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Best Famous Sophocles Poems

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

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Written by Matthew Arnold | Create an image from this poem

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago Heard it on the {AE}gean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Written by Ben Jonson | Create an image from this poem

To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare

 MASTER WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE,
AND WHAT HE HATH LEFT US
by Ben Jonson


To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.
But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise ;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right ;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance ;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron ; what could hurt her more ?
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our stage!
My SHAKSPEARE rise ! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still while thy book doth live
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so my brain excuses,
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses :
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names : but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
And shake a stage : or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm !
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines !
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please ;
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all ; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion : and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil ; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame ;
Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn ;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou ! Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well torned and true filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandisht at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James !
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there !
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.



Source:
Jonson, Ben.
The Works of Ben Jonson, vol.
3.
London: Chatto & Windus, 1910.
287-9.


Written by Edna St Vincent Millay | Create an image from this poem

Invocation To The Muses

 Read by the poet at The Public Ceremonial of The Naional Institute 
of Arts and Letters at Carnegie Hall, New York, January 18th, 1941.
Great Muse, that from this hall absent for long Hast never been, Great Muse of Song, Colossal Muse of mighty Melody, Vocal Calliope, With thine august and contrapuntal brow And thy vast throat builded for Harmony, For the strict monumental pure design, And the melodic line: Be thou tonight with all beneath these rafters—be with me.
If I address thee in archaic style— Words obsolete, words obsolescent, It is that for a little while The heart must, oh indeed must from this angry and out-rageous present Itself withdraw Into some past in which most crooked Evil, Although quite certainly conceived and born, was not as yet the Law.
Archaic, or obsolescent at the least, Be thy grave speaking and the careful words of thy clear song, For the time wrongs us, and the words most common to our speech today Salute and welcome to the feast Conspicuous Evil— or against him all day long Cry out, telling of ugly deeds and most uncommon wrong.
Be thou tonight with all beneath these rafters—be with me But oh, be more with those who are not free.
Who, herded into prison camps all shame must suffer and all outrage see.
Where music is not played nor sung, Though the great voice be there, no sound from the dry throat across the thickened tongue Comes forth; nor has he heart for it.
Beauty in all things—no, we cannot hope for that; but some place set apart for it.
Here it may dwell; And with your aid, Melpomene And all thy sister-muses (for ye are, I think, daughters of Memory) Within the tortured mind as well.
Reaped are those fields with dragon's-teeth so lately sown; Many the heaped men dying there - so close, hip touches thigh; yet each man dies alone.
Music, what overtone For the soft ultimate sigh or the unheeded groan Hast thou—to make death decent, where men slip Down blood to death, no service of grieved heart or ritual lip Transferring what was recently a man and still is warm— Transferring his obedient limbs into the shallow grave where not again a friend shall greet him, Nor hatred do him harm .
.
.
Nor true love run to meet him? In the last hours of him who lies untended On a cold field at night, and sees the hard bright stars Above his upturned face, and says aloud "How strange .
.
.
my life is ended.
"— If in the past he loved great music much, and knew it well, Let not his lapsing mind be teased by well-beloved but ill- remembered bars — Let the full symphony across the blood-soaked field By him be heard, most pure in every part, The lonely horror of whose painful death is thus repealed, Who dies with quiet tears upon his upturned face, making to glow with softness the hard stars.
And bring to those who knew great poetry well Page after page that they have loved but have not learned by heart! We who in comfort to well-lighted shelves Can turn for all the poets ever wrote, Beseech you: Bear to those Who love high art no less than we ourselves, Those who lie wounded, those who in prison cast Strive to recall, to ease them, some great ode, and every stanza save the last.
Recall—oh, in the dark, restore them The unremembered lines; make bright the page before them! Page after page present to these, In prison concentrated, watched by barbs of bayonet and wire, Give ye to them their hearts' intense desire— The words of Shelley, Virgil, Sophocles.
And thou, O lovely and not sad, Euterpe, be thou in this hall tonight! Bid us remember all we ever had Of sweet and gay delight— We who are free, But cannot quite be glad, Thinking of huge, abrupt disaster brought Upon so many of our kind Who treasure as do we the vivid look on the unfrightened face, The careless happy stride from place to place, And the unbounded regions of untrammelled thought Open as interstellar space To the exploring and excited mind.
O Muses, O immortal Nine!— Or do ye languish? Can ye die? Must all go under?— How shall we heal without your help a world By these wild horses torn asunder? How shall we build anew? — How start again? How cure, how even moderate this pain Without you, and you strong? And if ye sleep, then waken! And if ye sicken and do plan to die, Do not that now! Hear us, in what sharp need we cry! For we have help nowhere If not in you! Pity can much, and so a mighty mind, but cannot all things do!— By you forsaken, We shall be scattered, we shall be overtaken! Oh, come! Renew in us the ancient wonder, The grace of life, its courage, and its joy! Weave us those garlands nothing can destroy! Come! with your radiant eyes! — with your throats of thunder!
Written by Anthony Hecht | Create an image from this poem

