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Best Famous Homer Poems

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

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Written by Ogden Nash |

Very Like a Whale

 One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
metaphor.<br>
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to
go out of their way to say that it is like something else.<br>
What does it mean when we are told
That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?
In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience
To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of
Assyrians.<br>
However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and
thus hinder longevity.<br>
We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.<br>
Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were
gleaming in purple and gold,
Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a
wold on the fold?
In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy
there are great many things.<br>
But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple
and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings.<br>
No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was
actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof;
Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red
mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof Woof?
Frankly I think it is very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say,
at the very most,
Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian
cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host.<br>
But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he
had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them,
With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers
to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of
wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them.<br>
That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets,
from Homer to Tennyson;
They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison,
And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket
after a winter storm.<br>
Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of
snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical
blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm,
And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly
What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.<br>

Written by Robinson Jeffers |

The Epic Stars

 The heroic stars spending themselves,
Coining their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle,
They must burn out at length like used candles;
And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes.<br>
There is the stuff for an epic poem--
This magnificent raid at the heart of darkness, this lost battle--
We don't know enough, we'll never know.<br>
Oh happy Homer, taking the stars and the Gods for granted.<br>

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

The Proud Poet

 (For Shaemas O Sheel)

One winter night a Devil came and sat upon my bed,
His eyes were full of laughter for his heart was full of crime.<br>
"Why don't you take up fancy work, or embroidery?" he said,
"For a needle is as manly a tool as a pen that makes a rhyme!"
"You little ugly Devil," said I, "go back to Hell
For the idea you express I will not listen to:
I have trouble enough with poetry and poverty as well,
Without having to pay attention to orators like you.<br>
"When you say of the making of ballads and songs 
that it is woman's work
You forget all the fighting poets that have been in every land.<br>
There was Byron who left all his lady-loves to fight against the 
Turk,
And David, the Singing King of the Jews,
who was born with a sword in his hand.<br>
It was yesterday that Rupert Brooke went out to the Wars and died,
And Sir Philip Sidney's lyric voice was as sweet as his arm was 
strong;
And Sir Walter Raleigh met the axe as a lover meets his bride,
Because he carried in his soul the courage of his song.<br>
"And there is no consolation so quickening to the 
heart
As the warmth and whiteness that come from the lines of noble poetry.<br>
It is strong joy to read it when the wounds of the spirit smart,
It puts the flame in a lonely breast where only ashes be.<br>
It is strong joy to read it, and to make it is a thing
That exalts a man with a sacreder pride than any pride on earth.<br>
For it makes him kneel to a broken slave and set his foot on a king,
And it shakes the walls of his little soul with the echo of God's 
mirth.<br>
"There was the poet Homer had the sorrow to be 
blind,
Yet a hundred people with good eyes would listen to him all night;
For they took great enjoyment in the heaven of his mind,
And were glad when the old blind poet let them share his powers 
of sight.<br>
And there was Heine lying on his mattress all day long,
He had no wealth, he had no friends, he had no joy at all,
Except to pour his sorrow into little cups of song,
And the world finds in them the magic wine that his broken heart 
let fall.<br>
"And these are only a couple of names from a list 
of a thousand score
Who have put their glory on the world in poverty and pain.<br>
And the title of poet's a noble thing, worth living and dying for,
Though all the devils on earth and in Hell spit at me their disdain.<br>
It is stern work, it is perilous work, to thrust your hand in the 
sun
And pull out a spark of immortal flame to warm the hearts of men:
But Prometheus, torn by the claws and beaks whose task is never 
done,
Would be tortured another eternity to go stealing fire again.<br>"

More great poems below...

Written by Jean Cocteau |

Preamble (A Rough Draft For An Ars Poetica)

 .<br>.<br>.<br>Preamble

A rough draft 
for an ars poetica

.<br> .<br> .<br> .<br> .<br> .<br> .<br> 

Let's get our dreams unstuck

The grain of rye
free from the prattle of grass
et loin de arbres orateurs

I 

plant

it

It will sprout


But forget about 
the rustic festivities

For the explosive word 
falls harmlessly
eternal through
the compact generations 

and except for you

 nothing 
 denotates

its sweet-scented dynamite

Greetings
I discard eloquence
the empty sail
and the swollen sail
which cause the ship 
to lose her course

My ink nicks
and there

and there

 and there

and
there

sleeps 
deep poetry

The mirror-paneled wardrobe 
washing down ice-floes
the little eskimo girl

dreaming
in a heap 
of moist negroes
her nose was
 flattened
against the window-pane 
of dreary Christmases

