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Famous Assay Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shakespeare, William
...this false jewel, and his amorous spoil.

'But, ah, who ever shunn'd by precedent
The destined ill she must herself assay?
Or forced examples, 'gainst her own content,
To put the by-past perils in her way?
Counsel may stop awhile what will not stay;
For when we rage, advice is often seen
By blunting us to make our wits more keen.

'Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood,
That we must curb it upon others' proof;
To be forbod the sweets that seem so good,
For fear of ha...Read More

by Spenser, Edmund
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey:
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return'd the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
There she beholding me with milder look,
Sought not to fly, but fearless still did bide:
Till I in hand her yet half trembling took,
And with her own goodwill her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem'd, to see a b...Read More

by Blake, William
...u yields to night thy wide domain,
Let rays of truth enlight his sleeping brain.
For brutish Pan in vain might thee assay
With tinkling sounds to dash thy nervous verse,
Sound without sense; yet in his rude affray,
(For ignorance is Folly's leasing nurse
And love of Folly needs none other's curse)
Midas the praise hath gain'd of lengthen'd ears,
For which himself might deem him ne'er the worse
To sit in council with his modern peers,
And judge of tinkling rimes and elegan...Read More

by Milton, John inferior hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds, yet as we go,
What ere the skill of lesser gods can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate, 
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all that are of noble stemm
Approach, and kiss her sacred vestures hemm.

2. SONG.

O're the smooth enameld green
Where no print of step hath been,
Follow me as I sing,
And touch the warbled string.
Under the shady roof
Of branching Elm Star-proof,
Fol...Read More

by Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
...eaks nor stirs:
Ah! what a stricken look was hers!
Deep from within she seems half-way
To lift some weight with sick assay,
And eyes the maid and seeks delay;
Then suddenly, as one defied,
Collects herself in scorn and pride,
And lay down by the maiden's side!-
And in her arms the maid she took,
Ah, well-a-day!
And with low voice and doleful look
These words did say:

'In the touch of this bosom there worketh a spell,
Which is lord of thy utterance, Christabel!
...Read More

by Spenser, Edmund
...Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey:
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return'd the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
There she beholding me with milder look,
Sought not to fly, but fearless still did bide:
Till I in hand her yet half trembling took,
And with her own goodwill her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem'd, to...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...that thou for all 
The kitchen brewis that was ever supt 
Shalt not once dare to look him in the face.' 

'I shall assay,' said Gareth with a smile 
That maddened her, and away she flashed again 
Down the long avenues of a boundless wood, 
And Gareth following was again beknaved. 

'Sir Kitchen-knave, I have missed the only way 
Where Arthur's men are set along the wood; 
The wood is nigh as full of thieves as leaves: 
If both be slain, I am rid of thee; but yet, 
Si...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...Weldez non so hyyghe hawtesse
That ho ne con make ful tame--
"Ho wayned me vpon this wyse to your wynne halle
For to assay the surquidrŽ, yghif hit soth were

That rennes of the grete renoun of the Rounde Table;
Ho wayned me this wonder your wyttez to reue,
For to haf greued Gaynour and gart hir to dyyghe
With glopnyng of that ilke gome that gostlych speked
With his hede in his honde bifore the hyyghe table.
That is ho that is at home, the auncian lady;
Ho is e...Read More

by Milton, John Heaven, in the precincts of light, 
Directly towards the new created world, 
And man there plac'd, with purpose to assay 
If him by force he can destroy, or, worse, 
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert; 
For man will hearken to his glozing lies, 
And easily transgress the sole command, 
Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall 
He and his faithless progeny: Whose fault? 
Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of me 
All he could have; I made him just and right, ...Read More

by Milton, John
...f my revenge, first sought for, thou returnest 
From flight, seditious Angel! to receive 
Thy merited reward, the first assay 
Of this right hand provoked, since first that tongue, 
Inspired with contradiction, durst oppose 
A third part of the Gods, in synod met 
Their deities to assert; who, while they feel 
Vigour divine within them, can allow 
Omnipotence to none. But well thou comest 
Before thy fellows, ambitious to win 
From me some plume, that thy success may show...Read More

