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Famous Alms Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
...Auld! 16 Gif ye canna bite, ye may bark.

Holy Will! holy Will, there was wit in your skull,
 When ye pilfer’d the alms o’ the poor;
The timmer is scant when ye’re taen for a saunt,
 Wha should swing in a rape for an hour,
Holy Will! 17 Ye should swing in a rape for an hour.

Calvin’s sons! Calvin’s sons, seize your spiritual guns,
 Ammunition you never can need;
Your hearts are the stuff will be powder enough,
 And your skulls are a storehouse o’ lead,
Calvin’s son...Read More

by Mayakovsky, Vladimir folk: 

You are no beggars; 
how dare you beg for alms! 

We in our vigour, 
whose stride measures yards, 
must not listen, but tear them apart ¨C 
glued like a special supplement 
to each double bed! 

Are we to ask them humbly: 
¡°Assist me!¡± 
Implore for a hymn 
or an oratorio! 
We ourselves are creators within a burning hymn ¨C 
the hum of mills and laboratories. 

What is Fa...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...cond Sun --
Its Toils to Brindled People thrust --
Its Triumphs -- to the Bin --
Accosted by a timid Bird
Irresolute of Alms --
Is often seen -- but seldom felt,
On our New England Farms --...Read More

by Smart, Christopher
...atten o'er their stores, 
And careful nature all her doors 
 For ADORATION shuts. 

For ADORATION, DAVID's psalms 
Life up the heart to deeds of alms; 
 And he, who kneels and chants, 
Prevails his passions to control, 
Finds meat and med'cine to the soul, 
 Which for translation pants. 

For ADORATION, beyond match, 
The scholar bullfinch aims to catch 
 The soft flute's iv'ry touch; 
And, careless on the hazel spray, 
The daring redbreast keeps at bay 
...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
But the Merchant risked the perils of the Plain
 For his gain.
Now the resting-place of Charnock, 'neath the palms,
 Asks an alms,
And the burden of its lamentation is, Briefly, this:
"Because for certain months, we boil and stew,
 So should you.
Cast the Viceroy and his Council, to perspire
 In our fire!"
And for answer to the argument, in vain
 We explain
That an amateur Saint Lawrence cannot fry:
 "All must fry!"
That the Merchant risks the perils of the Plai...Read More

by St Vincent Millay, Edna
...My heart is what it was before,
A house where people come and go;
But it is winter with your love,
The sashes are beset with snow.

I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
I blow the coals to blaze again;
But it is winter with your love,
The frost is thick upon the pane..

I know a winter when it comes:
The leaves are listless on the boughs;
I watc...Read More

by Whitman, Walt of the great Idea! take all the rest; 
I have loved the earth, sun, animals—I have despised riches, 
I have given alms to every one that ask’d, stood up for the stupid and crazy, devoted
 income and labor to others,
I have hated tyrants, argued not concerning God, had patience and indulgence toward the
 taken off my hat to nothing known or unknown, 
I have gone freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the
 of families, ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...' she thought `he is happy, he is singing
Hosanna in the highest: yonder shines
The Sun of Righteousness, and these be palms
Whereof the happy people strowing cried
"Hosanna in the highest!"' Here she woke,
Resolved, sent for him and said wildly to him
`There is no reason why we should not wed.'
`Then for God's sake,' he answer'd, `both our sakes,
So you will wed me, let it be at once.' 

So these were wed and merrily rang the bells,
Merrily rang the bells and they we...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...lly cry, 
In Magdalen's loose hair and lifted eye, 
Or drest in smiles of sweet Cecilia shine, 
With simpering Angels, Palms, and Harps divine; 
Whether the Charmer sinner it, or saint it, 
If Folly grow romantic, I must paint it. 

Come then, the colours and the ground prepare! 
Dip in the Rainbow, trick her off in Air; 
Choose a firm Cloud, before it fall, and in it 
Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute. 

Rufa, whose eye quick-glancing o'er the Park, 
...Read More

by Crowley, Aleister
...nd -we'll walk
Still a little way.
I'll not desert thee at the close of day,
I, too, must pray.
A beggar asking alms of passers-by,
Does not refuse a drink to one who's dry
That once by him did lie.

Poet, come close -before I leave for aye
Take thou my hand, we'll walk still
A little way. 

