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Famous Awful Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Pope, Alexander
...t he return, and bless once more our Eyes,
New Blackmores and new Milbourns must arise;
Nay shou'd great Homer lift his awful Head,
Zoilus again would start up from the Dead.
Envy will Merit as its Shade pursue,
But like a Shadow, proves the Substance true;
For envy'd Wit, like Sol Eclips'd, makes known
Th' opposing Body's Grossness, not its own.
When first that Sun too powerful Beams displays,
It draws up Vapours which obscure its Rays;
But ev'n those Clouds at last ...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...aves the marble floor,
When from his nook up leapt the venturous lad,
And flinging wide the cedar-carven door
Beheld an awful image saffron-clad
And armed for battle! the gaunt Griffin glared
From the huge helm, and the long lance of wreck and ruin flared

Like a red rod of flame, stony and steeled
The Gorgon's head its leaden eyeballs rolled,
And writhed its snaky horrors through the shield,
And gaped aghast with bloodless lips and cold
In passion impotent, while with blind ...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Faltered and paused on his lips, as the feet of a child on a threshold,
Hushed by the scene he beholds, and the awful presence of sorrow.
Silently, therefore, he laid his hand on the head of the maiden,
Raising his tearful eyes to the silent stars that above them
Moved on their way, unperturbed by the wrongs and sorrows of mortals.
Then sat he down at her side, and they wept together in silence.

Suddenly rose from the south a light, as in autumn the blood...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...our ears:
While as a ruined mother in some spasm
Bears a base child and loathes it, so our best enthusiasm

Genders unlawful children, Anarchy
Freedom's own Judas, the vile prodigal
Licence who steals the gold of Liberty
And yet has nothing, Ignorance the real
One Fraticide since Cain, Envy the asp
That stings itself to anguish, Avarice whose palsied grasp

Is in its extent stiffened, moneyed Greed
For whose dull appetite men waste away
Amid the whirr of wheels and are the s...Read More

by Keats, John
Thus with half-shut suffused eyes he stood,
While from beneath some cumbrous boughs hard by
With solemn step an awful Goddess came,
And there was purport in her looks for him,
Which he with eager guess began to read
Perplex'd, the while melodiously he said:
"How cam'st thou over the unfooted sea?
Or hath that antique mien and robed form
Mov'd in these vales invisible till now?
Sure I have heard those vestments sweeping o'er
The fallen leaves, when I have sat alone
In ...Read More

by Milton, John
...him they rose. 
Their rising all at once was as the sound 
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend 
With awful reverence prone, and as a God 
Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven. 
Nor failed they to express how much they praised 
That for the general safety he despised 
His own: for neither do the Spirits damned 
Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast 
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, 
Or close ambition varnished o'er with ...Read More

by Milton, John
...mildness, with disdain, 
Displeased that I approach thee thus, and gaze 
Insatiate; I thus single;nor have feared 
Thy awful brow, more awful thus retired. 
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair, 
Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine 
By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore 
With ravishment beheld! there best beheld, 
Where universally admired; but here 
In this enclosure wild, these beasts among, 
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern 
Half what in thee is ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Grew with the growing note, and when the note
Had reach'd a thunderous fullness, on those cliffs
Broke, mixt with awful light (the same as that
Living within the belt) whereby she saw
That all those lines of cliffs were cliffs no more,
But huge cathedral fronts of every age,
Grave, florid, stern, as far as eye could see.
One after one: and then the great ridge drew,
Lessening to the lessening music, back,
And past into the belt and swell'd again
Slowly to music: eve...Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...lling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...ppy town
Propped of the planets seven,
Shall know a new light in the mind,
A noise about them and behind,
Shall hear an awful voice, and find
Foam in the courts of heaven.

"And you that sit by the fire are young,
And true love waits for you;
But the king and I grow old, grow old,
And hate alone is true."

And Guthrum shook his head but smiled,
For he was a mighty clerk,
And had read lines in the Latin books
When all the north was dark.

