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Famous Abstinence Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Khayyam, Omar
...A heart which does not contain in itself complete abstinence
[from things here below] is to be pitied, for it is
at all times the prey of regret. It is only the heart free
from care that can be joyous; all that exists beyond this
is but a subject of torment....Read More

by Milton, John
To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,
And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub,
Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence!
Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
But all to please and sate the curious taste?
And set to work millions of spinning worms,
That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired silk,
To deck her sons; and...Read More

by Gregory, Rg
...e) appreciating the pure
a step aside from doughy lust and greed
enjoying your birthday in its proper light 
-a time of abstinence starvation longing...Read More

by Jonson, Ben
...           Is mere necessity. Nor mean we those, whom vows and conscience                  Have fill'd with abstinence : Though we acknowledge, who can so abstain,                  Makes a most blessed gain. He that for love of goodness hateth ill,                  Is more crown-worthy still, Than he, which for sin's penalty forbears ;                 Graced with a Phoenix' love ; A beauty of that clear and sparkling light,         ...Read More

by Khayyam, Omar
...Hear now Khayyam's advice, and bear in mind,
Consort with revellers, though they be maligned,
Cast down the gates of abstinence and prayer,
Yea, drink, and even rob, but, oh! be kind!...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...Hope is a subtle Glutton --
He feeds upon the Fair --
And yet -- inspected closely
What Abstinence is there --

His is the Halcyon Table --
That never seats but One --
And whatsoever is consumed
The same amount remain --...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...I fit for them --
I seek the Dark
Till I am thorough fit.
The labor is a sober one
With this sufficient sweet
That abstinence of mine produce
A purer food for them, if I succeed,
If not I had
The transport of the Aim --...Read More

by Smart, Christopher
...God with great cheerfulness. 

For I prophecy that they will observe the Rubrick with regard to days of Fasting and Abstinence. 

For I prophecy that the clergy in particular will set a better example. 

For I prophecy that they will not dare to imprison a brother or sister for debt. 

For I prophecy that hospitality and temperance will revive. 

For I prophecy that men will be much stronger in the body. 

For I prophecy that the gout, and consumptions...Read More

by Herbert, George
...hich should increase
The obligation in us, make it less, 
And Power itself disable.

Besides the cleanness of sweet abstinence, 
Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense, 
A face not fearing light: 
Whereas in fulness there are sluttish fumes, 
Sour exhalations, and dishonest rheums, 
Revenging the delight.

Then those same pendant profits, which the spring
And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing, 
And goodness of the deed.
Neither ought other men's abuse of L...Read More

by Milton, John Eve, 
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared, 
Had it been only coveting to eye 
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence, 
Much more to taste it under ban to touch. 
But past who can recall, or done undo? 
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate; yet so 
Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact 
Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit, 
Profaned first by the serpent, by him first 
Made common, and unhallowed, ere our taste; 
Nor yet on him found deadly; yet he lives; 
...Read More

by Lehman, David
...ounts if I were
Donald E. Westlake, whose novels I'm hooked on, but
this first cigarette after twenty-four hours
of abstinence tastes so good it makes me want
to include it in my catalogue of pleasures
designed to hide the ugliness or sweep it away
the way the violent overflow of rain over cliffs
cleans the sewers and drains of Ithaca
whose waterfalls head my list, followed by
crudites of carrots and beets, roots and all,
with rained-on radishes, too beautiful to eat,
and...Read More

by Tynan, Katharine
...ave their fill,' said he. 

His prayer, his vow, the blackbirds heard, 
And spared his shining garden-plot. 
In abstinence went every bird, 
All the old thieving ways forgot. 

He kept his promise to his friends,
And daily set them finest fare 
Of corn and meal and manchet-ends, 
With marrowy bones for winter bare. 

Brother Benignus died in grace: 
The brethren keep his trust, and feed 
The blackbirds in this pleasant place, 
Purged, as dear heaven, from stri...Read More

by Robinson, Mary Darby
Which SATAN chalk'd upon his Tally;
To give fresh licence to begin,--
And for new scenes of frolic, rally.
For abstinence was not his way--
He lov'd to live --as well as pray ;
To prove his gratitude to Heav'n
By taking freely all its favors,--
And keeping his account still even,
Still mark'd his best endeavours:
That is to say, He took pure Ore
For benedictions,--and was known,
While Reason op'd her golden store,--
Not to unlock his own.--
And often to his cell ...Read More

by Turner Smith, Charlotte droops one,
Who in a moping cloister long consum'd
This life inactive, to obtain a better,
And thought that meagre abstinence, to wake
From his hard pallet with the midnight bell,
To live on eleemosynary bread,
And to renounce God's works, would please that God.
And now the poor pale wretch receives, amaz'd,
The pity, strangers give to his distress,
Because these Strangers are, by his dark creed,
Condemn'd as Heretics--and with sick heart
Regrets 2 his pious prison, ...Read More

by Blake, William
...mild arts.
2.2 Smile when they frown, frown when they smile; and when a man looks pale
2.3 With labour and abstinence, say he looks healthy and happy;
2.4 And when his children sicken, let them die; there are enough
2.5 Born, even too many, and our earth will be overrun
2.6 Without these arts. If you would make the poor live with temper,
2.7 With pomp give every crust of bread you give; with gracious cunning
2.8 Magnify small gifts; reduce...Read More

by Blake, William
...f bread, by soft mild arts.
Smile when they frown, frown when they smile; and when a man looks pale
With labour and abstinence, say he looks healthy and happy;
And when his children sicken, let them die; there are enough
Born, even too many, and our earth will be overrun
Without these arts. If you would make the poor live with temper,
With pomp give every crust of bread you give; with gracious cunning
Magnify small gifts; reduce the man to want a gift, and then give w...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...of Christe's secret things,
Than *borel folk,* although that they be kings. *laymen*
We live in povert', and in abstinence,
And borel folk in riches and dispence
Of meat and drink, and in their foul delight.
We have this worlde's lust* all in despight** * pleasure **contempt
Lazar and Dives lived diversely,
And diverse guerdon* hadde they thereby. *reward
Whoso will pray, he must fast and be clean,
And fat his soul, and keep his body lean
We fare as saith th' ...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...opponent. Whose 
History was ever stain'd as his will be 
With national and individual woes? 
I grant his household abstinence; I grant 
His neutral virtues, which most monarchs want; 


'I know he was a constant consort; own 
He was a decent sire, and middling lord. 
All this is much, and most upon a throne; 
As temperance, if at Apicius' board, 
Is more than at an anchorite's supper shown. 
I grant him all the kindest can accord; 
And this was well for him...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
And of myn ordre, ay til deeth me mete,
The observaunce ever, in your absence,
Shal sorwe been, compleynte, and abstinence.

'Myn herte and eek the woful goost ther-inne 
Biquethe I, with your spirit to compleyne
Eternally, for they shal never twinne.
For though in erthe y-twinned be we tweyne,
Yet in the feld of pitee, out of peyne,
That hight Elysos, shul we been y-fere, 
As Orpheus and Erudice, his fere.

'Thus, herte myn, for Antenor, allas!
I sone sha...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...Unto my Books -- so good to turn --
Far ends of tired Days --
It half endears the Abstinence --
And Pain -- is missed -- in Praise --

As Flavors -- cheer Retarded Guests
With Banquettings to be --
So Spices -- stimulate the time
Till my small Library --

It may be Wilderness -- without --
Far feet of failing Men --
But Holiday -- excludes the night --
And it is Bells -- within --

I thank these Kinsmen of the Shelf --
Their Countenances ...Read More

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