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Famous Abject Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Pope, Alexander
...ut still the Worst with most Regret commend,
For each Ill Author is as bad a Friend.
To what base Ends, and by what abject Ways,
Are Mortals urg'd thro' Sacred Lust of praise!
Ah ne'er so dire a Thirst of Glory boast,
Nor in the Critick let the Man be lost!
Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join;
To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.

But if in Noble Minds some Dregs remain,
Not yet purg'd off, of Spleen and sow'r Disdain,
Discharge that Rage on more Provoking Crim...Read more of this...

by Moody, William Vaughn
...familiar of the sun 
Where aye before God's face his trumpets run? 
Or have we but the talons and the maw, 
And for the abject likeness of our heart 
Shall some less lordly bird be set apart? -- 
Some gross-billed wader where the swamps are fat? 
Some gorger in the sun? Some prowler with the bat? 


Ah no! 
We have not fallen so. 
We are our fathers' sons: let those who lead us know! 
'T was only yesterday sick Cuba's cry 
Came up the tropic wind, "Now help us, for w...Read more of this...

by Bradstreet, Anne
59 They kept one tune and played on the same string,
60 Seeming to glory in their little Art.
61 Shall creatures abject thus their voices raise
62 And in their kind resound their maker's praise
63 Whilst I, as mute, can warble forth no higher lays? 


64 When present times look back to Ages past
65 And men in being fancy those are dead,
66 It makes things gone perpetually to last
67 And calls back months and years that long since fled.
68 It makes a man more ag...Read more of this...

by Hugo, Victor
...Yet lived they side by side, in powerful state 
 And close alliance. All the people near 
 From red horizon dwelt in abject fear, 
 Mastered by them; their figures darkly grand 
 Had ruddy reflex from the wasted land, 
 And fires, and towns they sacked. Besides the one, 
 Like David, poet was, the other shone 
 As fine musician—rumor spread their fame, 
 Declaring them divine, until each name 
 In Italy's fine sonnets met with praise. 
 The ancient hierarch in thos...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...e I could be content with all, if I thought them their own finale? 

This now is too lamentable a face for a man; 
Some abject louse, asking leave to be—cringing for it; 
Some milk-nosed maggot, blessing what lets it wrig to its hole. 

This face is a dog’s snout, sniffing for garbage;
Snakes nest in that mouth—I hear the sibilant threat. 

This face is a haze more chill than the arctic sea; 
Its sleepy and wobbling icebergs crunch as they go. 

This is a face of ...Read more of this...

by Cullen, Countee
...We shall not always plant while others reap
The golden increment of bursting fruit,
Not always countenance, abject and mute,
That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap;
Not everlastingly while others sleep
Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute,
Not always bend to some more subtle brute;
We were not made to eternally weep. 
The night whose sable breast relieves the stark,
White stars is no less lovely being dark,
And there are buds that cannot bl...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...That praiseless lived and blameless. Now the scorn 
 Of Height and Depth alike, abortions drear; 
 Cast with those abject angels whose delay 
 To join rebellion, or their Lord defend, 
 Waiting their proved advantage, flung them here. - 
 Chased forth from Heaven, lest else its beauties end 
 The pure perfection of their stainless claim, 
 Out-herded from the shining gate they came, 
 Where the deep hells refused them, lest the lost 
 Boast something baser than thems...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...che 'nvidiosi son d'ogne altra sorte . 

Those who are here can place no hope in death, 
and their blind life is so abject that they 
are envious of every other fate. 

Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa; 
misericordia e giustizia li sdegna: 
non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa ». 

The world will let no fame of theirs endure; 
both justice and compassion must disdain them; 
let us not talk of them, but look and pass." 

E io, che riguardai, vidi una ...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
'Tis done -- but yesterday a King! 
And arm'd with Kings to strive -- 
And now thou art a nameless thing: 
So abject -- yet alive! 
Is this the man of thousand thrones, 
Who strew'd our earth with hostile bones, 
And can he thus survive? 
Since he, miscall'd the Morning Star, 
Nor man nor fiend hath fallen so far. 

