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Famous Alas Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Wilde, Oscar
Or else that mightier maid whose care it is
To guard her strong and stainless majesty
Upon the hill Athenian, - alas!
That they who loved so well unloved into Death's house should

So with soft hands she laid the boy and girl
In the great golden waggon tenderly
(Her white throat whiter than a moony pearl
Just threaded with a blue vein's tapestry
Had not yet ceased to throb, and still her breast
Swayed like a wind-stirred lily in ambiguous unrest)

And then ...Read more of this...

by Service, Robert William
...Upon a branch as bleak as night
It gleamed exultant on my sight,
A fairy beacon burning bright
Of hope and cheer.

"Alas!" said I, "poor foolish thing,
Have you mistaken this for Spring?
Behold, the thrush has taken wing,
And Winter's near."
Serene it seemed to lift its head:
"The Winter's wrath I do not dread,
Because I am," it proudly said,
"A Pioneer.

"Some apple blossom must be first,
With beauty's urgency to burst
Into a world for joy athirst,
And so I dare;...Read more of this...

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...e commanded
On the morrow to meet in the church, where his Majesty's mandate
Will be proclaimed as law in the land. Alas! in the mean time
Many surmises of evil alarm the hearts of the people."
Then made answer the farmer:--"Perhaps some friendlier purpose
Brings these ships to our shores. Perhaps the harvests in England
By untimely rains or untimelier heat have been blighted,
And from our bursting barns they would feed their cattle and children."
"Not so thin...Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar

And Love! that noble madness, whose august
And inextinguishable might can slay
The soul with honeyed drugs, - alas! I must
From such sweet ruin play the runaway,
Although too constant memory never can
Forget the arched splendour of those brows Olympian

Which for a little season made my youth
So soft a swoon of exquisite indolence
That all the chiding of more prudent Truth
Seemed the thin voice of jealousy, - O hence
Thou huntress deadlier than Artemis!
Go seek some...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
..., and I my head 
 Bowed down, and made no answer, till my guide 
 Questioned, "What wouldst thou more?" and replied, 
 "Alas my thought I what sweet keen longings led 
 These spirits, woeful, to their dark abode!" 
 And then to them, - "Francesca, all thy pain 
 Is mine. With pity and grief I weep. But say 
 How, in the time of sighing, and in what way, 
 Love gave you of the dubious deeds to know." 

 And she to me, "There is no greater woe 
 In all Hell's depths...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ter dwelt beyond the sky: 
Chain'd to excess, the slave of each extreme, 
How woke he from the wildness of that dream? 
Alas! he told not — but he did awake 
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break. 


Books, for his volume heretofore was Man, 
With eye more curious he appear'd to scan, 
And oft, in sudden mood, for many a day 
From all communion he would start away: 
And then, his rarely call'd attendants said, 
Through night's long hours would sound hi...Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William>  —Where art thou gone my own dear child?  What wicked looks are those I see?  Alas! alas! that look so wild,  It never, never came from me:  If thou art mad, my pretty lad,  Then I must be for ever sad.   Oh! smile on me, my little lamb!  For I thy own dear mother am.  My love for thee has well been tried:  I've sought thy father f...Read more of this...

by Wilde, Oscar
...the wide bridges of that fairy town,
Where the tall tower of Giotto seems to rise
A marble lily under sapphire skies!

Alas! my Dante! thou hast known the pain
Of meaner lives, - the exile's galling chain,
How steep the stairs within kings' houses are,
And all the petty miseries which mar
Man's nobler nature with the sense of wrong.
Yet this dull world is grateful for thy song;
Our nations do thee homage, - even she,
That cruel queen of vine-clad Tuscany,
Who bound with ...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord) 
Than live thus nothing now to thee; 
Perhaps far worse, for now I know 
Why Giaffir always seem'd thy foe; 
And I, alas! am Giaffir's child, 
Form whom thou wert contemn'd, reviled. 
If not thy sister — wouldst thou save 
My life, oh! bid me be thy slave!" 


"My slave, Zuleika! — nay, I'm thine; 
But, gentle love, this transport calm, 
Thy lot shall yet be link'd with mine; 
I swear it by our Prophet's shrine, 
And be that thought thy sorrow's balm. 
S...Read more of this...

by Poe, Edgar Allan lie
In each idol's diamond eye-
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl alas!
Along that wilderness of glass-
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea-
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.

