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Famous Altar Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shakespeare, William
...I myself must render,
That is, to you, my origin and ender;
For these, of force, must your oblations be,
Since I their altar, you enpatron me.

''O, then, advance of yours that phraseless hand,
Whose white weighs down the airy scale of praise;
Take all these similes to your own command,
Hallow'd with sighs that burning lungs did raise;
What me your minister, for you obeys,
Works under you; and to your audit comes
Their distract parcels in combined sums.

''Lo, this d...Read More



by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...e their searches, and their reason vain, 
Else whence the sculptur'd image of a god, 
And marble bust ador'd as deity, 
Altar and hecatomb prepar'd for these, 
Or human sacrifice when hecatomb 
Consum'd in vain with ceremony dire, 
And rites abhorr'd, denied the wish'd success. 
Reason is dark, else why heroic deem'd 
Fell suicide, as if 'twere fortitude 
And higher merit to recede from life, 
Shunning the ills of poverty, or pain, 
Or wasting sickness, or the victor's sw...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...ny more
That worn sail which Argo bore.

Dust and dust of ashes close
 All the Vestal Virgin's care;
And the oldest altar shows
 But an older darkness there.
Age-encamped Oblivion
Tenteth every light that shone.

Yet shall we, for Suns that die,
 Wall our wanderings from desire?
Or, because the Moon is high,
 Scorn to use a nearer fire?
Lest some envious Pharaoh stir,
Make our lives our sepulcher?

Nay! Though Time with petty Fate
 Prison us and Emperors,
By our A...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...oft are Stratagems which Errors seem,
Nor is it Homer Nods, but We that Dream.

Still green with Bays each ancient Altar stands,
Above the reach of Sacrilegious Hands,
Secure from Flames, from Envy's fiercer Rage,
Destructive War, and all-involving Age.
See, from each Clime the Learn'd their Incense bring;
Hear, in all Tongues consenting Paeans ring!
In Praise so just, let ev'ry Voice be join'd,
And fill the Gen'ral Chorus of Mankind!
Hail Bards Triumphant! born in h...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...avenous fang
Of the base wolf from homestead and from stall;
And then the clear-voiced maidens 'gan to sing,
And to the altar each man brought some goodly offering,

A beechen cup brimming with milky foam,
A fair cloth wrought with cunning imagery
Of hounds in chase, a waxen honey-comb
Dripping with oozy gold which scarce the bee
Had ceased from building, a black skin of oil
Meet for the wrestlers, a great boar the fierce and white-tusked
spoil

Stolen from Artemis that jealo...Read More



by Keats, John
...nd lines of Naiads' long bright tress.
Heaven shield thee for thine utter loveliness!
Thy mossy footstool shall the altar be
'Fore which I'll bend, bending, dear love, to thee:
Those lips shall be my Delphos, and shall speak
Laws to my footsteps, colour to my cheek,
Trembling or stedfastness to this same voice,
And of three sweetest pleasurings the choice:
And that affectionate light, those diamond things,
Those eyes, those passions, those supreme pearl springs,
Shall be ...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...urch, when the chant of the choir at intervals ceases,
Footfalls are heard in the aisles, or words of the priest at the altar,
So, in each pause of the song, with measured motion the clock clicked.

Thus as they sat, there were footsteps heard, and, suddenly lifted,
Sounded the wooden latch, and the door swung back on its hinges.
Benedict knew by the hob-nailed shoes it was Basil the blacksmith,
And by her beating heart Evangeline knew who was with him.
"Welcome!"...Read More

by Milton, John
...ne 
With warbled hyms, and to his Godhead sing 
Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits 
Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes 
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers, 
Our servile offerings? This must be our task 
In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome 
Eternity so spent in worship paid 
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue, 
By force impossible, by leave obtained 
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state 
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek 
Our own g...Read More

by Milton, John
...Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed 
Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe, 
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise 
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill 
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, 
And joined their vocal worship to the quire 
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake 
The season prime for sweetest scents and airs: 
Then commune, how that day they best may ply 
Their growing work: for much their work out-grew 
The ha...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...e ready; 
The duck-shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches;
The deacons are ordain’d with cross’d hands at the altar; 
The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel; 
The farmer stops by the bars, as he walks on a First-day loafe, and looks at the
 oats and rye; 
The lunatic is carried at last to the asylum, a confirm’d case, 
(He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his mother’s
 bed-room;)
The jour printer with gray head an...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...oughts he went;
He marked the tilt of the pagan camp,
The paling of pine, the sentries' tramp,
And the one great stolen altar-lamp
Over Guthrum in his tent.

By scrub and thorn in Ethandune 
That night the foe had lain;
Whence ran across the heather grey
The old stones of a Roman way; 
And in a wood not far away
The pale road split in twain.

He marked the wood and the cloven ways
With an old captain's eyes,
And he thought how many a time had he
Sought to see Doom he ...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...without knowing--
an invisible purchase--
that inhabits our house forever.

We were
blessed by the House-Die
by the altar of the color T.V.
and somehow managed to make a tiny marriage,
a tiny marriage
called belief,
as in the child's belief in the tooth fairy,
so close to absolute,
so daft within a year or two.
The daisies have come
for the last time.
And I who have,
each year of my life,
spoken to the tooth fairy,
believing in her,
even when I was her,
am...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...when she says eternal attachment, simply specifies three weeks. 

(24) Before his Persian invasion, and crowned the altar with laurel, &c. He was afterwards imitated by Caracalla in his race. It is believed that the last also poisoned a friend, named Festus, for the sake of new Patroclan games. I have seen the sheep feeding on the tombs of ?sietes and Antilochos: the first is in the center of the plain. 

(25) When rubbed, the amber is susceptible of a per...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...past.

VI

A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was returned.—I saw him stand
Before an altar—with a gentle bride;
Her face was fair, but was not that which made
The Starlight of his Boyhood;—as he stood
Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came
The selfsame aspect and the quivering shock
That in the antique Oratory shook
His bosom in its solitude; and then— 
As in that hour—a moment o'er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced...Read More

by Masefield, John
...come up the sky. 
Then they lifted hands and turned, 
And all their lifted fingers burned, 
Burned like the golden altar tallows, 
Burned like a troop of God's own Hallows, 
Bringing to mind the burning time 
When all the bells will rock and chime 
And burning saints on burning horses 
Will sweep the planets from their courses 
And loose the stars to burn up night. 
Lord, give us eyes to bear the light. 

We all went quiet down the Scallenge 
Lest Police Inspecto...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...to do his rite and sacrifice
He eastward hath upon the gate above,
In worship of Venus, goddess of love,
*Done make* an altar and an oratory; *caused to be made*
And westward, in the mind and in memory
Of Mars, he maked hath right such another,
That coste largely of gold a fother*. *a great amount
And northward, in a turret on the wall,
Of alabaster white and red coral
An oratory riche for to see,
In worship of Diane of chastity,
Hath Theseus done work in noble wise.
...Read More

by Blake, William
...aid I! is your lot, in this space, if space it may be
calld, Soon we saw the stable and the church, & I took him to the
altar and open'd the Bible, and lo! it was a deep pit, into which
I descended driving the Angel before me, soon we saw seven houses
of brick, one we enterd; in it were a [PL 20] number of monkeys,
baboons, & all of that species chaind by the middle, grinning and
snatching at one another, but witheld by the shortness of their
chains: however I saw that they s...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...e 
There's scarce a scribbler has not one to show, 
From the fiends' leader to the angels' prince; 
There also are some altar-pieces, though 
I really can't say that they much evince 
One's inner notions of immortal spirits; 
But let the connoisseurs explain their merits. 

*** 

Michael flew forth in glory and in good; 
A goodly work of him from whom all glory 
And good arise; the portal past — he stood; 
Before him the young cherubs and saints hoary — 
(I say young, beg...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von
...s,
Looking after the march, till the distance 'twas lost.
Then in prayer they threw themselves down at the deities' altars,
Praying for triumph and fame, praying for your safe return.
Honor and triumph were yours, but naught returned save your glory,
And by a heart-touching stone, told are your valorous deeds.
"Traveller! when thou com'st to Sparta, proclaim to the people
That thou hast seen us lie here, as by the law we were bid."
Slumber calmly, ye loved one...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...pped on shining stairs' granite
And he prayed then of the coming
Meeting with his first delight.

And above the altar made of gold
Flamed away the garden of God's rays:
"Here she is, here is the happy glimmer
Of gray joyous stars that are her eyes."



x x x

Wide and yellow's evening light,
Tender is the April chill,
You are late by many years
But I am glad of you still.

Come and sit right next to me,
With the happy eyes come look:
Here, my...Read More

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