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Best Famous Beauty Poems

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

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See also: Best Member Poems

by William Butler Yeats | |

When You are Old

WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead, And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


by Ben Jonson | |

His Excuse for Loving

Let it not your wonder move, 
Less your laughter, that I love.
Though I now write fifty years, I have had, and have, my peers.
Poets, though divine, are men; Some have loved as old again.
And it is not always face, Clothes, or fortune gives the grace, Or the feature, or the youth; But the language and the truth, With the ardor and the passion, Gives the lover weight and fashion.
If you then would hear the story, First, prepare you to be sorry That you never knew till now Either whom to love or how; But be glad as soon with me When you hear that this is she Of whose beauty it was sung, She shall make the old man young, Keep the middle age at stay, And let nothing hide decay, Till she be the reason why All the world for love may die.


by George (Lord) Byron | |

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in Beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 
And all that's best of dark and bright 
Meet in her aspect and her eyes: 
Thus mellowed to that tender light 
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impaired the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o'er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express, How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!


More great poems below...

by William Blake | |

Cradle Song

SLEEP sleep beauty bright  
Dreaming in the joys of night; 
Sleep sleep; in thy sleep 
Little sorrows sit and weep.
Sweet babe in thy face 5 Soft desires I can trace Secret joys and secret smiles Little pretty infant wiles.
As thy softest limbs I feel Smiles as of the morning steal 10 O'er thy cheek and o'er thy breast Where thy little heart doth rest.
O the cunning wiles that creep In thy little heart asleep! When thy little heart doth wake 15 Then the dreadful night shall break.


by Thomas Moore | |

Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
   Which I gaze on so fondly today,
Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms,
   Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
   Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
   Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known, To which time will but make thee more dear; No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets, The same look which she turned when he rose.


by Gerard Manley Hopkins | |

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—
   For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him.


by Andrew Marvell | |

To His Coy Mistress

  Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide Of Humber would complain.
I would Love you ten years before the Flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires and more slow; An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song; then worms shall try That long-preserved virginity, And your quaint honor turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust: The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life: Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.


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.


by Edgar Allan Poe | |

To Helen

Helen thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore 
That gently o'er a perfumed sea 
The weary wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam Thy hyacinth hair thy classic face Thy Naiad airs have brought me home To the glory that was Greece And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche How statue-like I see thee stand The agate lamp within thy hand! Ah Psyche from the regions which Are Holy Land!


by Anna Akhmatova | |

And As Its Going...

An as it's going often at love's breaking,
The ghost of first days came again to us,
The silver willow through window then stretched in,
The silver beauty of her gentle branches.
The bird began to sing the song of light and pleasure To us, who fears to lift looks from the earth, Who are so lofty, bitter and intense, About days when we were saved together.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

The Day is Done

THE DAY is done and the darkness 
Falls from the wings of Night  
As a feather is wafted downward 
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village 5 Gleam through the rain and the mist And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing That is not akin to pain 10 And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain.
Come read to me some poem Some simple and heartfelt lay That shall soothe this restless feeling 15 And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters Not from the bards sublime Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time.
20 For like strains of martial music Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet 25 Whose songs gushed from his heart As showers from the clouds of summer Or tears from the eyelids start; Who through long days of labor And nights devoid of ease 30 Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet The restless pulse of care And come like the benediction 35 That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice.
40 And the night shall be filled with music And the cares that infest the day Shall fold their tents like the Arabs And as silently steal away.


