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Best Famous George Eliot Poems


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

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by Edgar Lee Masters |

Margaret Fuller Slack

 I would have been as great as George Eliot
But for an untoward fate.
For look at the photograph of me made by Penniwit,
Chin resting on hand, and deep-set eyes --
Gray, too, and far-searching.
But there was the old, old problem:
Should it be celibacy, matrimony or unchastity?
Then John Slack, the rich druggist, wooed me,
Luring me with the promise of leisure for my novel,
And I married him, giving birth to eight children,
And had no time to write.
It was all over with me, anyway,
When I ran the needle in my hand
While washing the baby's things,
And died from lock-jaw, an ironical death.
Hear me, ambitious souls,
Sex is the curse of life.


by Craig Raine |

Dandelions

 'and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence'
 -- George Eliot, Middlemarch


Dead dandelions, bald as drumsticks,
swaying by the roadside

like Hare Krishna pilgrims
bowing to the Juggernaut.

They have given up everything.
Gold gone and their silver gone,

humbled with dust, hollow,
their milky bodies tan

to the colour of annas.
The wind changes their identity:

slender Giacomettis, Doré's convicts,
Rodin's burghers of Calais

with five bowed heads
and the weight of serrated keys . . . 

They wither into mystery, waiting
to find out why they are,

patiently, before nirvana
when the rain comes down like vitriol.


by George Eliot |

Count That Day Lost

 If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard, 
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went --
Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,
You've cheered no heart, by yea or nay --
If, through it all
You've nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face--
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost --
Then count that day as worse than lost.


by George Eliot |

Roses

 (For Katherine Bregy)

I went to gather roses and twine them in a ring,
For I would make a posy, a posy for the King.
I got an hundred roses, the loveliest there be,
From the white rose vine and the pink rose bush and from the red 
rose tree.
But when I took my posy and laid it at His feet
I found He had His roses a million times more sweet.
There was a scarlet blossom upon each foot and hand,
And a great pink rose bloomed from His side for the healing of the 
land.
Now of this fair and awful King there is this marvel told,
That He wears a crown of linked thorns instead of one of gold.
Where there are thorns are roses, and I saw a line of red,
A little wreath of roses around His radiant head.
A red rose is His Sacred Heart, a white rose is His face,
And His breath has turned the barren world to a rich and flowery 
place.
He is the Rose of Sharon, His gardener am I,
And I shall drink His fragrance in Heaven when I die.


by George Eliot |

Roses

 You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!


by George Eliot |

I Grant You Ample Leave

 "I grant you ample leave 
To use the hoary formula 'I am' 
Naming the emptiness where thought is not; 
But fill the void with definition, 'I' 
Will be no more a datum than the words 
You link false inference with, the 'Since' & 'so' 
That, true or not, make up the atom-whirl. 
Resolve your 'Ego', it is all one web 
With vibrant ether clotted into worlds: 
Your subject, self, or self-assertive 'I' 
Turns nought but object, melts to molecules, 
Is stripped from naked Being with the rest 
Of those rag-garments named the Universe. 
Or if, in strife to keep your 'Ego' strong 
You make it weaver of the etherial light, 
Space, motion, solids & the dream of Time -- 
Why, still 'tis Being looking from the dark, 
The core, the centre of your consciousness, 
That notes your bubble-world: sense, pleasure, pain, 
What are they but a shifting otherness, 
Phantasmal flux of moments? --"


by George Eliot |

In a London Drawingroom

 The sky is cloudy, yellowed by the smoke. 
For view there are the houses opposite 
Cutting the sky with one long line of wall 
Like solid fog: far as the eye can stretch 
Monotony of surface & of form 
Without a break to hang a guess upon. 
No bird can make a shadow as it flies, 
For all is shadow, as in ways o'erhung 
By thickest canvass, where the golden rays 
Are clothed in hemp. No figure lingering 
Pauses to feed the hunger of the eye 
Or rest a little on the lap of life. 
All hurry on & look upon the ground, 
Or glance unmarking at the passers by 
The wheels are hurrying too, cabs, carriages 
All closed, in multiplied identity. 
The world seems one huge prison-house & court 
Where men are punished at the slightest cost, 
With lowest rate of colour, warmth & joy.