A white bear
adorned with chromatic moire

dries himself in the midnight sun

Liners

The huge luxury item

Slowly founders
all its lights aglow

and so
sinks the evening-dress ball
into the thousand mirrors 
of the palace hotel

And now
it is I

the thin Columbus of phenomena
alone 
in the front 
of a mirror-paneled wardrobe
full of linen
and locking with a key

The obstinate miner
of the void
exploits
his fertile mine

the potential in the rough
glitters there
mingling with its white rock

 Oh
 princess of the mad sleep
listen to my horn
 and my pack of hounds

I deliver you
from the forest
where we came upon the spell

Here we are
by the pen
one with the other
wedded
on the page

Isles sobs of Ariadne

Ariadnes
 dragging along
 Aridnes seals

for I betray you my fair stanzas
to 
run and awaken
elsewhere

I plan no architecture

Simply
deaf
like you Beethoven

blind
like you
Homer
numberless old man

born everywhere

I elaborate
in the prairies of inner
silence

and the work of the mission
and the poem of the work
and the stanza of the poem
and the group of the stanza
and the words of the group
and the letters of the word
and the least
loop of the letters

it's your foot
of attentive satin
that I place in position
pink
tightrope walker
sucked up by the void

to the left to the right
the god gives a shake
and I walk
towards the other side
 with infinite precaution

Written by John Keats |

On first looking into Chapmans Homer

MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of gold  

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; 

Round many western islands have I been 

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.<br> 

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told 5 

That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne: 

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene 

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: 

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 

When a new planet swims into his ken; 10 

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 

He stared at the Pacific¡ªand all his men 

Look'd at each other with a wild surmise¡ª 

Silent upon a peak in Darien.<br> 

Written by Henry David Thoreau |

The Summer Rain

 My books I'd fain cast off, I cannot read, 
'Twixt every page my thoughts go stray at large 
Down in the meadow, where is richer feed, 
And will not mind to hit their proper targe.<br> 
Plutarch was good, and so was Homer too, 
Our Shakespeare's life were rich to live again, 
What Plutarch read, that was not good nor true, 
Nor Shakespeare's books, unless his books were men.<br> 

Here while I lie beneath this walnut bough, 
What care I for the Greeks or for Troy town, 
If juster battles are enacted now 
Between the ants upon this hummock's crown? 

Bid Homer wait till I the issue learn, 
If red or black the gods will favor most, 
Or yonder Ajax will the phalanx turn, 
Struggling to heave some rock against the host.<br> 

Tell Shakespeare to attend some leisure hour, 
For now I've business with this drop of dew, 
And see you not, the clouds prepare a shower-- 
I'll meet him shortly when the sky is blue.<br> 

This bed of herd's grass and wild oats was spread 
Last year with nicer skill than monarchs use.<br> 
A clover tuft is pillow for my head, 
And violets quite overtop my shoes.<br> 

And now the cordial clouds have shut all in, 
And gently swells the wind to say all's well; 
The scattered drops are falling fast and thin, 
Some in the pool, some in the flower-bell.<br> 

I am well drenched upon my bed of oats; 
But see that globe come rolling down its stem, 
Now like a lonely planet there it floats, 
And now it sinks into my garment's hem.<br> 

Drip drip the trees for all the country round, 
And richness rare distills from every bough; 
The wind alone it is makes every sound, 
Shaking down crystals on the leaves below.<br> 

For shame the sun will never show himself, 
Who could not with his beams e'er melt me so; 
My dripping locks--they would become an elf, 
Who in a beaded coat does gayly go.<br>

Written by Phillis Wheatley |

To Mæcenas

 Mæcenas, you, beneath the myrtle shade,
Read o'er what poets sung, and shepherds play'd.<br>
What felt those poets but you feel the same?
Does not your soul possess the sacred flame?
Their noble strains your equal genius shares
In softer language, and diviner airs.<br>

 While Homer paints, lo! circumfus'd in air,
Celestial Gods in mortal forms appear;
Swift as they move hear each recess rebound, 
Heav'n quakes, earth trembles, and the shores resound.<br>
Great Sire of verse, before my mortal eyes,
The lightnings blaze across the vaulted skies,
And, as the thunder shakes the heav'nly plains,
A deep felt horror thrills through all my veins.<br>
When gentler strains demand thy graceful song,
The length'ning line moves languishing along.<br>
When great Patroclus courts Achilles' aid,
The grateful tribute of my tears is paid;
Prone on the shore he feels the pangs of love, 
And stern Pelides tend'rest passions move.<br>