One garment covered both to keep us warm,
What harmed the one, was't not the other's harm?
Close clasped, one single form.
Was it not meant of aye?
Poet, take thou my ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...nd fled: small pity upon his horse had he, 
Or on himself, or any, and when he met 
A cripple, one that held a hand for alms-- 
Hunched as he was, and like an old dwarf-elm 
That turns its back upon the salt blast, the boy 
Paused not, but overrode him, shouting, `False, 
And false with Gawain!' and so left him bruised 
And battered, and fled on, and hill and wood 
Went ever streaming by him till the gloom, 
That follows on the turning of the world, 
Darkened the common path:...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
It burned in twisted gold, upon
His finger. Like some Spanish don,
Conferring favours even when
Asking an alms, he bowed again
And waited. But my pockets proved
Empty, in vain I poked and shoved,
No hidden penny lurking there
Greeted my search. "Sir, I declare
I have no money, pray forgive,
But let me take you where you live."
And so we plodded through the mire
Where street lamps cast a wavering fire.
I took no note of where we went,
His talk bec...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...I was empty- handed; I sought any occupation that would give me bread, but all to no avail. In desperation I asked alms, but They worshippers saw me and said "He is strong and lazy, and he should not beg." 

"Oh Lord, it is Thy will that my mother gave birth unto me, and now the earth offers me back to You before the Ending." 

His expression then changed. He arose and his eyes now glittered in determination. He fashioned a thick and heavy stick from the ...Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
...And poor Palatinate for every lost.
5.47 I've seen a Prince to live on others' lands,
5.48 A Royal one, by alms from Subjects' hands.
5.49 I've seen base men, advanc'd to great degree,
5.50 And worthy ones, put to extremity,
5.51 But not their Prince's love, nor state so high,
5.52 Could once reverse, their shameful destiny.
5.53 I've seen one stabb'd, another lose his head,
5.54 And others fly their Country through their dread.Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Whom Arthur and his knighthood called The 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-tre...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...ritain's Statesmen oft the Fall foredoom
Of Foreign Tyrants, and of Nymphs at home;
Here Thou, great Anna! whom three Realms obey,
Dost sometimes Counsel take--and sometimes Tea.
Hither the Heroes and the Nymphs resort,
To taste awhile the Pleasures of a Court; 
In various Talk th' instructive hours they past,
Who gave the Ball, or paid the Visit last:
One speaks the Glory of the British Queen,
And one describes a charming Indian Screen.
A third interprets Motions, Lo...Read More

by Pope, Alexander's wits are kept in pond'rous vases,
And beaux' in snuff boxes and tweezercases.
There broken vows and deathbed alms are found,
And lovers' hearts with ends of riband bound;
The courtier's promises, and sick man's prayers,
The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs,
Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea,
Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.

But trust the Muse--she saw it upward rise,
Though mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes:
(So Rome'...Read More

by Baudelaire, Charles
...ctor's soul. 
Then suddenly an aged man, whose rags 
Were yellow as the rainy sky, whose looks 
Should have brought alms in floods upon his head, 
Without the misery gleaming in his eye, 
Appeared before me; and his pupils seemed 
To have been washed with gall; the bitter frost 
Sharpened his glance; and from his chin a beard 
Sword-stiff and ragged, Judas-like stuck forth. 
He was not bent but broken: his backbone 
Made a so true right angle with his legs, 
That, as ...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...fearful guest! 
Who, with thy hollow breast 
Still in rude armor drest, 
Comest to daunt me! 
Wrapt not in Eastern balms, 5 
But with thy fleshless palms 
Stretched, as if asking alms, 
Why dost thou haunt me?" 

Then, from those cavernous eyes 
Pale flashes seemed to rise, 10 
As when the Northern skies 
Gleam in December; 
And, like the water's flow 
Under December's snow, 
Came a dull voice of woe 15 
From the heart's chamber. 

"I was a Viking old! 
...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...of your peace; it is time to retake it!" 

At that moment a poor man stood before him and stretched forth his hand for alms. As he looked at the beggar, his lips parted, his eyes brightened with a softness, and his face radiated kindness. It was as if the yesterday he had lamented by the lake had come to greet him. He embraced the pauper with affection and filled his hands with gold, and with a voice sincere with the sweetness of love he said, "Come back tomorrow...Read More

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