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Famous Ancestor Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
...gallant Sir Robert, to finish the fight,
Turn’d o’er in one bumper a bottle of red,
And swore ’twas the way that their ancestor did.


Then worthy Glenriddel, so cautious and sage,
No longer the warfare ungodly would wage;
A high Ruling Elder to wallow in wine;
He left the foul business to folks less divine.


The gallant Sir Robert fought hard to the end;
But who can with Fate and quart bumpers contend!
Though Fate said, a hero should perish in light;
So uprose brig...Read More



by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...ch rolls 
Thro' many a clime; while others simply dream 
That from the Andes or the mountains north, 
Some hoary fabled ancestor came down 
To people this their world. 



LEANDER. 
How fallen, Oh! 
How much obscur'd is human nature here! 
Shut from the light of science and of truth 
They wander'd blindfold down the steep of time; 
Dim superstition with her ghastly train 
Of dæmons, spectres and forboding signs 
Still urging them to horrid rites and forms 
Of human sa...Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
...or this fortune wanted root
In the core of God's abysm,
Was a weed of self and schism:
And ever the Dæmonic Love
Is the ancestor of wars,
And the parent of remorse....Read More

by Hugo, Victor
...sters. Ancient was the race; 
 To trace the upward stem of proud Lusace 
 Gives one a vertigo; descended they 
 From ancestor of Attila, men say; 
 Their race to him—through Pagans—they hark back; 
 Becoming Christians, race they thought to track 
 Through Lechus, Plato, Otho to combine 
 With Ursus, Stephen, in a lordly line. 
 Of all those masters of the country round 
 That were on Northern Europe's boundary found— 
 At first were waves and then the dykes were re...Read More

by Lindsay, Vachel
...and wide
Gloried in its Indian bride.
Rolfe, that dim adventurer
Had not come a courtier.
John Rolfe is not our ancestor.
We rise from out the soul of her
Held in native wonderland,
While the sun's rays kissed her hand,
In the springtime,
In Virginia,
Our Mother, Pocahontas.


II

She heard the forest talking,
Across the sea came walking,
And traced the paths of Daniel Boone,
Then westward chased the painted moon.
She passed with wild young feet
On to Kans...Read More



by Milton, John
...herefore all night long shine these? for whom 
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes? 
To whom our general ancestor replied. 
Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, 
These have their course to finish round the earth, 
By morrow evening, and from land to land 
In order, though to nations yet unborn, 
Ministring light prepared, they set and rise; 
Lest total Darkness should by night regain 
Her old possession, and extinguish life 
In Nature and all things; ...Read More

by Milton, John
...on my head? 
Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling 
The evil on him brought by me, will curse 
My head? Ill fare our ancestor impure, 
For this we may thank Adam! but his thanks 
Shall be the execration: so, besides 
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me 
Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound; 
On me, as on their natural center, light 
Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys 
Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes! 
Did I request thee, Maker, from my cla...Read More

by Milton, John
...eign 
A melancholy damp of cold and dry 
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 
The balm of life. To whom our ancestor. 
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong 
Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit, 
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge; 
Which I must keep till my appointed day 
Of rendering up, and patiently attend 
My dissolution. Michael replied. 
Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest 
Live well; how long, or short, per...Read More

by Petrarch, Francesco
...hor_P_16>[P] whose hairThe crown of his great ancestor adorns,Already has ta'en arms, to bruise the hornsOf Babylon, and all her name who bear;Christ's holy vicar with the honour'd loadOf keys and cloak, returning to his home,Shall see Bologna and our noble Rome,Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ulsions. 

How curious! how real!
Underfoot the divine soil—overhead the sun. 

See, revolving, the globe; 
The ancestor-continents, away, group’d together; 
The present and future continents, north and south, with the isthmus between. 

See, vast, trackless spaces;
As in a dream, they change, they swiftly fill; 
Countless masses debouch upon them; 
They are now cover’d with the foremost people, arts, institutions, known. 

See, projected, through time, 
For m...Read More

by Lindsay, Vachel
...E MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND GOODWILL WITH THE JAPANESE PEOPLE

Glossary for the uninstructed and the hasty: Jimmu Tenno, ancestor of all the Japanese Emperors; Nikko, Japan's loveliest shrine; Iyeyasu, her greatest statesman; Bushido, her code of knighthood; The Forty-seven Ronins, her classic heroes; Nogi, her latest hero; Fuji, her most beautiful mountain.


"Now do you know of Avalon 
That sailors call Japan? 
She holds as rare a chivalry
As ever bled for man.
King ...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...ywhere --

The Seasons played around his knees
Like Children round a sire --
Grandfather of the Days is He
Of Dawn, the Ancestor --...Read More

by Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
...I.
I stand on the mark beside the shore
Of the first white pilgrim's bended knee,
Where exile turned to ancestor,
And God was thanked for liberty.
I have run through the night, my skin is as dark,
I bend my knee down on this mark . . .
I look on the sky and the sea.

II.
O pilgrim-souls, I speak to you!
I see you come out proud and slow
From the land of the spirits pale as dew. . .
And round me and round me ye go!
O pilgrims...Read More

by Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
...I.
I stand on the mark beside the shore
Of the first white pilgrim's bended knee,
Where exile turned to ancestor,
And God was thanked for liberty.
I have run through the night, my skin is as dark,
I bend my knee down on this mark . . .
I look on the sky and the sea.

II.
O pilgrim-souls, I speak to you!
I see you come out proud and slow
From the land of the spirits pale as dew. . .
And round me and round me ye go!
O pilgrims...Read More

by Merwin, W S
...heard them somewhere
far to the north that many years ago
looking up from his youth to listen to
those six notes of an ancestor
spilling over from a presence neither
water nor human that led to the cave
in his mind the fluted cliffs and the wave
going out and the falling water
he thought those notes could be the music for
Mendelssohn is gone and Fingal is gone
all but his name for a cave and for one
piece of music and the black-capped warbler
as we called that bird that I re...Read More

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
...side.

Remembering, then, the connection that, in a former century,
was formed and riveted between your illustrious ancestor and him 
whom it is the object of these pages to represent, I deem it a happy 
augury that the link then established finds itself not
wholly severed even now (although its strength may be
immeasurably weakened in the comparison), inasmuch as this page 
brings them once more in contact, the one in the person of his own 
descendant, the other in that ...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...be
Still the indomitable Irishry.

 VI

Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.

No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:

 Cast a cold eye
 On life, on death.
 Horseman, pass by!...Read More

by Wylie, Elinor
...ou'll wear a coonskin cap, and I a gown 
Homespun, dyed butternut's dark gold colour. 
Lost, like your lotus-eating ancestor, 
We'll swim in milk and honey till we drown.

The winter will be short, the summer long, 
The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot, 
Tasting of cider and of scuppernong; 
All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all. 
The squirrels in their silver fur will fall 
Like falling leaves, like fruit, before your shot.

2

The autumn frosts will lie ...Read More

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