 Great Maro's strain in heav'nly numbers flows,
The Nine inspire, and all the bosom glows.<br>
O could I rival thine and Virgil's page,
Or claim the Muses with the Mantuan Sage;
Soon the same beauties should my mind adorn,
And the same ardors in my soul should burn:
Then should my song in bolder notes arise,
And all my numbers pleasingly surprise;
But here I sit, and mourn a grov'ling mind, 
That fain would mount, and ride upon the wind.<br>

 Not you, my friend, these plaintive strains become,
Not you, whose bosom is the Muses home;
When they from tow'ring Helicon retire,
They fan in you the bright immortal fire,
But I less happy, cannot raise the song,
The fault'ring music dies upon my tongue.<br>

 The happier Terence all the choir inspir'd,
His soul replenish'd, and his bosom fir'd;
But say, ye Muses, why this partial grace,
To one alone of Afric's sable race;
>From age to age transmitting thus his name
With the first glory in the rolls of fame?

 Thy virtues, great Mæcenas! shall be sung
In praise of him, from whom those virtues sprung:
While blooming wreaths around thy temples spread,
I'll snatch a laurel from thine honour'd head,
While you indulgent smile upon the deed.<br>

 As long as Thames in streams majestic flows,
Or Naiads in their oozy beds repose
While Phoebus reigns above the starry train
While bright Aurora purples o'er the main,
So long, great Sir, the muse thy praise shall sing,
So long thy praise shal' make Parnassus ring:
Then grant, Mæcenas, thy paternal rays,
Hear me propitious, and defend my lays.<br>

Written by Robert Burns |

179. To Miss Ferrier enclosing Elegy on Sir J. H. Blair

 NAE heathen name shall I prefix,
 Frae Pindus or Parnassus;
Auld Reekie dings them a to sticks,
 For rhyme-inspiring lasses.<br>


Joves tunefu dochters three times three
 Made Homer deep their debtor;
But, gien the body half an ee,
 Nine Ferriers wad done better!


Last day my mind was in a bog,
 Down Georges Street I stoited;
A creeping cauld prosaic fog
 My very sense doited.<br>


Do what I dought to set her free,
 My saul lay in the mire;
Ye turned a neukI saw your ee
 She took the wing like fire!


The mournfu sang I here enclose,
 In gratitude I send you,
And pray, in rhyme as weel as prose,
 A gude things may attend you!

Written by William Butler Yeats |

Coole Park And Ballylee 1931

 Under my window-ledge the waters race,
Otters below and moor-hens on the top,
Run for a mile undimmed in Heaven's face
Then darkening through 'dark' Raftery's 'cellar' drop,
Run underground, rise in a rocky place
In Coole demesne, and there to finish up
Spread to a lake and drop into a hole.<br>
What's water but the generated soul?

Upon the border of that lake's a wood
Now all dry sticks under a wintry sun,
And in a copse of beeches there I stood,
For Nature's pulled her tragic buskin on
And all the rant's a mirror of my mood:
At sudden thunder of the mounting swan
I turned about and looked where branches break
The glittering reaches of the flooded lake.<br>

Another emblem there! That stormy white
But seems a concentration of the sky;
And, like the soul, it sails into the sight
And in the morning's gone, no man knows why;
And is so lovely that it sets to right
What knowledge or its lack had set awry,
So atrogantly pure, a child might think
It can be murdered with a spot of ink.<br>

Sound of a stick upon the floor, a sound
From somebody that toils from chair to chair;
Beloved books that famous hands have bound,
Old marble heads, old pictures everywhere;
Great rooms where travelled men and children found
Content or joy; a last inheritor
Where none has reigned that lacked a name and fame
Or out of folly into folly came.<br>

A spot whereon the founders lived and died
Seemed once more dear than life; ancestral trees,
Or gardens rich in memory glorified
Marriages, alliances and families,
And every bride's ambition satisfied.<br>
Where fashion or mere fantasy decrees
We shift about - all that great glory spent -
Like some poor Arab tribesman and his tent.<br>

We were the last romantics - chose for theme
Traditional sanctity and loveliness;
Whatever's written in what poets name
The book of the people; whatever most can bless
The mind of man or elevate a rhyme;
But all is changed, that high horse riderless,
Though mounted in that saddle Homer rode
Where the swan drifts upon a darkening flood.<br>

Written by Osip Mandelstam |

Insomnia. Homer. Taut canvas.

