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Famous Bait Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Paterson, Andrew Barton stand 
Is the feller who says 'Well I told you so! 
You should ha' done this way, don't you know!' -- 
I could lay a bait for a man like that. 

"The grasshoppers struck us in ninety-one 
And what they leave -- well, it ain't de luxe. 
But a growlin' fault-findin' son of a gun 
Who'd lent some money to stock our run -- 
I said they'd eaten what grass we had -- 
Says he, 'Your management's very bad; 
You had a right to have kept some ducks!' 

"To have kept some duc...Read More

by Raleigh, Sir Walter
...isture lend to every grief that grows; 
A school of guile, a net of deep deceit, 
A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait. 

A fortress foiled, which reason did defend, 
A siren song, a fever of the mind, 
A maze wherein affection finds no end, 
A raging cloud that runs before the wind, 
A substance like the shadow of the sun, 
A goal of grief for which the wisest run. 

A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear, 
A path that leads to peril and mishap,...Read More

by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...quer and to spare; for coward souls 
Seek their revenge but on a vanquish'd foe. 
Gold, fatal gold was the assuring bait 
To Spain's rapacious mind, hence rose the wars 
From Chili to the Caribbean sea, 
O'er Terra-Firma and La Plata wide. 
Peru then sunk in ruins, great before 
With pompous cities, monuments superb 
Whose tops reach'd heav'n. But we more happy boast 
No golden metals in our peaceful land, 
No flaming diamond, precious emerald, 
Or blushing saphir...Read More

by Dryden, John, a plot is made;
And peace itself is war in masquerade.
Oh foolish Israel! never warn'd by ill:
Still the same bait, and circumvented still!
Did ever men forsake their present ease,
In midst of health imagine a disease;
Take pains contingent mischiefs to foresee,
Make heirs for monarchs, and for God decree?
What shall we think! Can people give away
Both for themselves and sons, their native sway?
Then they are left defenceless to the sword
Of each unbounded arbitrary...Read More

by Thomas, Dylan
...masts went by in a whirl.
Good-bye to the man on the sea-legged deck
To the gold gut that sings on his reel
To the bait that stalked out of the sack,

For we saw him throw to the swift flood
A girl alive with his hooks through her lips;
All the fishes were rayed in blood,
Said the dwindling ships.

Good-bye to chimneys and funnels,
Old wives that spin in the smoke,
He was blind to the eyes of candles
In the praying windows of waves

But heard his bait buck in the wak...Read More

by Milton, John
His will who reigns above, to aggravate 
Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that 
Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve 
Used by the Tempter: on that prospect strange 
Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining 
For one forbidden tree a multitude 
Now risen, to work them further woe or shame; 
Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, 
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain; 
But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees 
Climbing, sat thicker tha...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
...many you're going to get or how

big they are. But the fishing's very good, you might say it's

excellent. Both bait and dry fly, " he said smiling.

 "Where's the stream at?" I asked. "I'd like to take a look

at it. "

 "It's around in back, " he said. "You go straight through

that door and then turn right until you're outside. It's stacked

in lengths. You can't miss it. The waterfalls are upstairs in

the used plumbing department. ...Read More

by Milton, John

Sam: Be less abstruse, my riddling days are past.

Chor: Look now for no inchanting voice, nor fear
The bait of honied words; a rougher tongue
Draws hitherward, I know him by his stride,
The Giant Harapha of Gath, his look
Haughty as is his pile high-built and proud.
Comes he in peace? what wind hath blown him hither 
I less conjecture then when first I saw
The sumptuous Dalila floating this way:
His habit carries peace, his brow defiance.

Sam: Or pea...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...od except for gain,
So never took that useful name in vain;
Made Him his catspaw and the Cross his tool,
And Christ the bait to trap his dupe and fool;
Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he forged,
And snakelike slimed his victim ere he gorged;
And oft at Bible meetings, o'er the rest
Arising, did his holy oily best,
Dropping the too rough H in Hell and Heaven,
To spread the Word by which himself had thriven."
How like you this old satire?' 

`Nay,' she said
`I loathe ...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
you, who fell into my words, years
before you fell into me (the other,
both the Camp Director and the camper),
you who baited your hook with wide-awake dreams,
and calls and letters and once a luncheon,
and twice a reading by me for you.
But I wouldn't!

Yet this year,
yanking off all past years,
I took the bait
and was pulled upward, upward,
into the sky and was held by the sun--
the quick wonder of its yellow lap--
and became a woman who learned her own shin
and dug in...Read More

by Sexton, Anne a bear or a tent,
like a great cave laughing or a red fur fox.

