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Best Famous William Ernest Henley Poems

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

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by William Ernest Henley |

Ballade of Dead Actors

 Where are the passions they essayed,
And where the tears they made to flow?
Where the wild humours they portrayed
For laughing worlds to see and know?
Othello's wrath and Juliet's woe?
Sir Peter's whims and Timon's gall?
And Millamant and Romeo?
Into the night go one and all.
Where are the braveries, fresh or frayed? The plumes, the armours -- friend and foe? The cloth of gold, the rare brocade, The mantles glittering to and fro? The pomp, the pride, the royal show? The cries of war and festival? The youth, the grace, the charm, the glow? Into the night go one and all.
The curtain falls, the play is played: The Beggar packs beside the Beau; The Monarch troops, and troops the Maid; The Thunder huddles with the Snow.
Where are the revellers high and low? The clashing swords? The lover's call? The dancers gleaming row on row? Into the night go one and all.


by William Ernest Henley |

If I Were King

 If I were king, my pipe should be premier.
The skies of time and chance are seldom clear, We would inform them all with bland blue weather.
Delight alone would need to shed a tear, For dream and deed should war no more together.
Art should aspire, yet ugliness be dear; Beauty, the shaft, should speed with wit for feather; And love, sweet love, should never fall to sere, If I were king.
But politics should find no harbour near; The Philistine should fear to slip his tether; Tobacco should be duty free, and beer; In fact, in room of this, the age of leather, An age of gold all radiant should appear, If I were king.


by William Ernest Henley |

England My England

 WHAT have I done for you,
 England, my England?
What is there I would not do,
 England, my own?
With your glorious eyes austere,
As the Lord were walking near,
Whispering terrible things and dear
 As the Song on your bugles blown,
 England--
 Round the world on your bugles blown!

Where shall the watchful sun,
 England, my England,
Match the master-work you've done,
 England, my own?
When shall he rejoice agen
Such a breed of mighty men
As come forward, one to ten,
 To the Song on your bugles blown,
 England--
 Down the years on your bugles blown?

Ever the faith endures,
 England, my England:--
'Take and break us: we are yours,
 England, my own!
Life is good, and joy runs high
Between English earth and sky:
Death is death; but we shall die
 To the Song on your bugles blown,
 England--
 To the stars on your bugles blown!'

They call you proud and hard,
 England, my England:
You with worlds to watch and ward,
 England, my own!
You whose mail'd hand keeps the keys
Of such teeming destinies,
You could know nor dread nor ease
 Were the Song on your bugles blown,
 England,
 Round the Pit on your bugles blown!

Mother of Ships whose might,
 England, my England,
Is the fierce old Sea's delight,
 England, my own,
Chosen daughter of the Lord,
Spouse-in-Chief of the ancient Sword,
There 's the menace of the Word
 In the Song on your bugles blown,
 England--
 Out of heaven on your bugles blown!


by William Ernest Henley |

I am the Reaper

 I am the Reaper.
All things with heedful hook Silent I gather.
Pale roses touched with the spring, Tall corn in summer, Fruits rich with autumn, and frail winter blossoms— Reaping, still reaping— All things with heedful hook Timely I gather.
I am the Sower.
All the unbodied life Runs through my seed-sheet.
Atom with atom wed, Each quickening the other, Fall through my hands, ever changing, still changeless.
Ceaselessly sowing, Life, incorruptible life, Flows from my seed-sheet.
Maker and breaker, I am the ebb and the flood, Here and Hereafter, Sped through the tangle and coil Of infinite nature, Viewless and soundless I fashion all being.
Taker and giver, I am the womb and the grave, The Now and the Ever


by William Ernest Henley |

O Gather Me the Rose

 O gather me the rose, the rose,
While yet in flower we find it,
For summer smiles, but summer goes,
And winter waits behind it.
For with the dream foregone, foregone, The deed foreborn forever, The worm Regret will canker on, And time will turn him never.
So were it well to love, my love, And cheat of any laughter The fate beneath us, and above, The dark before and after.
The myrtle and the rose, the rose, The sunshine and the swallow, The dream that comes, the wish that goes The memories that follow!


by William Ernest Henley |

Theres a Regret

 There's a regret
So grinding, so immitigably sad,
Remorse thereby feels tolerant, even glad.
.
.
.
Do you not know it yet? For deeds undone Rnakle and snarl and hunger for their due, Till there seems naught so despicable as you In all the grin o' the sun.
Like an old shoe The sea spurns and the land abhors, you lie About the beach of Time, till by and by Death, that derides you too -- Death, as he goes His ragman's round, espies you, where you stray, With half-an-eye, and kicks you out of his way And then -- and then, who knows But the kind Grave Turns on you, and you feel the convict Worm, In that black bridewell working out his term, Hanker and grope and crave? "Poor fool that might -- That might, yet would not, dared not, let this be, Think of it, here and thus made over to me In the implacable night!" And writhing, fain And like a triumphing lover, he shall take, His fill where no high memory lives to make His obscene victory vain.


by William Ernest Henley |

Madam Lifes a Piece in Bloom

 Madam Life's a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She's the tenant of the room,
He's the ruffian on the stair.
You shall see her as a friend, You shall bilk him once or twice; But he'll trap you in the end, And he'll stick you for her price.
With his kneebones at your chest, And his knuckles in your throat, You would reason -- plead -- protest! Clutching at her petticoat; But she's heard it all before, Well she knows you've had your fun, Gingerly she gains the door, And your little job is done.


by William Ernest Henley |

Invictus

 Out of the night that covers me, 
 Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
 For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.


by William Ernest Henley |

I. M. R. T. Hamilton Bruce (1846-1899)

 Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.


by William Ernest Henley |

Between the Dusk of a Summer Night

 Between the dusk of a summer night
And the dawn of a summer day,
We caught at a mood as it passed in flight,
And we bade it stoop and stay.
And what with the dawn of night began With the dusk of day was done; For that is the way of woman and man, When a hazard has made them one.
Arc upon arc, from shade to shine, The World went thundering free; And what was his errand but hers and mine -- The lords of him, I and she? O, it's die we must, but it's live we can, And the marvel of earth and sun Is all for the joy of woman and man And the longing that makes them one.