The Dover Bitch: A Criticism Of Life

 So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, "Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc.
, etc.
" Well now, I knew this girl.
It's true she had read Sophocles in a fairly good translation And caught that bitter allusion to the sea, But all the time he was talking she had in mind the notion of what his whiskers would feel like On the back of her neck.
She told me later on That after a while she got to looking out At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad, Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry.
To have been brought All the way down from London, and then be addressed As sort of a mournful cosmic last resort Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room and finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit, And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that.
What I mean to say is, She's really all right.
I still see her once in a while And she always treats me right.
We have a drink And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year Before I see her again, but there she is, Running to fat, but dependable as they come, And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d'Amour.
[Ed.
note: See Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach"]
Written by Thomas Hardy | Create an image from this poem

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.
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.
In dance the polka hit our wish, Gentlemen, The paced quadrille, the spry schottische, "Sir Roger.
"--And in opera spheres The "Girl" (the famed "Bohemian"), And "Trovatore" held the ears, Gentlemen.
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.
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.
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.
Sophocles, Plato, Socrates, Gentlemen, Pythagoras, Thucydides, Herodotus, and Homer,--yea, Clement, Augustin, Origen, Burnt brightlier towards their setting-day, Gentlemen.
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.
Written by Emily Dickinson | Create an image from this poem

A precious -- mouldering pleasure -- tis

 A precious -- mouldering pleasure -- 'tis --
To meet an Antique Book --
In just the Dress his Century wore --
A privilege -- I think --

His venerable Hand to take --
And warming in our own --
A passage back -- or two -- to make --
To Times when he -- was young --

His quaint opinions -- to inspect --
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind --
The Literature of Man --

What interested Scholars -- most --
What Competitions ran --
When Plato -- was a Certainty --
And Sophocles -- a Man --

When Sappho -- was a living Girl --
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante -- deified --
Facts Centuries before

He traverses -- familiar --
As One should come to Town --
And tell you all your Dreams -- were true --
He lived -- where Dreams were born --

His presence is Enchantment --
You beg him not to go --
Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize -- just so --
Written by | Create an image from this poem

To The Memory Of My Beloved The Author Mr William Shakespeare And What He Hath Left Us

 To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.
But these ways Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise; For silliest ignorance on these may light, Which when it sounds at best but echoes right; Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance The truth, but gropes, and urges all by chance; Or crafty malice might pretend this praise, And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are as some infamous bawd or whore Should praise a matron.
What could hurt her more? But thou art proof against them, and indeed Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the Age! The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage! My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie A little further, to make thee a room: Thou art a monument without a tomb, And art alive still, while thy book doth live, And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so, my brain excuses, I mean with great but disproportioned Muses, For if I thought my judgement were of years, I should commit thee surely with thy peers, And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine, Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek, From thence to honour thee I would not seek For names; but call forth thundering Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles to us, Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead, To live again, to hear thy buskin tread, And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were on, Leave thee alone for the comparison Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time! And all the Muses still were in their prime When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm Our ears, or, like a Mercury, to charm! Nature herself was proud of his designs, And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines! Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit, As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes, Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please; But antiquated and deserted lie, As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all; thy art, My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be, His art doth give the fashion; and that he Who casts to write a living line must sweat (Such as thine are) and strike the second heat Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same, And himself with it, that he thinks to frame, Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn; For a good poet's made as well as born.
And such wert thou.
Look how the father's face Lives in his issue, even so the race Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines In his well turned and true-filed lines: In each of which he seems to shake a lance, As brandished at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet swan of Avon! what a sight it were To see thee in our waters yet appear, And make those flights upon the banks of Thames, That did so take Eliza and our James! But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere Advanced, and made a constellation there: Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage, Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage, Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night, And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.