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Best Famous Sad Poems

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

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Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

Tears Idle Tears

  Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail, That brings our friends up from the underworld, Sad as the last which reddens over one That sinks with all we love below the verge; So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds To dying ears, when unto dying eyes The casement slowly grows a glimmering square; So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death, And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned On lips that are for others; deep as love, Deep as first love, and wild with all regret; O Death in Life, the days that are no more!


Written by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Last Leaf

I saw him once before, 
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.
They say that in his prime, Ere the pruning-knife of Time Cut him down, Not a better man was found By the Crier on his round Through the town.
But now he walks the streets, And looks at all he meets Sad and wan, And he shakes his feeble head, That it seems as if he said, "They are gone.
" The mossy marbles rest On the lips that he has prest In their bloom, And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year On the tomb.
My grandmamma has said— Poor old lady, she is dead Long ago— That he had a Roman nose, And his cheek was like a rose In the snow; But now his nose is thin, And it rests upon his chin Like a staff, And a crook is in his back, And a melancholy crack In his laugh.
I know it is a sin For me to sit and grin At him here; But the old three-cornered hat, And the breeches, and all that, Are so queer! And if I should live to be The last leaf upon the tree In the spring, Let them smile, as I do now, At the old forsaken bough Where I cling.


Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

The Problem

I LIKE a church; I like a cowl; 
I love a prophet of the soul; 
And on my heart monastic aisles 
Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles; 
Yet not for all his faith can see 5 
Would I that cowl¨¨d churchman be.
Why should the vest on him allure Which I could not on me endure? Not from a vain or shallow thought His awful Jove young Phidias brought; 10 Never from lips of cunning fell The thrilling Delphic oracle: Out from the heart of nature rolled The burdens of the Bible old; The litanies of nations came 15 Like the volcano's tongue of flame Up from the burning core below ¡ª The canticles of love and woe; The hand that rounded Peter's dome And groined the aisles of Christian Rome 20 Wrought in a sad sincerity; Himself from God he could not free; He builded better than he knew;¡ª The conscious stone to beauty grew.
Know'st thou what wove yon woodbird's nest 25 Of leaves and feathers from her breast? Or how the fish outbuilt her shell Painting with morn each annual cell? Or how the sacred pine tree adds To her old leaves new myriads? 30 Such and so grew these holy piles Whilst love and terror laid the tiles.
Earth proudly wears the Parthenon As the best gem upon her zone; And Morning opes with haste her lids 35 To gaze upon the Pyramids; O'er England's abbeys bends the sky As on its friends with kindred eye; For out of Thought's interior sphere These wonders rose to upper air; 40 And Nature gladly gave them place Adopted them into her race And granted them an equal date With Andes and with Ararat.
These temples grew as grows the grass; 45 Art might obey but not surpass.
The passive Master lent his hand To the vast soul that o'er him planned; And the same power that reared the shrine Bestrode the tribes that knelt within.
50 Ever the fiery Pentecost Girds with one flame the countless host Trances the heart through chanting choirs And through the priest the mind inspires.
The word unto the prophet spoken 55 Was writ on tables yet unbroken; The word by seers or sibyls told In groves of oak or fanes of gold Still floats upon the morning wind Still whispers to the willing mind.
60 One accent of the Holy Ghost The heedless world hath never lost.
I know what say the fathers wise ¡ª The Book itself before me lies ¡ª Old Chrysostom best Augustine 65 And he who blent both in his line The younger Golden Lips or mines Taylor the Shakespeare of divines.
His words are music in my ear I see his cowl¨¨d portrait dear; 70 And yet for all his faith could see I would not this good bishop be.


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Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley | |

The Flight of Love

WHEN the lamp is shatter'd 
The light in the dust lies dead¡ª 
When the cloud is scatter'd  
The rainbow's glory is shed.
When the lute is broken 5 Sweet tones are remember'd not; When the lips have spoken Lov'd accents are soon forgot.
As music and splendour Survive not the lamp and the lute 10 The heart's echoes render No song when the spirit is mute¡ª No song but sad dirges Like the wind through a ruin'd cell Or the mournful surges 15 That ring the dead seaman's knell.
When hearts have once mingl'd Love first leaves the well-built nest; The weak one is singl'd To endure what it once possesst.
20 O Love! who bewailest The frailty of all things here Why choose you the frailest For your cradle your home and your bier? Its passions will rock thee 25 As the storms rock the ravens on high; Bright reason will mock thee Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter Will rot and thine eagle home 30 Leave thee naked to laughter When leaves fall and cold winds come.


Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Resignation

THERE is no flock however watched and tended  
But one dead lamb is there! 
There is no fireside howsoe'er defended  
But has one vacant chair! 