 Insomnia.<br> Homer.<br> Taut canvas.<br>
Half the catalogue of ships is mine:
that flight of cranes, long stretched-out line,
that once rose, out of Hellas.<br>

To an alien land, like a phalanx of cranes 
Foam of the gods on the heads of kings 
Where do you sail? What would the things
of Troy, be to you, Achaeans, without Helen?

The sea, or Homer  all moves by loves glow.<br>
Which should I hear? Now Homer is silent,
and the Black Sea thundering its oratory, turbulent,
and, surging, roars against my pillow.<br>

Written by John Keats |

To Homer

 Standing aloof in giant ignorance,
 Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades,
As one who sits ashore and longs perchance
 To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas.<br>
So thou wast blind;--but then the veil was rent,
 For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live,
And Neptune made for thee a spumy tent,
 And Pan made sing for thee his forest-hive;
Aye on the shores of darkness there is light,
 And precipices show untrodden green,
There is a budding morrow in midnight,
 There is a triple sight in blindness keen;
Such seeing hadst thou, as it once befel
To Dian, Queen of Earth, and Heaven, and Hell.<br>

Written by Robert Herrick |

THE APPARITION OF HIS MISTRESSCALLING HIM TO ELYSIUM

 THE APPARITION OF HIS, MISTRESS,
CALLING HIM TO ELYSIUM

DESUNT NONNULLA--

Come then, and like two doves with silvery wings,
Let our souls fly to th' shades, wherever springs
Sit smiling in the meads; where balm and oil,
Roses and cassia, crown the untill'd soil;
Where no disease reigns, or infection comes
To blast the air, but amber-gris and gums.<br>
This, that, and ev'ry thicket doth transpire
More sweet than storax from the hallow'd fire;
Where ev'ry tree a wealthy issue bears
Of fragrant apples, blushing plums, or pears;
And all the shrubs, with sparkling spangles, shew
Like morning sun-shine, tinselling the dew.<br>
Here in green meadows sits eternal May,
Purfling the margents, while perpetual day
So double-gilds the air, as that no night
Can ever rust th' enamel of the light:
Here naked younglings, handsome striplings, run
Their goals for virgins' kisses; which when done,
Then unto dancing forth the learned round
Commix'd they meet, with endless roses crown'd.<br>
And here we'll sit on primrose-banks, and see
Love's chorus led by Cupid; and we'll he
Two loving followers too unto the grove,
Where poets sing the stories of our love.<br>
There thou shalt hear divine Musaeus sing
Of Hero and Leander; then I'll bring
Thee to the stand, where honour'd Homer reads
His Odyssees and his high Iliads;
About whose throne the crowd of poets throng
To hear the incantation of his tongue:
To Linus, then to Pindar; and that done,
I'll bring thee, Herrick, to Anacreon,
Quaffing his full-crown'd bowls of burning wine,
And in his raptures speaking lines of thine,
Like to his subject; and as his frantic
Looks shew him truly Bacchanalian like,
Besmear'd with grapes,--welcome he shall thee thither,
Where both may rage, both drink and dance together.<br>
Then stately Virgil, witty Ovid, by
Whom fair Corinna sits, and doth comply
With ivory wrists his laureat head, and steeps
His eye in dew of kisses while he sleeps.<br>
Then soft Catullus, sharp-fang'd Martial,
And towering Lucan, Horace, Juvenal,
And snaky Persius; these, and those whom rage,
Dropt for the jars of heaven, fill'd, t' engage
All times unto their frenzies; thou shalt there
Behold them in a spacious theatre:
Among which glories, crown'd with sacred bays
And flatt'ring ivy, two recite their plays,
Beaumont and Fletcher, swans, to whom all ears
Listen, while they, like sirens in their spheres,
Sing their Evadne; and still more for thee
There yet remains to know than thou canst see
By glimm'ring of a fancy; Do but come,
And there I'll shew thee that capacious room
In which thy father, Jonson, now is placed
As in a globe of radiant fire, and graced
To be in that orb crown'd, that doth include
Those prophets of the former magnitude,
And he one chief.<br> But hark! I hear the cock,
The bell-man of the night, proclaim the clock
Of late struck One; and now I see the prime
Of day break from the pregnant east:--'tis time
I vanish:--more I had to say,
But night determines here;(Away!

Written by Petrarch |

SONNET CLIII.