Ill-minded man! why scourge thy kind 
Who bow'd so low the knee? 
By gazing on thyself grown blind, 
Thou taught'st the rest to see. 
With m...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...of Goshen, who beheld 
From the safe shore their floating carcases 
And broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown, 
Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, 
Under amazement of their hideous change. 
He called so loud that all the hollow deep 
Of Hell resounded:--"Princes, Potentates, 
Warriors, the Flower of Heaven--once yours; now lost, 
If such astonishment as this can seize 
Eternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this place 
After the toil of battle to repose 
...Read more of this...

by Milton, John thou commandest; and right thou shouldst be obeyed: 
I was at first as other beasts that graze 
The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, 
As was my food; nor aught but food discerned 
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high: 
Till, on a day roving the field, I chanced 
A goodly tree far distant to behold 
Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixed, 
Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze; 
When from the boughs a savoury odour blown, 
Grateful to appetite, more pleased my ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...Appetite; and took 
His image whom they served, a brutish vice, 
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. 
Therefore so abject is their punishment, 
Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; 
Or if his likeness, by themselves defaced; 
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules 
To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they 
God's image did not reverence in themselves. 
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit. 
But is there yet no other way, besides 
These pai...Read more of this...

by Bronte, Charlotte
...gaunt lines, the abhorrent gazer reads 
A triple lust of gold, and blood, and power; 
A soul whom motives, fierce, yet abject, urge 
Rome's servile slave, and Judah's tyrant scourge. 

How can I love, or mourn, or pity him ?
I, who so long my fettered hands have wrung; 

I, who for grief have wept my eye-sight dim; 
Because, while life for me was bright and young, 
He robbed my youth­he quenched my life's fair ray­
He crushed my mind, and did my freedom slay. 

And ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
The rarer thy example stands,
By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
Strongest of mortal men,
To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fall'n.
For him I reckon not in high estate 
Whom long descent of birth
Or the sphear of fortune raises;
But thee whose strength, while vertue was her mate
Might have subdu'd the Earth,
Universally crown'd with highest praises.

Sam: I hear the sound of words, thir sense the air
Dissolves unjointed e're it reach my ear.

C...Read more of this...

by Schiller, Friedrich von
E'en into strangers' arms her favorite gave--
Oh, may'st thou never with degenerate will,
Humble thyself to be her abject slave!
In industry, the bee the palm may bear;
In skill, the worm a lesson may impart;
With spirits blest thy knowledge thou dost share,
But thou, O man, alone hast art!

Only through beauty's morning gate
Didst thou the land of knowledge find.
To merit a more glorious fate,
In graces trains itself the mind.
What thrilled thee through with tre...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...e had known— 
The woman she had petted and called “I”— 
The woman she had pitied, and at last
Commiserated for the most abject 
And persecuted of all womankind,— 
Could it be she that had sought out the way 
To measure and thereby to quench in her 
The woman’s fear—the fear of her not fearing?
A nervous little laugh that lost itself, 
Like logic in a dream, fluttered her thoughts 
An instant there that ever she should ask 
What she might then have told so easily— 
So easily t...Read more of this...

by Turner Smith, Charlotte
...e dreams
That sooth'd their sorrows, for calamities
(And every day brings its own sad proportion)
For doubts, diseases, abject dread of Death,
And faithless friends, and fame and fortune lost;
Fancied or real wants; and wounded pride,
That views the day star, but to curse his beams.
Yet He, whose Spirit into being call'd
This wond'rous World of Waters; He who bids
The wild wind lift them till they dash the clouds,
And speaks to them in thunder; or whose breath,
Low murmur...Read more of this...

by Bradstreet, Anne>24 Sometimes, again, rain'd all adversity;
5.25 Sometimes in honour, sometimes in disgrace,
5.26 Sometime an abject, then again in place:
5.27 Such private changes oft mine eyes have seen.
5.28 In various times of state I've also been.
5.29 I've seen a Kingdom flourish like a tree
5.30 When it was rul'd by that Celestial she,
5.31 And like a Cedar others so surmount
5.32 That but for shrubs they did themselves account.
5.33 T...Read more of this...

by Southey, Robert
...Denied thee wisdom to support the blow;
And robb'd of all its energy thy mind,
Ere yet it cast thee on thy fellow-kind,
Abject of thought, the victim of distress,
To wander in the world's wide wilderness.

Poor Outcast sleep in peace! the wintry storm
Blows bleak no more on thine unshelter'd form;
Thy woes are past; thou restest in the tomb;--
I pause--and ponder on the days to come....Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...not in his might
But he that nought hath, nor coveteth to have,
Is rich, although ye hold him but a knave.* *slave, abject wretch
*Very povert' is sinne,* properly. *the only true poverty is sin*
Juvenal saith of povert' merrily:
The poore man, when he goes by the way
Before the thieves he may sing and play 13
Povert' is hateful good,14 and, as I guess,
A full great *bringer out of business;* *deliver from trouble*
A great amender eke of sapience
To him that ta...Read more of this...

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