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Best Famous Sir Walter Raleigh Poems

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

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Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

A Vision upon the Fairy Queen

Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
   Within that temple where the vestal flame
   Was wont to burn; and, passing by that way,
   To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love, and fairer Virtue kept:
   All suddenly I saw the Fairy Queen;
   At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept,
   And, from thenceforth, those Graces were not seen:
For they this queen attended; in whose stead
   Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse:
   Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce:
   Where Homer's spright did tremble all for grief,
   And cursed the access of that celestial thief!

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

A Farewell to False Love

Farewell false love, the oracle of lies, 
A mortal foe and enemy to rest, 
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise, 
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed, 
A way of error, a temple full of treason, 
In all effects contrary unto reason.
A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers, Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose, A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers As moisture lend to every grief that grows; A school of guile, a net of deep deceit, A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.
A fortress foiled, which reason did defend, A siren song, a fever of the mind, A maze wherein affection finds no end, A raging cloud that runs before the wind, A substance like the shadow of the sun, A goal of grief for which the wisest run.
A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear, A path that leads to peril and mishap, A true retreat of sorrow and despair, An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure's lap, A deep mistrust of that which certain seems, A hope of that which reason doubtful deems.
Sith* then thy trains my younger years betrayed, [since] And for my faith ingratitude I find; And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed*, [revealed] Whose course was ever contrary to kind*: [nature] False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

The Lie

 Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand;
Fear not to touch the best;
The truth shall be thy warrant:
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.
Say to the court, it glows And shines like rotten wood; Say to the church, it shows What's good, and doth no good: If church and court reply, Then give them both the lie.
Tell potentates, they live Acting by others' action; Not loved unless they give, Not strong but by a faction.
If potentates reply, Give potentates the lie.
Tell men of high condition, That manage the estate, Their purpose is ambition, Their practice only hate: And if they once reply, Then give them all the lie.
Tell them that brave it most, They beg for more by spending, Who, in their greatest cost, Seek nothing but commending.
And if they make reply, Then give them all the lie.
Tell zeal it wants devotion; Tell love it is but lust; Tell time it is but motion; Tell flesh it is but dust: And wish them not reply, For thou must give the lie.
Tell age it daily wasteth; Tell honour how it alters; Tell beauty how she blasteth; Tell favour how it falters: And as they shall reply, Give every one the lie.
Tell wit how much it wrangles In tickle points of niceness; Tell wisdom she entangles Herself in overwiseness: And when they do reply, Straight give them both the lie.
Tell physic of her boldness; Tell skill it is pretension; Tell charity of coldness; Tell law it is contention: And as they do reply, So give them still the lie.
Tell fortune of her blindness; Tell nature of decay; Tell friendship of unkindness; Tell justice of delay: And if they will reply, Then give them all the lie.
Tell arts they have no soundness, But vary by esteeming; Tell schools they want profoundness, And stand too much on seeming: If arts and schools reply, Give arts and schools the lie.
Tell faith it's fled the city; Tell how the country erreth; Tell manhood shakes off pity And virtue least preferreth: And if they do reply, Spare not to give the lie.
So when thou hast, as I Commanded thee, done blabbing— Although to give the lie Deserves no less than stabbing— Stab at thee he that will, No stab the soul can kill.

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Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

Song of Myself

 I was a Poet! 
But I did not know it,
Neither did my Mother,
Nor my Sister nor my Brother.
The Rich were not aware of it; The Poor took no care of it.
The Reverend Mr.
Drewitt Never knew it.
The High did not suspect it; The Low could not detect it.
Aunt Sue Said it was obviously untrue.
Uncle Ned Said I was off my head: (This from a Colonial Was really a good testimonial.
) Still everybody seemed to think That genius owes a good deal to drink.
So that is how I am not a poet now, And why My inspiration has run dry.
It is no sort of use To cultivate the Muse If vulgar people Can't tell a village pump from a church steeple.
I am merely apologizing For the lack of the surprising In what I write To-night.
I am quite well-meaning, But a lot of things are always intervening Between What I mean And what it is said I had in my head.
It is all very puzzling.
Uncle Ned Says Poets need muzzling.
He might Be right.

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.
"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.
"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.
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.
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.
"And there is no consolation so quickening to the heart As the warmth and whiteness that come from the lines of noble poetry.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

Sestina Otiosa

 Our great work, the Otia Merseiana, 
Edited by learned Mister Sampson, 
And supported by Professor Woodward, 
Is financed by numerous Bogus Meetings
Hastily convened by Kuno Meyer 
To impose upon the Man of Business.
All in vain! The accomplished Man of Business Disapproves of Otia Merseiana, Turns his back on Doctor Kuno Meyer; Cannot be enticed by Mister Sampson, To be present at the Bogus Meetings, Though attended by Professor Woodward.
Little cares the staid Professor Woodward: He, being something of a man of business, Knows that not a hundred Bogus Meetings To discuss the Otia Merseiana Can involve himself and Mister Sampson In the debts of Doctor Kuno Meyer.
So the poor deluded Kuno Meyer, Unenlightened by Professor Woodward -- Whom, upon the word of Mister Sampson, He believes to be a man of business Fit to run the Otia Merseiana -- Keeps on calling endless Bogus Meetings.
Every week has now its Bogus Meetings, Punctually convened by Kuno Meyer In the name of Otia Merseiana: Every other week Professor Woodward Takes his place, and, as a man of business, Audits the accounts with Mister Sampson.
He and impecunious Mister Sampson Are the mainstay of the Bogus Meetings; But the alienated Man of Business Cannot be allured by Kuno Meyer To attend and meet Professor Woodward, Glory of the Otia Merseiana.
Kuno Meyer! Great Professor Woodward! Bogus Meetings damn, for men of business, Mister Sampson's Otia Merseiana.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