by Milton, John
...ved false; find peace within, 
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event. 
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed 
Alone, without exteriour help sustained? 
Let us not then suspect our happy state 
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise, 
As not secure to single or combined. 
Frail is our happiness, if this be so, 
And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed. 
To whom thus Adam fervently replied. 
O Woman, best are all things as the will 
Of God ordained them: ...Read More

by Milton, John
To shew him worthy of his birth divine
And high prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt, and now assay
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his Apostasy. He might have learnt
Less overweening, since he failed in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shall know I can produce a man, 
Of female seed, far abler to resist
All his solicitations, and a...Read More

by Milton, John
...t when it must, but when it may be best.
If thou observe not this, be sure to find
What I foretold thee—many a hard assay
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains,
Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold; 
Whereof this ominous night that closed thee round,
So many terrors, voices, prodigies,
May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign."
 So talked he, while the Son of God went on,
And staid not, but in brief him answered thus:—
 "Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other...Read More

by Milton, John
Is to be found, in the wide Wilderness:
The rest commit to me; I shall let pass
No advantage, and his strength as oft assay."
 He ceased, and heard their grant in loud acclaim;
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band
Of Spirits likest to himself in guile,
To be at hand and at his beck appear,
If cause were to unfold some active scene
Of various persons, each to know his part; 
Then to the desert takes with these his flight,
Where still, from shade to shade, the Son of...Read More

by Spenser, Edmund with which heaven doth us fray, 
Heaven had not fear of that presumptuous might, 
With which the Giants did the Gods assay. 
But all so soon, as scorching Sun had brent 
His wings, which wont to the earth to overspread, 
The earth out of her massy womb forth sent 
That antique horror, which made heaven adread. 
Then was the German raven in disguise 
That Roman eagle seen to cleave asunder, 
And towards heaven freshly to arise 
Out of these mountains, not consum'd t...Read More

by Spenser, Edmund
...Queene, that shone as Titans ray,
In glistring gold, and peerelesse pretious stone:
Yet her bright blazing beautie did assay
To dim the brightnesse of her glorious throne,
As envying her selfe, that too exceeding shone.


Exceeding shone, like Phoebus fairest childe,
That did presume his fathers firie wayne,
And flaming mouthes of steedes unwonted wilde
Through highest heaven with weaker hand to rayne;
Proud of such glory and advancement vaine,
While flashing beames d...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...als be
``Thou shalt victoriously endure,
``If that brow is true and those eyes are sure;
``Like a jewel-finder's fierce assay
``Of the prize he dug from its mountain-tomb---
``Let once the vindicating ray
``Leap out amid the anxious gloom,
``And steel and fire have done their part
``And the prize falls on its finder's heart;
`'So, trial after trial past,
``Wilt thou fall at the very last
``Breathless, half in trance
``With the thrill of the great deliverance,
``Into our arms ...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer>

Is she worth dying for? My love, my one 
And only love had died, and now his son 
Asks me, his alien mother, to assay 
The worth of England to mankind today— 
This other Eden, demi-paradise, 
This fortress built by Nature for herself 
Against infection and the hand of war; 
This happy breed of men, this little world, 
This precious stone set in the silver sea— 
Ah, no, not that—not Shakespeare—I must be 
A sterner critic. I must weigh the ill 
Against the good, mu...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...ell may that be a proverb of a shrew.* *ill-tempered wretch
Thou say'st, that oxen, asses, horses, hounds,
They be *assayed at diverse stounds,* *tested at various
Basons and lavers, ere that men them buy, seasons
Spoones, stooles, and all such husbandry,
And so be pots, and clothes, and array,* *raiment
But folk of wives make none assay,
Till they be wedded, -- olde dotard shrew! --
And then, say'st thou, we will our vices shew.
Thou say'st also, that it displeaseth ...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...hir, but-if hir-self it wolde.'

'Why, so mene I,' quod Pandarus, 'al this day.
But tel me than, hastow hir wil assayed,
That sorwest thus?' And he answerde, 'Nay.'
'Wher-of artow,' quod Pandare, 'than a-mayed, 
That nost not that she wol ben y-vel apayed
To ravisshe hir, sin thou hast not ben there,
But-if that Iove tolde it in thyn ere?

'For-thy rys up, as nought ne were, anoon, 
And wash thy face, and to the king thou wende,
Or he may wondren whider thou art g...Read More

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