We drove past the hatchery,
the hut that sells bait,
past Pigeon Cove, past the Yacht Club, past Squall's
Hill, to the house that waits
still, on the top of the sea,
and two portraits hung on the opposite walls.


In north light, my smile is held in place,
the shadow marks my bone.
What could I have been dreaming as I sat there,
all of me waiting in the eyes, the zone
of the smile, the you...Read More

by Masefield, John
...boys to watch me pass, 
And one old woman by the fire 
Hulking a rabbit warm from wire. 
I loved to see the horses bait, 
I felt I walked at Heaven's gate, 
That Heaven's gate was opened wide 
Yet still the gipsies camped outside. 
The waste souls will prefer the wild, 
Long after life is meek and mild. 
Perhaps when man has entered in' 
His perfect city free from sin, 
The campers will come past the walls 
With old lame horses full of galls, 
And waggons hung ab...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von
...s I chose me, fleet,
Of mighty strength, of nimble pace,
Inured the savage boar to chase;
The dragon, then, I made them bait,
Inflaming them to fury dread,
With their sharp teeth to seize it straight,
And with my voice their motions led."

"And, where the belly's tender skin
Allowed the tooth to enter in,
I taught them how to seize it there,
And, with their fangs, the part to tear.
I mounted, then, my Arab steed,
The offspring of a noble breed;
My hand a dart on high ...Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
...nd riches as the clay,
4.84 Which others scatter like the dew in May.
4.85 Sometimes vain-glory is the only bait
4.86 Whereby my empty school is lur'd and caught.
4.87 Be I of worth, of learning, or of parts,
4.88 I judge I should have room in all men's hearts;
4.89 And envy gnaws if any do surmount.
4.90 I hate for to be had in small account.
4.91 If Bias like, I'm stript unto my skin;
4.92 I glory in my wealth I have withi...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...o not read thy heart;
     Too much, before, my selfish ear
     Was idly soothed my praise to hear.
     That fatal bait hath lured thee back,
     In deathful hour, o'er dangerous track;
     And how, O how, can I atone
     The wreck my vanity brought on!—
     One way remains—I'll tell him all—
     Yes! struggling bosom, forth it shall!
     Thou, whose light folly bears the blame,
     Buy thine own pardon with thy shame!
     But first—my father is a man
  ...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...sea of Greece, unto the strait
Of Maroc*, as it was her a venture: *Morocco; Gibraltar
On many a sorry meal now may she bait,
After her death full often may she wait*, *expect
Ere that the wilde waves will her drive
Unto the place *there as* she shall arrive. *where

Men mighten aske, why she was not slain?
Eke at the feast who might her body save?
And I answer to that demand again,
Who saved Daniel in the horrible cave,
Where every wight, save he, master or knave*, *serv...Read More

by Kipling, Rudyard
...him raw;
I had flung him blind in a rudderless boat to rot in the rocking dark,
I had towed him aft of his own craft, a bait for his brother shark;
I had lapped him round with cocoa husk, and drenched him with the oil,
And lashed him fast to his own mast to blaze above my spoil;
I had stripped his hide for my hammock-side, and tasselled his beard i' the mesh,
And spitted his crew on the live bamboo that grows through the gangrened flesh;
I had hove him down by the mangroves b...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard

And slept. The next morning I got up
early and ate my breakfast. I took a slice of white bread to use for bait.
I planned on making dough balls from the soft center of the bread
and putting them on my vaudevillian hook. I left the place and walked
down to the different streetCorner. How beautiful the field looked and
the creek that came pouring down in a waterfall off the hill.

 But as I got closer to the creek I could see that
something was wro...Read More

by Lowell, Robert
on a hill of rock,

and below us, the sea lapped
the raw little match-stick 
mazes of a weir,
where the fish for bait were trapped.

Remember? We sat on a slab of rock.
>From this distance in time
it seems the color
of iris, rotting and turning purpler,

but it was only 
the usual gray rock
turning the usual green
when drenched by the sea.

The sea drenched the rock
at our feet all day,
and kept tearing away 
flake after flake.

One night you dreamed
yo...Read More

by Simic, Charles

Michigan a storm-cloud.
Wisconsin empty of men.

There's a trap on the ice
Laid there centuries ago.

The bait is still fresh.
The metal glitters as the night descends.

Woe, woe, it sings from the bough.
Our Lady, etc...

You had me hoodwinked.
I see your brand new claws.

Praying, what do I betray
By desiring your purity?

There are old men and women,
All bandaged up, waiting

At the spiked, wrought-iron gate
Of the Great Eye ...Read More

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