The Nymphs Reply To The Shepherd

 If all the world and love were young, 
And truth in every shepherd's tongue, 
These pretty pleasures might me move 
To live with thee and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold When rivers rage and rocks grow cold, And Philomel becometh dumb; The rest complains of cares to come.
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields To wayward winter reckoning yields; A honey tongue, a heart of gall, Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
The gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses, Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,— In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds, Thy coral clasps and amber studs, All these in me no means can move To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last and love still breed, Had joys no date nor age no need, Then these delights my mind might move To live with thee and be thy love.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

Now What Is Love

 Now what is Love, I pray thee, tell?
It is that fountain and that well
Where pleasure and repentance dwell;
It is, perhaps, the sauncing bell
That tolls all into heaven or hell;
And this is Love, as I hear tell.
Yet what is Love, I prithee, say? It is a work on holiday, It is December matched with May, When lusty bloods in fresh array Hear ten months after of the play; And this is Love, as I hear say.
Yet what is Love, good shepherd, sain? It is a sunshine mixed with rain, It is a toothache or like pain, It is a game where none hath gain; The lass saith no, yet would full fain; And this is Love, as I hear sain.
Yet, shepherd, what is Love, I pray? It is a yes, it is a nay, A pretty kind of sporting fray, It is a thing will soon away.
Then, nymphs, take vantage while ye may; And this is Love, as I hear say.
Yet what is Love, good shepherd, show? A thing that creeps, it cannot go, A prize that passeth to and fro, A thing for one, a thing for moe, And he that proves shall find it so; And shepherd, this is Love, I trow.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

To a Lady with an Unruly and Ill-mannered Dog Who Bit several Persons of Importance

 Your dog is not a dog of grace; 
He does not wag the tail or beg;
He bit Miss Dickson in the face;
He bit a Bailie in the leg.
What tragic choices such a dog Presents to visitor or friend! Outside there is the Glasgow fog; Within, a hydrophobic end.
Yet some relief even terror brings, For when our life is cold and gray We waste our strength on little things, And fret our puny souls away.
A snarl! A scruffle round the room! A sense that Death is drawing near! And human creatures reassume The elemental robe of fear.
So when my colleague makes his moan Of careless cooks, and warts, and debt, -- Enlarge his views, restore his tone, And introduce him to your Pet! Quod Raleigh.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |


 What is our life? A play of passion, 
Our mirth the music of division, 
Our mother's wombs the tiring-houses be, 
Where we are dressed for this short comedy.
Heaven the judicious sharp spectator is, That sits and marks still who doth act amiss.
Our graves that hide us from the setting sun Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
Thus march we, playing, to our latest rest, Only we die in earnest, that's no jest.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |


 Even such is time, which takes in trust 
Our youth, our joys, and all we have, 
And pays us but with age and dust, 
Who in the dark and silent grave 
When we have wandered all our ways 
Shuts up the story of our days, 
And from which earth, and grave, and dust 
The Lord will raise me up, I trust.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

The Silent Lover i

 PASSIONS are liken'd best to floods and streams: 
The shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb; 
So, when affection yields discourse, it seems 
 The bottom is but shallow whence they come.
They that are rich in words, in words discover That they are poor in that which makes a lover.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

The Silent Lover ii

 WRONG not, sweet empress of my heart, 
 The merit of true passion, 
With thinking that he feels no smart, 
 That sues for no compassion.
Silence in love bewrays more woe Than words, though ne'er so witty: A beggar that is dumb, you know, May challenge double pity.
Then wrong not, dearest to my heart, My true, though secret passion; He smarteth most that hides his smart, And sues for no compassion.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

The Artist

 The Artist and his Luckless Wife 
They lead a horrid haunted life, 
Surrounded by the things he's made 
That are not wanted by the trade.
The world is very fair to see; The Artist will not let it be; He fiddles with the works of God, And makes them look uncommon odd.
The Artist is an awful man, He does not do the things he can; He does the things he cannot do, And we attend the private view.
The Artist uses honest paint To represent things as they ain't, He then asks money for the time It took to perpetrate the crime.

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh |

Farewell to the Court

 Like truthless dreams, so are my joys expir'd, 
And past return are all my dandled days; 
My love misled, and fancy quite retir'd-- 
Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.
My lost delights, now clean from sight of land, Have left me all alone in unknown ways; My mind to woe, my life in fortune's hand-- Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.
As in a country strange, without companion, I only wail the wrong of death's delays, Whose sweet spring spent, whose summer well-nigh done-- Of all which pass'd only the sorrow stays.
Whom care forewarns, ere age and winter cold, To haste me hence to find my fortune's fold.