<H2>SONNET CLIII.<br></H2> <H3><I>Se Virgilio ed Omero avessin visto.<br></I></H3> <H4>THE MOST FAMOUS POETS OF ANTIQUITY WOULD HAVE SUNG HER ONLY, HAD THEY SEEN HER.<br></H4> <DIV class=poem> <DIV class=stanza><SPAN class=i2><SPAN class=smcap>Had</SPAN> tuneful Maro seen, and Homer old,<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>The living sun which here mine eyes behold,<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>The best powers they had join'd of either lyre,<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>Sweetness and strength, that fame she might acquire;<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>Unsung had been, with vex'd Æneas, then<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>Achilles and Ulysses, godlike men,<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>And for nigh sixty years who ruled so well<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>The world; and who before Ægysthus fell;<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>Nay, that old flower of virtues and of arms,<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>As this new flower of chastity and charms,<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>A rival star, had scarce such radiance flung.<br></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>In rugged verse him honour'd Ennius sung,<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>I her in mine.<br> Grant, Heaven! on my poor lays<BR></SPAN><SPAN class=i0>She frown not, nor disdain my humble praise.<br></SPAN></DIV> <DIV class=stanza><SPAN class=iname>Anon.<br>

Written by Edgar Lee Masters |

Gustav Richter

 After a long day of work in my hot-houses
Sleep was sweet, but if you sleep on your left side
Your dreams may be abruptly ended.<br>
I was among my flowers where some one
Seemed to be raising them on trial,
As if after-while to be transplanted
To a larger garden of freer air.<br>
And I was disembodied vision
Amid a light, as it were the sun
Had floated in and touched the roof of glass
Like a toy balloon and softly bursted,
And etherealized in golden air.<br>
And all was silence, except the splendor
Was immanent with thought as clear
As a speaking voice, and I, as thought,
Could hear a Presence think as he walked
Between the boxes pinching off leaves,
Looking for bugs and noting values,
With an eye that saw it all: --
"Homer, oh yes! Pericles, good.<br>
Caesar Borgia, what shall be done with it?
Dante, too much manure, perhaps.<br>
Napoleon, leave him awhile as yet.<br>
Shelley, more soil.<br> Shakespeare, needs spraying --"
Clouds, eh! --

Written by Thomas Hardy |

An Ancient To Ancients

 Where once we danced, where once we sang, 
Gentlemen, 
The floors are sunken, cobwebs hang, 
And cracks creep; worms have fed upon 
The doors.<br> Yea, sprightlier times were then 
Than now, with harps and tabrets gone, 
Gentlemen! 

Where once we rowed, where once we sailed, 
Gentlemen, 
And damsels took the tiller, veiled 
Against too strong a stare (God wot 
Their fancy, then or anywhen!) 
Upon that shore we are clean forgot, 
Gentlemen! 

We have lost somewhat of that, afar and near, 
Gentlemen, 
The thinning of our ranks each year 
Affords a hint we are nigh undone, 
That shall not be ever again 
The marked of many, loved of one, 
Gentlemen.<br> 

In dance the polka hit our wish, 
Gentlemen, 
The paced quadrille, the spry schottische, 
"Sir Roger.<br>"--And in opera spheres 
The "Girl" (the famed "Bohemian"), 
And "Trovatore" held the ears, 
Gentlemen.<br> 

This season's paintings do not please, 
Gentlemen 
Like Etty, Mulready, Maclise; 
Throbbing romance had waned and wanned; 
No wizard wields the witching pen 
Of Bulwer, Scott, Dumas, and Sand, 
Gentlemen.<br> 

The bower we shrined to Tennyson, 
Gentlemen, 
Is roof-wrecked; damps there drip upon 
Sagged seats, the creeper-nails are rust, 
The spider is sole denizen; 
Even she who voiced those rhymes is dust, 
Gentlemen! 

We who met sunrise sanguine-souled, 
Gentlemen, 
Are wearing weary.<br> We are old; 
These younger press; we feel our rout 
Is imminent to A?des' den,-- 
That evening shades are stretching out, 
Gentlemen! 

And yet, though ours be failing frames, 
Gentlemen, 
So were some others' history names, 
Who trode their track light-limbed and fast 
As these youth, and not alien 
From enterprise, to their long last, 
Gentlemen.<br> 

Sophocles, Plato, Socrates, 
Gentlemen, 
Pythagoras, Thucydides, 
Herodotus, and Homer,--yea, 
Clement, Augustin, Origen, 
Burnt brightlier towards their setting-day, 
Gentlemen.<br> 

And ye, red-lipped and smooth-browed; list, 
Gentlemen; 
Much is there waits you we have missed; 
Much lore we leave you worth the knowing, 
Much, much has lain outside our ken; 
Nay, rush not: time serves: we are going, 
Gentlemen.<br>