by Edgar Allan Poe | |

Israfel

In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
"Whose heart-strings are a lute";
None sing so wildly well
As the angel Israfel 
And the giddy stars (so legends tell) 
Ceasing their hymns attend the spell
Of his voice all mute.
Tottering above In her highest noon The enamored moon Blushes with love While to listen the red levin (With the rapid Pleiads even Which were seven ) Pauses in Heaven.
And they say (the starry choir And the other listening things) That Israfeli's fire Is owing to that lyre By which he sits and sings- The trembling living wire Of those unusual strings.
But the skies that angel trod Where deep thoughts are a duty- Where Love's a grown-up God- Where the Houri glances are Imbued with all the beauty Which we worship in a star.
Therefore thou art not wrong Israfeli who despisest An unimpassioned song; To thee the laurels belong Best bard because the wisest! Merrily live and long! The ecstasies above With thy burning measures suit- Thy grief thy joy thy hate thy love With the fervor of thy lute- Well may the stars be mute! Yes Heaven is thine; but this Is a world of sweets and sours; Our flowers are merely- flowers And the shadow of thy perfect bliss Is the sunshine of ours.
If I could dwell Where Israfel Hath dwelt and he where I He might not sing so wildly well A mortal melody While a bolder note than this might swell From my lyre within the sky.


by Allen Ginsberg | |

Wild Orphan

Blandly mother 
takes him strolling 
by railroad and by river 
-he's the son of the absconded 
hot rod angel- 
and he imagines cars 
and rides them in his dreams, 

so lonely growing up among 
the imaginary automobiles 
and dead souls of Tarrytown 

to create 
out of his own imagination 
the beauty of his wild 
forebears-a mythology 
he cannot inherit.
Will he later hallucinate his gods? Waking among mysteries with an insane gleam of recollection? The recognition- something so rare in his soul, met only in dreams -nostalgias of another life.
A question of the soul.
And the injured losing their injury in their innocence -a cock, a cross, an excellence of love.
And the father grieves in flophouse complexities of memory a thousand miles away, unknowing of the unexpected youthful stranger bumming toward his door.
- New York, April 13, 1952


by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |

O sweet spontaneous

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the
doting

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked

thee
has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy

beauty .
how often have religions taken thee upon their scraggy knees squeezing and buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive gods (but true to the incomparable couch of death thy rhythmic lover thou answerest them only with spring)


by John Keats | |

Ode on Melancholy

NO no! go not to Lethe neither twist 
Wolf's-bane tight-rooted for its poisonous wine; 
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kist 
By nightshade ruby grape of Proserpine; 
Make not your rosary of yew-berries 5 
Nor let the beetle nor the death-moth be 
Your mournful Psyche nor the downy owl 
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries; 
For shade to shade will come too drowsily  
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
10 But when the melancholy fit shall fall Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud That fosters the droop-headed flowers all And hides the green hill in an April shroud; Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose 15 Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave Or on the wealth of glob¨¨d peonies; Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows Emprison her soft hand and let her rave And feed deep deep upon her peerless eyes.
20 She dwells with Beauty¡ªBeauty that must die; And Joy whose hand is ever at his lips Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips: Ay in the very temple of Delight 25 Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine; His soul shall taste the sadness of her might And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
30


by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

The Rhodora - On Being Asked Whence Is the Flower

IN May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes, 
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods, 
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook, 
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool, 5 Made the black water with their beauty gay; Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool, And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, 10 Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, Then Beauty is its own excuse for being: Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose! I never thought to ask, I never knew: But, in my simple ignorance, suppose 15 The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.


by Wallace Stevens | |

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I 
Among twenty snowy mountains, 
The only moving thing 
Was the eye of the blackbird.
II I was of three minds, Like a tree In which there are three blackbirds.
III The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
IV A man and a woman Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird Are one.
V I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling Or just after.
VI Icicles filled the long window With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood Traced in the shadow An indecipherable cause.
VII O thin men of Haddam, Why do you imagine golden birds? Do you not see how the blackbird Walks around the feet Of the women about you? VIII I know noble accents And lucid, inescapable rhythms; But I know, too, That the blackbird is involved In what I know.
IX When the blackbird flew out of sight, It marked the edge Of one of many circles.
X At the sight of blackbirds Flying in a green light, Even the bawds of euphony Would cry out sharply.
XI He rode over Connecticut In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him, In that he mistook The shadow of his equipage For blackbirds.
XII The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
XIII It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat In the cedar-limbs.


