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Famous Abbey Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Abbey poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous abbey poems. These examples illustrate what a famous abbey poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Ayres, Pam
...We saw the magic crown; we saw magnificence unfurled,
A brand new Queen created, the emergence and the birth,
And the Abbey seemed a place between the Heavens and the Earth.

Certain pictures linger when considering the reign,
Hauntingly in black and white, a platform and a train,
The saddest thing I ever saw, more sharp than any other,
Prince Charles. The little boy who had to shake hands with his mother.

I will stand up and be counted; I am for the monarchy,
And ...Read more of this...

by Browning, Robert wine? then we'll push back chairs and talk. 
A final glass for me, though: cool, i' faith! 
We ought to have our Abbey back, you see. 
It's different, preaching in basilicas, 
And doing duty in some masterpiece 
Like this of brother Pugin's, bless his heart! 
I doubt if they're half baked, those chalk rosettes, 
Ciphers and stucco-twiddlings everywhere; 
It's just like breathing in a lime-kiln: eh? 
These hot long ceremonies of our church 
Cost us a little--oh, the...Read more of this...

by Tebb, Barry
Myself here than anywhere.


The morning sun is melting

The dome of Leeds Town Hall,

Frost on Kirkstall Abbey stone

Is falling into the Aire;

At fifty-four my dreams

Have ceased, the bowling green

At Eastend Park has gone;

The trams have stopped,

The purple gondola with

Gold sashes locked in a museum;

Jeannie has gone and Chris

And Margaret and Kirkgate

Market’s towers are in flames

Of ice and snow on Magdalen

Bridge with two figures in the

Deer P...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord as the plant that feels itself 
Root-bitten by white lichen, 

'Lo ye now! 
This fellow hath broken from some Abbey, where, 
God wot, he had not beef and brewis enow, 
However that might chance! but an he work, 
Like any pigeon will I cram his crop, 
And sleeker shall he shine than any hog.' 

Then Lancelot standing near, 'Sir Seneschal, 
Sleuth-hound thou knowest, and gray, and all the hounds; 
A horse thou knowest, a man thou dost not know: 
Broad brows and fa...Read more of this...

by Betjeman, John
...Let me take this other glove off
As the vox humana swells,
And the beauteous fields of Eden
Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
Here, where England's statesmen lie,
Listen to a lady's cry.

Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans,
Spare their women for Thy Sake,
And if that is not too easy
We will pardon Thy Mistake.
But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be,
Don't let anyone bomb me.

Keep our Empire undismembered
Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
Gallant blacks from...Read more of this...

by Tebb, Barry
...f your family

And the crass insensitivity of wild therapy

To the smoking dark of despair,

Locked in your flat in the Abbey Road

With seven cats and poetry.

O stop and strop your bladed darkness

On the rock of ages while plangent tollings

Mock your cradled rockings, knock by knock.


Debjani Chatterjee

In these doom-laden days

You are steady as a pilot nursing tired ships homeward

Through churning seas

Where grey gulls scream

Forlornly and for ever.Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William
...Five years have passed; five summers, with the length 
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.  Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky....Read more of this...

by Southey, Robert
As she welcomed them in with a smile:
Her heart was a stranger to childish affright,
And Mary would walk by the Abbey at night
When the wind whistled down the dark aisle.


She loved, and young Richard had settled the day,
And she hoped to be happy for life;
But Richard was idle and worthless, and they
Who knew him would pity poor Mary and say
That she was too good for his wife.


'Twas in autumn, and stormy and dark was the night,
And fast we...Read more of this...

by Austen, Jane
...le Grove her beam. 
Ah! then what Lovely Scenes appear, 
The hut, the Cot, the Grot, and Chapel *****, 
And eke the Abbey too a mouldering heap, 
Cnceal'd by aged pines her head doth rear 
And quite invisible doth take a peep....Read more of this...

by McGonagall, William Topaz
...1898, and on the 19th of May,
When his soul took its flight for ever and aye,
And his body was interred in Westminster Abbey;
But I hope his soul has gone to that Heavenly shore,
Where all trials and troubles cease for evermore. 

He was a man of great intellect and genius bright,
And ever faithful to his Queen by day and by night,
And always foremost in a political fight;
And for his services to mankind, God will him requite. 

The funeral procession was affecting t...Read more of this...

by Browning, Robert
---They should have set him on red Berold
With the red eye slow consuming in fire,
And the thin stiff ear like an abbey-spire!