by George Eliot |

Mid My Gold-Brown Curls

 'Mid my gold-brown curls 
There twined a silver hair: 
I plucked it idly out 
And scarcely knew 'twas there. 
Coiled in my velvet sleeve it lay 
And like a serpent hissed: 
"Me thou canst pluck & fling away, 
One hair is lightly missed; 
But how on that near day 
When all the wintry army muster in array?"


by George Eliot |

God Needs Antonio

 Your soul was lifted by the wings today
Hearing the master of the violin:
You praised him, praised the great Sabastian too
Who made that fine Chaconne; but did you think
Of old Antonio Stradivari? -him
Who a good century and a half ago
Put his true work in that brown instrument
And by the nice adjustment of its frame
Gave it responsive life, continuous
With the master's finger-tips and perfected
Like them by delicate rectitude of use.
That plain white-aproned man, who stood at work
Patient and accurate full fourscore years,
Cherished his sight and touch by temperance,
And since keen sense is love of perfectness
Made perfect violins, the needed paths
For inspiration and high mastery.

No simpler man than he; he never cried,
"why was I born to this monotonous task
Of making violins?" or flung them down
To suit with hurling act well-hurled curse
At labor on such perishable stuff.
Hence neighbors in Cremona held him dull,
Called him a slave, a mill-horse, a machine.

Naldo, a painter of eclectic school,
Knowing all tricks of style at thirty-one,
And weary of them, while Antonio
At sixty-nine wrought placidly his best,
Making the violin you heard today -
Naldo would tease him oft to tell his aims.
"Perhaps thou hast some pleasant vice to feed -
the love of louis d'ors in heaps of four,
Each violin a heap - I've naught to blame;
My vices waste such heaps. But then, why work
With painful nicety?"

Antonio then:
"I like the gold - well, yes - but not for meals.
And as my stomach, so my eye and hand,
And inward sense that works along with both,
Have hunger that can never feed on coin.
Who draws a line and satisfies his soul,
Making it crooked where it should be straight?
Antonio Stradivari has an eye
That winces at false work and loves the true."
Then Naldo: "'Tis a petty kind of fame
At best, that comes of making violins;
And saves no masses, either. Thou wilt go
To purgatory none the less."

But he:
"'Twere purgatory here to make them ill;
And for my fame - when any master holds
'Twixt chin and hand a violin of mine,
He will be glad that Stradivari lived,
Made violins, and made them of the best.
The masters only know whose work is good:
They will choose mine, and while God gives them skill
I give them instruments to play upon,
God choosing me to help him.

"What! Were God
at fault for violins, thou absent?"

"Yes;
He were at fault for Stradivari's work."

"Why, many hold Giuseppe's violins
As good as thine."

"May be: they are different.
His quality declines: he spoils his hand
With over-drinking. But were his the best,
He could not work for two. My work is mine,
And, heresy or not, if my hand slacked
I should rob God - since his is fullest good -
Leaving a blank instead of violins.
I say, not God himself can make man's best
Without best men to help him.

'Tis God gives skill,
But not without men's hands: he could not make
Antonio Stradivari's violins
Without Antonio. Get thee to thy easel."


by George Eliot |

Sweet Endings Come and Go Love

 "La noche buena se viene, 
La noche buena se va, 
Y nosotros nos iremos 
Y no volveremos mas." 
-- Old Villancico. 

Sweet evenings come and go, love, 
They came and went of yore: 
This evening of our life, love, 
Shall go and come no more. 

When we have passed away, love, 
All things will keep their name; 
But yet no life on earth, love, 
With ours will be the same. 

The daisies will be there, love, 
The stars in heaven will shine: 
I shall not feel thy wish, love, 
Nor thou my hand in thine. 

A better time will come, love, 
And better souls be born: 
I would not be the best, love, 
To leave thee now forlorn.