He said, "I am older than ...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...the Koran verse display'd [29] 
Upon its steel direct my blade, 
In danger's hour to guard us both, 
As I preserve that awful oath! 
The name in which thy heart hath prided 
Must change; but, my Zuleika, know, 
That tie is widen'd, not divided, 
Although thy Sire's my deadliest foe. 
My father was to Giaffir all 
That Selim late was deem'd to thee; 
That brother wrought a brother's fall, 
But spared, at least, my infancy; 
And lull'd me with a vain deceit 
That yet a like...Read More

by Baudelaire, Charles
...hearts beat for the smile you gave? 
The charms of horror please none but the brave. 

Your eyes' black gulf, where awful broodings stir, 
Brings giddiness; the prudent reveller 
Sees, while a horror grips him from beneath, 
The eternal smile of thirty-two white teeth. 

For he who has not folded in his arms 
A skeleton, nor fed on graveyard charms, 
Recks not of furbelow, or paint, or scent, 
When Horror comes the way that Beauty went. 

O irresistible, with fles...Read More

by Goldsmith, Oliver love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heaven.
As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was,...Read More

by Service, Robert William

(For oh, the supremest of our art are the stories we do not dare to tell,
Locked in the silence of the heart, for the awful records of Heav'n and Hell.)
Yet those two in the silence there, seemed less weariful than before.
Hark! a step on the garret stair, a postman knocks at the flimsy door.
"Registered letter!" Brown thrills with fear; opens, and reads, then bends above:
"Glorious tidings! Egypt, dear! The book is accepted -- life and love."...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...that I swooned away-- 
O, yet methought I saw the Holy Grail, 
All palled in crimson samite, and around 
Great angels, awful shapes, and wings and eyes. 
And but for all my madness and my sin, 
And then my swooning, I had sworn I saw 
That which I saw; but what I saw was veiled 
And covered; and this Quest was not for me." 

`So speaking, and here ceasing, Lancelot left 
The hall long silent, till Sir Gawain--nay, 
Brother, I need not tell thee foolish words,-- 
A re...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...audience which 
By no means oft was his case below, 
Began to cough, and hawk, and hem, and pitch 
His voice into that awful note of woe 
To all unhappy hearers within reach 
Of poets when the tide of rhyme's in flow; 
But stuck fast with his first hexameter, 
Not one of all whose gouty feet would stir. 


But ere the spavin'd dactyls could be spurr'd 
Into recitative, in great dismay 
Both cherubim and seraphim were heard 
To murmur loudly through their long array:...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...hed, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder 
Datta: what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
Or in memories draped by the beneficent spider
Or under seals broken by the lean solicitor
In our empty rooms 
Dayadhvam: I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think o...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
Westminster Bridge, and soon the sun would rise,
And I should see it with my very eyes!
Yes, now it came— a broad and awful glow
Out of the violet mists of dawn. 'Ah, no',
I said. 'Earth has not anything to show
More fair— changed though it is— than this.'
A curious background surely for a kiss—
Our first— Westminster Bridge at break of day—
Settings by Wordsworth, as John used to say.

Why do we fall in love? I do believe 
 That virtue is the magnet, t...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
I sat at my desk in my stockings, my high heels,

And the man I work for laughed: 'Have you seen something awful?
You are so white, suddenly.' And I said nothing.
I saw death in the bare trees, a deprivation.
I could not believe it. Is it so difficult
For the spirit to conceive a face, a mouth?
The letters proceed from these black keys, and these black keys proceed
From my alphabetical fingers, ordering parts,

Parts, bits, cogs, the shining multi...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna and divine?

x x x

In intimacy there exists a line
That can't be crossed by passion or love's art --
In awful silence lips melt into one
And out of love to pieces bursts the heart.

And friendship here is impotent, and years
Of happiness sublime in fire aglow,
When soul is free and does not hear
The dulling of sweet passion, long and slow.

Those who are striving toward it are in fever,
But those that reach it struck with woe that lingers....Read More

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