Well, such as he was, he must marry, we heard:
And out of a convent, at the word,
Came the lady, in time of spring.
---Oh, old thoughts they cling, they cling!
That day, I know, with a dozen oaths
I clad myself in thick hunting-clothes
Fit for the chase of urochs or buffle
In winter-time when you need to muffle.
But the Duke ha...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...e Pure, 
Had passed into the silent life of prayer, 
Praise, fast, and alms; and leaving for the cowl 
The helmet in an abbey far away 
From Camelot, there, and not long after, died. 

And one, a fellow-monk among the rest, 
Ambrosius, loved him much beyond the rest, 
And honoured him, and wrought into his heart 
A way by love that wakened love within, 
To answer that which came: and as they sat 
Beneath a world-old yew-tree, darkening half 
The cloisters, on a gustful Ap...Read more of this...

by Scott, Sir Walter
...They won the Castle's postern gate.

     The Douglas, who had bent his way
     From Cambus-kenneth's abbey gray,
     Now, as he climbed the rocky shelf,
     Held sad communion with himself:—
     'Yes! all is true my fears could frame;
     A prisoner lies the noble Graeme,
     And fiery Roderick soon will feel
     The vengeance of the royal steel.
     I, only I, can ward their fate,—
     God grant the ransom come not late!
     The Abbess ha...Read more of this...

by Browning, Robert
...atesman's life in each!
The flag stuck on a heap of bones,
A soldier's doing! what atones?
They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.
My riding is better, by their leave.


What does it all mean, poet? Well,
Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
What we felt only; you expressed
You hold things beautiful the best,
And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.
'Tis something, nay 'tis much: but then,
Have you yourself what's best for men?
Are you---poor, sick, ...Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...tily she could talk to him (how doth my sweet heart,
what saith now pig's-eye)."

13. Oseney: A once well-known abbey near Oxford.

14. Trave: travis; a frame in which unruly horses were shod.

15. Harow and Alas: Haro! was an old Norman cry for redress
or aid. The "Clameur de Haro" was lately raised, under peculiar
circumstances, as the prelude to a legal protest, in Jersey.

16. His shoes were ornamented like the windows of St. Paul's...Read more of this...

by Moore, Marianne
 with no sound but a harmless hiss; keeping

the fragile grace of the Thomas-
 of-Leighton Buzzard Westminster Abbey wrought-iron vine, or
rolls himself into a ball that has
 power to defy all effort to unroll it; strongly intailed, neat
 head for core, on neck not breaking off, with curled-in-feet.
 Nevertheless he has sting-proof scales; and nest
 of rocks closed with earth from inside, which can thus
 Sun and moon and day and night and man and bea...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...lowers of all heavens, and lovelier than their names, 
Grew side by side; and on the pavement lay 
Carved stones of the Abbey-ruin in the park, 
Huge Ammonites, and the first bones of Time; 
And on the tables every clime and age 
Jumbled together; celts and calumets, 
Claymore and snowshoe, toys in lava, fans 
Of sandal, amber, ancient rosaries, 
Laborious orient ivory sphere in sphere, 
The cursed Malayan crease, and battle-clubs 
From the isles of palm: and higher on the wa...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...the people breathe? So thrice they cried, 
I likewise, and in groups they streamed away. 

But we went back to the Abbey, and sat on, 
So much the gathering darkness charmed: we sat 
But spoke not, rapt in nameless reverie, 
Perchance upon the future man: the walls 
Blackened about us, bats wheeled, and owls whooped, 
And gradually the powers of the night, 
That range above the region of the wind, 
Deepening the courts of twilight broke them up 
Through all the silent sp...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...Once more the gate behind me falls; 
Once more before my face 
I see the moulder'd Abbey-walls, 
That stand within the chace. 

Beyond the lodge the city lies, 
Beneath its drift of smoke; 
And ah! with what delighted eyes 
I turn to yonder oak. 

For when my passion first began, 
Ere that, which in me burn'd, 
The love, that makes me thrice a man, 
Could hope itself return'd; 

To yonder oak within the field 
I spoke without restr...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ian twilight, 
He turn'd all colours — as a peacock's tail, 
Or sunset streaming through a Gothic skylight 
In some old abbey, or a trout not stale, 
Or distant lightning on the horizon by night, 
Or a fresh rainbow, or a grand review 
Of thirty regiments in red, green, and blue. 


Then he address'd himself to Satan: 'Why — 
My good old friend, for such I deem you, though 
Our different parties make us fight so shy, 
I ne'er mistake you for a personal foe; 
Our dif...Read more of this...

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