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Best Famous Sir Walter Raleigh Poems

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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!


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.


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.
Good-night!


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.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

Life

 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.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

His Pilgrimage

 GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet, 
 My staff of faith to walk upon, 
My scrip of joy, immortal diet, 
 My bottle of salvation, 
My gown of glory, hope's true gage; 
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.
Blood must be my body's balmer; No other balm will there be given: Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer, Travelleth towards the land of heaven; Over the silver mountains, Where spring the nectar fountains; There will I kiss The bowl of bliss; And drink mine everlasting fill Upon every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before; But, after, it will thirst no more.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

On Being Challenged to Write an Epigram in the Manner of Herrick

 To Griggs, that learned man, in many a bygone session, 
His kids were his delight, and physics his profession;
Now Griggs, grown old and glum, and less intent on knowledge,
Physics himself at home, and sends his kids to college.


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.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

Epitaph

 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.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

Like Truthless Dreams So Are My Joys Expired

 Like truthless dreams, so are my joys expired, 
And past return are all my dandled days; 
My love misled, and fancy quite retired— 
Of all which passed 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 passed 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 passed the sorrow only stays.
Whom care forewarns, ere age and winter cold, To haste me hence to find my fortune's fold.


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.


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.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

The Conclusion

 EVEN such is Time, that takes in trust 
Our youth, our joys, our all we have, 
And pays us but with earth and dust; 
 Who in the dark and silent grave, 
When we have wander'd all our ways, 
Shuts up the story of our days; 
But from this earth, this grave, this dust, 
My God shall raise me up, I trust.


by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

Her Reply

 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.
But Time drives 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.
Thy 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.


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.