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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 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 |

Two Lovers

 Two lovers by a moss-grown spring:
They leaned soft cheeks together there,
Mingled the dark and sunny hair,
And heard the wooing thrushes sing.
O budding time!
O love's blest prime!

Two wedded from the portal stept:
The bells made happy carolings,
The air was soft as fanning wings,
White petals on the pathway slept.
O pure-eyed bride!
O tender pride!

Two faces o'er a cradle bent:
Two hands above the head were locked:
These pressed each other while they rocked,
Those watched a life that love had sent.
O solemn hour!
O hidden power!

Two parents by the evening fire:
The red light fell about their knees
On heads that rose by slow degrees
Like buds upon the lily spire.
O patient life!
O tender strife!

The two still sat together there,
The red light shone about their knees;
But all the heads by slow degrees
Had gone and left that lonely pair.
O voyage fast! 
O vanished past!

The red light shone upon the floor
And made the space between them wide;
They drew their chairs up side by side,
Their pale cheeks joined, and said, "Once more!"
O memories!
O past that is!


by George Eliot |

The Choir Invisible

 Oh, may I join the choir invisible 
Of those immortal dead who live again 
In minds made better by their presence; live 
In pulses stirred to generosity, 
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn 
For miserable aims that end with self, 
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars, 
And with their mild persistence urge men's search 
To vaster issues. So to live is heaven: 
To make undying music in the world, 
Breathing a beauteous order that controls 
With growing sway the growing life of man. 
So we inherit that sweet purity 
For which we struggled, failed, and agonized 
With widening retrospect that bred despair. 
Rebellious flesh that would not be subdued, 
A vicious parent shaming still its child, 
Poor anxious penitence, is quick dissolved; 
Its discords, quenched by meeting harmonies, 
Die in the large and charitable air, 
And all our rarer, better, truer self 
That sobbed religiously in yearning song, 
That watched to ease the burden of the world, 
Laboriously tracing what must be, 
And what may yet be better, -- saw within 
A worthier image for the sanctuary, 
And shaped it forth before the multitude, 
Divinely human, raising worship so 
To higher reverence more mixed with love, -- 
That better self shall live till human Time 
Shall fold its eyelids, and the human sky 
Be gathered like a scroll within the tomb 
Unread forever. This is life to come, -- 
Which martyred men have made more glorious 
For us who strive to follow. May I reach 
That purest heaven, -- be to other souls 
The cup of strength in some great agony, 
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love, 
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty, 
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused, 
And in diffusion ever more intense! 
So shall I join the choir invisible 
Whose music is the gladness of the world.


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.


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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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.