it forgives me all my sins, Fits life to love like rhyme to rhyme, And tunes the task each day begins By the last trumpet-note of Time.