by Wang Wei | |

THE BEAUTIFUL XI SHI

Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire, 
How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home? -- 
Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake -- 
And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north: 
Lowly one day, no different from the others, 
The next day exalted, everyone praising her.
No more would her own hands powder her face Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.
And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked, Blinding him away from wisdom.
.
.
.
Girls who had once washed silk beside her Were kept at a distance from her chariot.
And none of the girls in her neighbours' houses By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.


by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

Uriel

IT fell in the ancient periods 
Which the brooding soul surveys  
Or ever the wild Time coin'd itself 
Into calendar months and days.
This was the lapse of Uriel 5 Which in Paradise befell.
Once among the Pleiads walking Sayd overheard the young gods talking; And the treason too long pent To his ears was evident.
10 The young deities discuss'd Laws of form and metre just Orb quintessence and sunbeams What subsisteth and what seems.
One with low tones that decide 15 And doubt and reverend use defied With a look that solved the sphere And stirr'd the devils everywhere Gave his sentiment divine Against the being of a line.
20 'Line in nature is not found; Unit and universe are round; In vain produced all rays return; Evil will bless and ice will burn.
' As Uriel spoke with piercing eye 25 A shudder ran around the sky; The stern old war-gods shook their heads; The seraphs frown'd from myrtle-beds; Seem'd to the holy festival The rash word boded ill to all; 30 The balance-beam of Fate was bent; The bounds of good and ill were rent; Strong Hades could not keep his own But all slid to confusion.
A sad self-knowledge withering fell 35 On the beauty of Uriel; In heaven once eminent the god Withdrew that hour into his cloud; Whether doom'd to long gyration In the sea of generation 40 Or by knowledge grown too bright To hit the nerve of feebler sight.
Straightway a forgetting wind Stole over the celestial kind And their lips the secret kept 45 If in ashes the fire-seed slept.
But now and then truth-speaking things Shamed the angels' veiling wings; And shrilling from the solar course Or from fruit of chemic force 50 Procession of a soul in matter Or the speeding change of water Or out of the good of evil born Came Uriel's voice of cherub scorn And a blush tinged the upper sky 55 And the gods shook they knew not why.


by William Cullen Bryant | |

June

I GAZED upon the glorious sky 
And the green mountains round  
And thought that when I came to lie 
At rest within the ground  
'T were pleasant that in flowery June 5 
When brooks send up a cheerful tune  
And groves a joyous sound  
The sexton's hand my grave to make  
The rich green mountain-turf should break.
A cell within the frozen mould 10 A coffin borne through sleet And icy clods above it rolled While fierce the tempests beat¡ª Away!¡ªI will not think of these¡ª Blue be the sky and soft the breeze 15 Earth green beneath the feet And be the damp mould gently pressed Into my narrow place of rest.
There through the long long summer hours The golden light should lie 20 And thick young herbs and groups of flowers Stand in their beauty by.
The oriole should build and tell His love-tale close beside my cell; The idle butterfly 25 Should rest him there and there be heard The housewife bee and humming-bird.
And what if cheerful shouts at noon Come from the village sent Or song of maids beneath the moon 30 With fairy laughter blent? And what if in the evening light Betroth¨¨d lovers walk in sight Of my low monument? I would the lovely scene around 35 Might know no sadder sight nor sound.
I know that I no more should see The season's glorious show Nor would its brightness shine for me Nor its wild music flow; 40 But if around my place of sleep The friends I love should come to weep They might not haste to go.
Soft airs and song and light and bloom Should keep them lingering by my tomb.
45 These to their softened hearts should bear The thought of what has been And speak of one who cannot share The gladness of the scene; Whose part in all the pomp that fills 50 The circuit of the summer hills Is that his grave is green; And deeply would their hearts rejoice To hear again his living voice.