The air is full of farewells to the dying 5 
And mournings for the dead; 
The heart of Rachel for her children crying  
Will not be comforted! 

Let us be patient! These severe afflictions 
Not from the ground arise 10 
But oftentimes celestial benedictions 
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors; Amid these earthly damps What seem to us but sad funereal tapers 15 May be heaven's distant lamps.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition; This life of mortal breath Is but a suburb of the life elysian Whose portal we call Death.
20 She is not dead ¡ªthe child of our affection ¡ª But gone unto that school Where she no longer needs our poor protection And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion 25 By guardian angels led Safe from temptation safe from sin's pollution She lives whom we call dead Day after day we think what she is doing In those bright realms of air; 30 Year after year her tender steps pursuing Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her and keep unbroken The bond which nature gives Thinking that our remembrance though unspoken 35 May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her; For when with raptures wild In our embraces we again enfold her She will not be a child; 40 But a fair maiden in her Father's mansion Clothed with celestial grace; And beautiful with all the soul's expansion Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion 45 And anguish long suppressed The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean That cannot be at rest ¡ª We will be patient and assuage the feeling We may not wholly stay; 50 By silence sanctifying not concealing The grief that must have way.


Written 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.


Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley | |

Lines

WHEN the lamp is shatter'd  
The light in the dust lies dead; 
When the cloud is scatter'd  
The rainbow's glory is shed; 
When the lute is broken 5 
Sweet tones are remember'd not 
When the lips have spoken  
Loved accents are soon forgot.
As music and splendour Survive not the lamp and the lute 10 The heart's echoes render No song when the spirit is mute¡ª No song but sad dirges Like the wind through a ruin'd cell Or the mournful surges 15 That ring the dead seaman's knell.
When hearts have once mingled Love first leaves the well-built nest; The weak one is singled To endure what it once possest.
20 O Love who bewailest The frailty of all things here Why choose you the frailest For your cradle your home and your bier? Its passions will rock thee 25 As the storms rock the ravens on high: Bright reason will mock thee Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter Will rot and thine eagle home 30 Leave thee naked to laughter When leaves fall and cold winds come.


Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Excelsior

THE SHADES of night were falling fast  
As through an Alpine village passed 
A youth who bore 'mid snow and ice  
A banner with the strange device  
Excelsior! 5 

His brow was sad; his eye beneath  
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath  
And like a silver clarion rung 
The accents of that unknown tongue  
Excelsior! 10 

In happy homes he saw the light 
Of household fires gleam warm and bright; 
Above the spectral glaciers shone  
And from his lips escaped a groan  
Excelsior! 15 

Try not the Pass! the old man said; 
Dark lowers the tempest overhead, 
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!  
And loud that clarion voice replied  
Excelsior! 20 

Oh, stay, the maiden said and rest 
Thy weary head upon this breast!  
A tear stood in his bright blue eye  
But still he answered with a sigh  
Excelsior! 25 

Beware the pine-tree's withered branch! 
Beware the awful avalanche!  
This was the peasant's last Good-night  
A voice replied far up the height  
Excelsior! 30 

At break of day as heavenward 
The pious monks of Saint Bernard 
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer  
A voice cried through the startled air  
Excelsior! 35 

A traveller by the faithful hound  
Half-buried in the snow was found  
Still grasping in his hand of ice 
That banner with the strange device  
Excelsior! 40 

There in the twilight cold and gray  
Lifeless but beautiful he lay  
And from the sky serene and far  
A voice fell like a falling star  
Excelsior! 45 


Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley | |

Remorse

AWAY! the moor is dark beneath the moon  
Rapid clouds have drunk the last pale beam of even: 
Away! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon  
And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven.
Pause not! the time is past! Every voice cries 'Away!' 5 Tempt not with one last tear thy friend's ungentle mood: Thy lover's eye so glazed and cold dares not entreat thy stay: Duty and dereliction guide thee back to solitude.
Away away! to thy sad and silent home; Pour bitter tears on its desolated hearth; 10 Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth.
The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head The blooms of dewy Spring shall gleam beneath thy feet: But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead 15 Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile ere thou and peace may meet.
The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose For the weary winds are silent or the moon is in the deep; Some respite to its turbulence unresting ocean knows; Whatever moves or toils or grieves hath its appointed sleep.
20 Thou in the grave shalt rest:¡ªyet till the phantoms flee Which that house and heath and garden made dear to thee erewhile Thy remembrance and repentance and deep musings are not free From the music of two voices and the light of one sweet smile.


Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |

Sonnets from the Portuguese i

I THOUGHT once how Theocritus had sung 
Of the sweet years the dear and wish'd-for years  
Who each one in a gracious hand appears 
To bear a gift for mortals old or young: 
And as I mused it in his antique tongue 5 
I saw in gradual vision through my tears 
The sweet sad years the melancholy years¡ª 
Those of my own life who by turns had flung 
A shadow across me.
Straightway I was 'ware So weeping how a mystic Shape did move 10 Behind me and drew me backward by the hair; And a voice said in mastery while I strove 'Guess now who holds thee?'¡ª'Death ' I said.
But there The silver answer rang¡ª'Not Death but Love.
'


Written by Elizabeth Bishop | |

North Haven

(In Memoriam: Robert Lowell)


I can make out the rigging of a schooner
a mile off; I can count
the new cones on the spruce.
It is so still the pale bay wears a milky skin; the sky no clouds except for one long, carded horse1s tail.
The islands haven't shifted since last summer, even if I like to pretend they have --drifting, in a dreamy sort of way, a little north, a little south, or sidewise, and that they're free within the blue frontiers of bay.
This month, our favorite one is full of flowers: Buttercups, Red Clover, Purple Vetch, Hackweed still burning, Daisies pied, Eyebright, the Fragrant Bedstraw's incandescent stars, and more, returned, to paint the meadows with delight.
The Goldfinches are back, or others like them, and the White-throated Sparrow's five-note song, pleading and pleading, brings tears to the eyes.
Nature repeats herself, or almost does: repeat, repeat, repeat; revise, revise, revise.
Years ago, you told me it was here (in 1932?) you first "discovered girls" and learned to sail, and learned to kiss.
You had "such fun," you said, that classic summer.
("Fun"--it always seemed to leave you at a loss.
.
.
) You left North Haven, anchored in its rock, afloat in mystic blue.
.
.
And now--you've left for good.
You can't derange, or re-arrange, your poems again.
(But the Sparrows can their song.
) The words won't change again.
Sad friend, you cannot change.


Written by Siegfried Sassoon | |

October

ACROSS the land a faint blue veil of mist
Seems hung; the woods wear yet arrayment sober
Till frost shall make them flame; silent and whist
The drooping cherry orchards of October
Like mournful pennons hang their shrivelling leaves 5
Russet and orange: all things now decay;
Long since ye garnered in your autumn sheaves 
And sad the robins pipe at set of day.
Now do ye dream of Spring when greening shaws Confer with the shrewd breezes and of slopes 10 Flower-kirtled and of April virgin guest; Days that ye love despite their windy flaws Since they are woven with all joys and hopes Whereof ye nevermore shall be possessed.


Written by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Ancestors

BEHOLD these jewelled merchant Ancestors 
Foregathered in some chancellery of death;
Calm provident discreet they stroke their beards
And move their faces slowly in the gloom 
And barter monstrous wealth with speech subdued 5
Lustreless eyes and acquiescent lids.
And oft in pauses of their conference They listen to the measured breath of night¡¯s Hushed sweep of wind aloft the swaying trees In dimly gesturing gardens; then a voice 10 Climbs with clear mortal song half-sad for heaven.
A silent-footed message flits and brings The ghostly Sultan from his glimmering halls; A shadow at the window turbaned vast He leans; and pondering the sweet influence 15 That steals around him in remembered flowers Hears the frail music wind along the slopes Put forth and fade across the whispering sea.


Written by George (Lord) Byron | |

On the Castle of Chillon

ETERNAL Spirit of the chainless Mind! 
Brightest in dungeons Liberty! thou art  
For there thy habitation is the heart¡ª 
The heart which love of Thee alone can bind.
And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd 5 To fetters and the damp vault's dayless gloom Their country conquers with their martyrdom And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind.
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place And thy sad floor an altar for 'twas trod 10 Until his very steps have left a trace Worn as if thy cold pavement were a sod By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface! For they appeal from tyranny to God.


Written by Oliver Wendell Holmes | |

The Voiceless

 WE count the broken lyres that rest
Where the sweet wailing singers slumber,
But o'er their silent sister's breast
The wild-flowers who will stoop to number?
A few can touch the magic string,
And noisy Fame is proud to win them:--
Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!

Nay, grieve not for the dead alone
Whose song has told their hearts' sad story,--
Weep for the voiceless, who have known
The cross without the crown of glory!
Not where Leucadian breezes sweep
O'er Sappho's memory-haunted billow,
But where the glistening night-dews weep
On nameless sorrow's churchyard pillow.
O hearts that break and give no sign Save whitening lip and fading tresses, Till Death pours out his longed-for wine Slow-dropped from Misery's crushing presses,-- If singing breath or echoing chord To every hidden pang were given, What endless melodies were poured, As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven!