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Famous Argument Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
Came over icy mountains, or on floats 
First reach'd these coasts hid from the world beside. 
And yet another argument more strange 
Reserv'd for men of deeper thought and late 
Presents itself to view: In Pelag's days, 
So says the Hebrew seer's inspired pen, 
This mighty mass of earth, this solid globe 
Was cleft in twain--cleft east and west apart 
While strait between the deep Atlantic roll'd. 
And traces indisputable remain 
Of this unhappy land now sunk an...Read more of this...

by Browning, Robert, 
Upon that element of truth and worth 
Never be based! for say they make me Pope-- 
(They can't--suppose it for our argument!) 
Why, there I'm at my tether's end, I've reached 
My height, and not a height which pleases you: 
An unbelieving Pope won't do, you say. 
It's like those eerie stories nurses tell, 
Of how some actor on a stage played Death, 
With pasteboard crown, sham orb and tinselled dart, 
And called himself the monarch of the world; 

Then, going in th...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...d thereby
Made out of my best evidence no more 
Than comfortable food for their conceit; 
But patient wisdom frowned on argument, 
With a side nod for silence, and I smoked 
A series of incurable dry pipes
While Morgan fiddled, with obnoxious care, 
Things that I wished he wouldn’t. Killigrew, 
Drowsed with a fond abstraction, like an ass, 
Lay blinking at me while he grinned and made 
Remarks. The learned Plunket made remarks.

It may have been for smoke that I c...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...vil, universal Good: 
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, 
One truth is clear, "Whatever IS, is RIGHT."

Argument of the Second Epistle:

Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect to Himself, as an Individual. The business of Man not to pry into God, but
to study himself.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; 
The proper study of Mankind is Man. 
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,(28) 
A being darkly wise, and rudely great: 
With to...Read more of this...

by Nash, Ogden
...I think of the hours that must be spend in contradicting them,
Because you are very rude if you let them emerge from an argument victorious,
And when they say something of theirs is awful, it is your duty to convince them politely that it is magnificent and glorious,
And what particularly bores me with them,
Is that half the time you have to politely contradict them when you rudely agree with them,
So I think there is one rule every host and hostess ought to keep with the com...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark 
Illumine, what is low raise and support; 
That, to the height of this great argument, 
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to men. 
 Say first--for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, 
Nor the deep tract of Hell--say first what cause 
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state, 
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off 
From their Creator, and transgress his will 
For one restraint, lords of the Worl...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...ity, and divine commands obeyed, 
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal severe 
The current of his fury thus opposed. 
O argument blasphemous, false, and proud! 
Words which no ear ever to hear in Heaven 
Expected, least of all from thee, Ingrate, 
In place thyself so high above thy peers. 
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn 
The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn, 
That to his only Son, by right endued 
With regal scepter, every soul in Heaven 
Shall bend the k...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
That brought into this world a world of woe, 
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery 
Death's harbinger: Sad talk!yet argument 
Not less but more heroick than the wrath 
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued 
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage 
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd; 
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long 
Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son: 

If answerable style I can obtain 
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns 
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
Can he make deathless death? That were to make 
Strange contradiction, which to God himself 
Impossible is held; as argument 
Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out, 
For anger's sake, finite to infinite, 
In punished Man, to satisfy his rigour, 
Satisfied never? That were to extend 
His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law; 
By which all causes else, according still 
To the reception of their matter, act; 
Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say 
Tha...Read more of this...

by Drinkwater, John
...nd fall,
When all my heart in sorrow I could pay
Until at last were left no tear at all;
Then if with tame or subtle argument
Companions come and draw me to a place
Where words are but the tappings of content,
And life spreads all her garments with a grace,
I curse that ease, and hunger in my heart
Back to my pain and lonely to depart.
VI 	Not anything you do can make you mine,
For enterprise with equal charity
In duty as in love elect will shine,
The constant...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...e whole Drama begins and ends, is according to antient rule, and
best example, within the space of 24 hours.


Samson made Captive, Blind, and now in the Prison at Gaza, there
to labour as in a common work-house, on a Festival day, in the
general cessation from labour, comes forth into the open Air, to a
place nigh, somewhat retir'd there to sit a while and bemoan his
condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain
friends and equal...Read more of this...

by Ashbery, John
...mes of an old man.
What we need now is this unlikely
Challenger pounding on the gates of an amazed
Castle. Your argument, Francesco,
Had begun to grow stale as no answer
Or answers were forthcoming. If it dissolves now
Into dust, that only means its time had come
Some time ago, but look now, and listen:
It may be that another life is stocked there
In recesses no one knew of; that it,
Not we, are the change; that we are in fact it
If we could get back to it, relive...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and
I have no mockings or arguments—I witness and wait. 

I believe in you, my Soul—the other I am must not abase itself to you; 
And you must not be abased to the other.

Loafe with me on the grass—loose the stop from your throat; 
Not words, not music or rhyme I want—not custom or lecture, not even the
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...the hearts of the whole race of men,
Its effusion of strength and will overwhelms law, and mocks all authority and all argument

Here is the test of wisdom; 
Wisdom is not finally tested in schools; 
Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it, to another not having it; 
Wisdom is of the Soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities, and is content, 
Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of th...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington 
His only kind of grandeur would have been,
Apparently, in being seen. 
He may have had for evil or for good 
No argument; he may have had no care 
For what without himself went anywhere 
To failure or to glory, and least of all
For such a stale, flamboyant miracle; 
He may have been the prophet of an art 
Immovable to old idolatries; 
He may have been a player without a part, 
Annoyed that even the sun should have the skies
For such a flaming way to advertise; 
He may...Read more of this...

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...nd charged them in hie* *haste
To shape* for his life some remedy. *contrive

Diverse men diverse thinges said;
And arguments they casten up and down;
Many a subtle reason forth they laid;
They speak of magic, and abusion*; *deception
But finally, as in conclusion,
They cannot see in that none avantage,
Nor in no other way, save marriage.

Then saw they therein such difficulty
By way of reason, for to speak all plain,
Because that there was such diversity
Between thei...Read more of this...

by Blake, William
...The Argument.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdend air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along 
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river, and a spring
On every cli...Read more of this...

by Bukowski, Charles
I left town for 6 months, bummed around, came back. I had never forgotten Cass, but
we'd had some type of argument and I felt like moving anyhow, and when I got back i
figured she'd be gone, but I had been sitting in the West End Bar about 30 minutes when
she walked in and sat down next to me.
"Well, bastard, I see you've come back." 
I ordered her a drink. Then I looked at her. She had on a high- necked dress. I had
never seen her in one of ...Read more of this...

by Khayyam, Omar
...t once has blown forever dies. 

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went. 

With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd --
"I came like Water and like Wind I go." 

Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flo...Read more of this...

by Carroll, Lewis
...e regarded not. 

She waited not for his reply,
But with a downward leaden eye
Went on as if he were not by 

Sound argument and grave defence,
Strange questions raised on "Why?" and "Whence?"
And wildly tangled evidence. 

When he, with racked and whirling brain,
Feebly implored her to explain,
She simply said it all again. 

Wrenched with an agony intense,
He spake, neglecting Sound and Sense,
And careless of all consequence: 

"Mind - I believe - is Essence - E...Read more of this...

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