But lo a stir is in the air!
The wave- there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside 
In slightly sinking the dull tide-
As if their tops had feebly given
...Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William
...wo.  And though you with your utmost skill  From labour could not wean them,  Alas! 'tis very little, all  Which they can do between them.   Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,  Not twenty paces from the door,  A scrap of land they have, but they  Are poorest of the poor.  This scrap of land he from the heath  Enclosed when he was...Read more of this...

by Bradstreet, Anne
...nd my courtesy
3.28 Makes all to place their future hopes on me.
3.29 This is my best, but youth (is known) alas,
3.30 To be as wild as is the snuffing Ass,
3.31 As vain as froth, as vanity can be,
3.32 That who would see vain man may look on me:
3.33 My gifts abus'd, my education lost,
3.34 My woful Parents' longing hopes all crost;
3.35 My wit evaporates in merriment;
3.36 My valour in some beastly quarrel's spent;
3.37 Martial de...Read more of this...

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...of kind
The perpetuity which all things lack? 

Which but to hope is doubtful joy, to have
Being a continuance of what, alas,
We mourn, and scarcely hear with to the grave;
Or something so unknown that it o'erpass
The thought of comfort, and the sense that gave
Cannot consider it thro' any glass. 

Come gentle sleep, I woo thee: come and take
Not now the child into thine arms, from fright
Composed by drowsy tune and shaded light,
Whom ignorant of thee thou didst nurse ...Read more of this...

by Carroll, Lewis
...on, anyhow, across the rudder. The helmsman* used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one." So remon{-} strance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards. 

As...Read more of this...

by Wordsworth, William
...e railed,  While to the town she posts away;  "If Susan had not been so ill,  Alas! I should have had him still,  My Johnny, till my dying day."   Poor Betty! in this sad distemper,  The doctor's self would hardly spare,  Unworthy things she talked and wild,  Even he, of cattle the most mild,  The pony had his share.   A...Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
Went in his chamber roaming to and fro,
And to himself complaining of his woe:
That he was born, full oft he said, Alas!
And so befell, by aventure or cas*, *chance
That through a window thick of many a bar
Of iron great, and square as any spar,
He cast his eyes upon Emelia,
And therewithal he blent* and cried, Ah! *started aside
As though he stungen were unto the heart.
And with that cry Arcite anon up start,
And saide, "Cousin mine, what aileth thee,
That art so pa...Read more of this...

by Scott, Sir Walter withered hands, he said,
     'Vainly thou bidst me wake the strain,
      Though all unwont to bid in vain.
     Alas! than mine a mightier hand
     Has tuned my harp, my strings has spanned!
     I touch the chords of joy, but low
     And mournful answer notes of woe;
     And the proud march which victors tread
     Sinks in the wailing for the dead.
     O, well for me, if mine alone
     That dirge's deep prophetic tone!
     If, as my tuneful fathers sai...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
He too amongst my ancestors! I hate 
The despot, but the dastard I despise. 
Was he our countryman?' 
'Alas, O king! 
Iberia bore him, but the breed accurst 
Inclement winds blew blighting from north-east.' 
'He was a warrior then, nor fear'd the gods?' 
'Gebir, he fear'd the demons, not the gods, 
Though them indeed his daily face adored: 
And was no warrior, yet the thousand lives 
Squander'd, as stones to exercise a sling, 
And the tame cruelty and col...Read more of this...

by Miller, Alice Duer
...and Bill
In Chinese Customs, and the youngest one
Peter, the sailor, at Osborne still;
And the daughter, Enid, married, alas,
To a civil servant in far Madras.

A little thing happened, just before
We left— the evening papers came;
John, flicking them over to find a score,
Spoke for the first time a certain name—
The name of a town in a distant land
Etched on our hearts by a murderer's hand.

Mother and son exchanged a glance, 
A curious glance of strength and dread.<...Read more of this...

by Akhmatova, Anna
...e earth
There can be no liberation.
Like smoke from sacrifice, that it could not
Fly Strength- and Glory-ward -- alas -
But only clouded at the feet
And, as if praying, kissed the grass.
Thus I, O Lord, before thee bow:
Will reach the fire of the sky
My lashes that are closed for now
And muteness utter and divine?

x x x

In intimacy there exists a line
That can't be crossed by passion or love's art --
In awful silence lips melt into one
And out ...Read more of this...

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