by William Cullen Bryant | |

The Death of the Flowers

THE MELANCHOLY days have come the saddest of the year  
Of wailing winds and naked woods and meadows brown and sere; 
Heaped in the hollows of the grove the autumn leaves lie dead; 
They rustle to the eddying gust and to the rabbit's tread; 
The robin and the wren are flown and from the shrubs the jay 5 
And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers the fair young flowers that lately sprang and stood In brighter light and softer airs a beauteous sisterhood? Alas! they all are in their graves the gentle race of flowers Are lying in their lowly beds with the fair and good of ours.
10 The rain is falling where they lie but the cold November rain Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.
The wind-flower and the violet they perished long ago And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow; But on the hill the goldenrod and the aster in the wood 15 And the blue sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven as falls the plague on men And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland glade and glen.
And now when comes the calm mild day as still such days will come To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home; 20 When the sound of dropping nuts is heard though all the trees are still And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died 25 The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side.
In the cold moist earth we laid her when the forests cast the leaf And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief: Yet not unmeet it was that one like that young friend of ours So gentle and so beautiful should perish with the flowers.
30


by | |

An Elegy

THOUGH beauty be the mark of praise  
And yours of whom I sing be such 
As not the world can praise too much  
Yet 'tis your Virtue now I raise.
A virtue like allay so gone 5 Throughout your form as though that move And draw and conquer all men's love This subjects you to love of one.
Wherein you triumph yet¡ªbecause 'Tis of your flesh and that you use 10 The noblest freedom not to choose Against or faith or honour's laws.
But who should less expect from you? In whom alone Love lives again: By whom he is restored to men 15 And kept and bred and brought up true.
His falling temples you have rear'd The wither'd garlands ta'en away; His altars kept from that decay That envy wish'd and nature fear'd: 20 And on them burn so chaste a flame With so much loyalty's expense As Love to acquit such excellence Is gone himself into your name.
And you are he¡ªthe deity 25 To whom all lovers are design'd That would their better objects find; Among which faithful troop am I¡ª Who as an off'ring at your shrine Have sung this hymn and here entreat 30 One spark of your diviner heat To light upon a love of mine.
Which if it kindle not but scant Appear and that to shortest view; Yet give me leave to adore in you 35 What I in her am grieved to want! GLOSS: allay] alloy.


by | |

The Triumph

SEE the Chariot at hand here of Love, 
Wherein my Lady rideth! 
Each that draws is a swan or a dove, 
And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty 5 Unto her beauty; And enamour'd do wish, so they might But enjoy such a sight, That they still were to run by her side, Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.
10 Do but look on her eyes, they do light All that Love's world compriseth! Do but look on her hair, it is bright As Love's star when it riseth! Do but mark, her forehead's smoother 15 Than words that soothe her; And from her arch'd brows such a grace Sheds itself through the face, As alone there triumphs to the life All the gain, all the good, of the elements' strife.
20 Have you seen but a bright lily grow Before rude hands have touch'd it? Have you mark'd but the fall of the snow Before the soil hath smutch'd it? Have you felt the wool of beaver, 25 Or swan's down ever? Or have smelt o' the bud o' the brier, Or the nard in the fire? Or have tasted the bag of the bee? O so white, O so soft, O so sweet is she! 30


by | |

On Elizabeth L. H.

 Epitaphs: i


WOULDST thou hear what Man can say 
In a little? Reader stay.
Underneath this stone doth lie As much Beauty as could die: Which in life did harbour give 5 To more Virtue than doth live.
If at all she had a fault Leave it buried in this vault.
One name was Elizabeth The other let it sleep with death: 10 Fitter where it died to tell Than that it lived at all.
Farewell.


by Sappho | |

Please

Come back to me Gongyla here tonight 
You my rose with your Lydian lyre.
There hovers forever around you delight:
A beauty desired. 

Even your garment plunders my eyes.
I am enchanted: I who once
Complained to the Cyprus-born goddess 
Whom I now beseech 

Never to let this lose me grace
But rather bring you back to me:
Amongst all mortal women the one
I most wish to see. 

--Translated by Paul Roche