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Famous Attempt Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...'ry virtue dwells, 
And where the springs of knowledge and of thought 
In riv'lets clear and gushing streams flow down 
Attempt a strain? How sing in rapture high 
Or touch in vari'd melody the lyre 
The lyre so long neglected and each strain 
Unmeditated, and long since forgot? 
But yet constrain'd on this occasion sweet 
To this fam'd hall and this assembly fair 
With comely presence honouring the day, 
She fain would pay a tributary strain. 
A purer strain though not o...Read More

by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...commerce rolls her golden tides profuse 
Of elegance and ev'ry joy of life. 

Since then Leander you attempt a strain 
So new, so noble and so full of fame; 
And since a friendly concourse centers here 
America's own sons, begin O muse! 
Now thro' the veil of ancient days review 
The period fam'd when first Columbus touch'd 
The shore so long unknown, thro' various toils, 
Famine and death, the hero made his way, 
Thro' oceans bestowing with eternal storms....Read More

by Smart, Christopher
Alpha, the cause of causes, first 
In station, fountain, whence the burst 
 Of light, and blaze of day; 
Whence bold attempt, and brave advance, 
Have motion, life, and ordinance 
 And heav'n itself its stay. 

Gamma supports the glorious arch 
On which angelic legions march, 
 And is with sapphires pav'd; 
Thence the fleet clouds are sent adrift, 
And thence the painted folds, that lift 
 The crimson veil, are wav'd. 

Eta with living sculpture br...Read More

by Sidney, Sir Philip
Some play, while he is disamed.

Her tongue, waking, still refuseth,
Giuing frankly niggard no:
Now will I attempt to know
What no her tongue, sleeping, vseth.

See the hand that, waking, gardeth,
Sleeping, grants a free resort:
Now I will inuade the fort,
Cowards Loue with losse rewardeth.

But, O foole, thinke of the danger
Of her iust and high disdaine;
Now will I, alas, refraine;
Loue feares nothing else but anger.

Yet those lips, so...Read More

by Milton, John
Of night or loneliness it recks me not;
I fear the dread events that dog them both,
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned sister.
 ELD. BRO. I do not, brother,
Infer as if I thought my sister's state
Secure without all doubt or controversy;
Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear
Does arbitrate the event, my nature is
That I incline to hope rather than fear,
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
My sister is not so defenceless ...Read More

by Hugo, Victor
...while the mystic sleep was all profound, 
 The pit gaped wide like grave in burial ground. 
 Bearing the sleeping Mahaud they moved now 
 Silent and bent with heavy step and slow. 
 Zeno faced darkness—Joss turned towards the light— 
 So that the hall to Joss was quite in sight. 
 Sudden he stopped—and Zeno, "What now!" called, 
 But Joss replied not, though he seemed appalled, 
 And made a sign to Zeno, who wi...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecis...Read More

by Milton, John my adventurous song, 
That with no middle flight intends to soar 
Above th' Aonian mount, while it pursues 
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. 
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer 
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure, 
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first 
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, 
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss, 
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark 
Illumine, what is low raise and suppo...Read More

by Milton, John
...t creatures there inhabit, of what mould 
Or substance, how endued, and what their power 
And where their weakness: how attempted best, 
By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, 
And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure 
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, 
The utmost border of his kingdom, left 
To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps, 
Some advantageous act may be achieved 
By sudden onset--either with Hell-fire 
To waste his whole creation, or posse...Read More

by Milton, John Hell: 
Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold 
Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, 
Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth 
Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast, 
And like a devilish engine back recoils 
Upon himself; horrour and doubt distract 
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir 
The Hell within him; for within him Hell 
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell 
One step, no more than from himself, can fly 
By change of plac...Read More

by Milton, John
...thou art; from sin and blame entire: 
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade 
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid 
The attempt itself, intended by our foe. 
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses 
The tempted with dishonour foul; supposed 
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof 
Against temptation: Thou thyself with scorn 
And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong, 
Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then, 
If such affront I labour to avert 
From thee al...Read More

by Milton, John
...the eye 
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart 
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just, 
Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind 
Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed, 
Complete to have discovered and repulsed 
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. 
For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered, 
The high injunction, not to taste that fruit, 
Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, 
(Incurred what could they less?) the penalty; 
And, mani...Read More

by Milton, John
...ot disabl'd me, not all your force:
These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant 
Though by his blindness maim'd for high attempts,
Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,
As a petty enterprise of small enforce.

Har: With thee a Man condemn'd, a Slave enrol'd,
Due by the Law to capital punishment?
To fight with thee no man of arms will deign.

Sam: Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me,
To descant on my strength, and give thy verdit?
Come nearer, part no...Read More

by Ashbery, John the other. But the look
Some wear as a sign makes one want to
Push forward ignoring the apparent
NaÏveté of the attempt, not caring
That no one is listening, since the light
Has been lit once and for all in their eyes
And is present, unimpaired, a permanent anomaly,
Awake and silent. On the surface of it
There seems no special reason why that light
Should be focused by love, or why
The city falling with its beautiful suburbs
Into space always less clear, less defi...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...uleika — 'tis my last: 
But yet my band not far from shore 
May hear this signal, see the flash; 
Yet now too few — the attempt were rash: 
No matter — yet one effort more." 
Forth to the cavern mouth he stept; 
His pistol's echo rang on high, 
Zuleika started not nor wept, 
Despair benumb'd her breast and eye! — 
"They hear me not, or if they ply 
Their oars, 'tis but to see me die; 
That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh. 
Then forth my father's scimitar, 
Thou ne'...Read More

by Johnson, Samuel
...norance sedate,
344 Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
345 Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
346 No cries attempt the mercies of the skies?
347 Enquirer, cease, petitions yet remain,
348 Which Heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain.
349 Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
350 But leave to Heav'n the measure and the choice.
351 Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
352 The secret ambush of a specious pray'r.
353 Implore his aid, in his ...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord), as he has written everything else, for aught that the writer cared — had they been upon another subject. But to attempt to canonise a monarch, who, whatever where his household virtues, was neither a successful nor a patriot king, — inasmuch as several years of his reign passed in war with America and Ireland, to say nothing of the aggression upon France, — like all other exaggeration, necessarily begets opposition. In whatever manner he may be spoken of in this n...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...In vain, fair Maid, you ask in vain,
My pen should try th' advent'rous strain,
And following truth's unalter'd law,
Attempt your character to draw.
I own indeed, that generous mind
That weeps the woes of human kind,
That heart by friendship's charms inspired,
That soul with sprightly fancy fired,
The air of life, the vivid eye,
The flowing wit, the keen reply--
To paint these beauties as they shine,
Might ask a nobler pen than mine.

Yet what sure strokes can dra...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...t will be restless and weary
And no memory cross my mind,
I still wander in rooms dark and bleary
And his crib still attempt to find."

x x x

How often did I curse
This sky, this earth as well,
The slowly waving arms
Of this ancient windmill.
In a wing there lies a dead man,
Straight and grayhaired, on a bench,
As he did three years ago.
Thus the mice whet with their teeth
Books, thus the stearine candle
Leans its flame to the left.
And...Read More

by Cummings, Edward Estlin (E E)
...derful bubble the moon 
That floats forever and a day;
I'll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream 
Until I find the Only Flower 
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea....Read More

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