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Famous Barren Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
Than hall on mountain or romantic hill, 
Where Druid bards sang to the hero's praise, 
While round their woods and barren heaths was heard 
The shrill calm echo of th' enchanting shell. 
Than all those halls and lordly palaces 
Where in the days of chivalry, each knight, 
And baron brave in military pride 
Shone in the brass and burning steel of war; 
For in this hall more worthy of a strain 
No envious sound forbidding peace is heard, 
Fierce song of battle kindling...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
Eye to pierce the deepest deeps, and sweep the world! 
—Ah, mother! prolific and full in all besides—yet how long barren, barren?)

Of These States, the poet is the equable man, 
Not in him, but off from him, things are grotesque, eccentric, fail of their full returns,

Nothing out of its place is good, nothing in its place is bad, 
He bestows on every object or quality its fit proportion, neither more nor less, 
He is the arbiter of the diverse, he is the key,
He is...Read More

by Keats, John
...e hopes. O thou hast won
A full accomplishment! The thing is done,
Which undone, these our latter days had risen
On barren souls. Great Muse, thou know'st what prison
Of flesh and bone, curbs, and confines, and frets
Our spirit's wings: despondency besets
Our pillows; and the fresh to-morrow morn
Seems to give forth its light in very scorn
Of our dull, uninspired, snail-paced lives.
Long have I said, how happy he who shrives
To thee! But then I thought on poets go...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...I am wrecked and stranded, even now
The chariot wheels of passion sweep too near,
Hence! Hence! I pass unto a life more barren, more austere.

More barren - ay, those arms will never lean
Down through the trellised vines and draw my soul
In sweet reluctance through the tangled green;
Some other head must wear that aureole,
For I am hers who loves not any man
Whose white and stainless bosom bears the sign Gorgonian.

Let Venus go and chuck her dainty page,
And kiss his...Read More

by Keats, John
...eyes eterne, and sphere them round
Upon all space: space starr'd, and lorn of light;
Space region'd with life-air; and barren void;
Spaces of fire, and all the yawn of hell.---
Search, Thea, search! and tell me, if thou seest
A certain shape or shadow, making way
With wings or chariot fierce to repossess
A heaven he lost erewhile: it must---it must
Be of ripe progress---Saturn must be King.
Yes, there must be a golden victory;
There must be Gods thrown down, and trum...Read More

by Milton, John
..., spoused, about him twines 
Her marriageable arms, and with him brings 
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn 
His barren leaves. Them thus employed beheld 
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him called 
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned 
To travel with Tobias, and secured 
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid. 
Raphael, said he, thou hearest what stir on Earth 
Satan, from Hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf, 
Hath raised in Paradise; and h...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...s the Laramie plains—I note the rocks in grotesque shapes—the buttes; 
I see the plentiful larkspur and wild onions—the barren, colorless, sage-deserts;
I see in glimpses afar, or towering immediately above me, the great mountains—I see
 Wind River and the Wahsatch mountains; 
I see the Monument mountain and the Eagle’s Nest—I pass the Promontory—I
 the Nevadas; 
I scan the noble Elk mountain, and wind around its base; 
I see the Humboldt range—I thread the valle...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...would dare
To vent the paltry sorrows of his life
Before thy ruins, or to praise the strife
Of kings' ambition, and the barren pride
Of warring nations! wert not thou the Bride
Of the wild Lord of Adria's stormy sea!
The Queen of double Empires! and to thee
Were not the nations given as thy prey!
And now - thy gates lie open night and day,
The grass grows green on every tower and hall,
The ghastly fig hath cleft thy bastioned wall;
And where thy mailed warriors stood at rest
...Read More

by Goldsmith, Oliver
...d each needful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world supplies:
While thus the land adorned for pleasure, all
In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.

As some fair female unadorned and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
Slights every borrowed charm that dress supplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;
But when those charms are passed, for charms are frail,
When time advances and when lovers fail,
She then shines forth, solicitous...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...n'd doubt in fine
Whether it be Jerusalem or no: 
Dishearten'd pilgrims, I am one of you;
For, having worshipp'd many a barren face,
I scarce now greet the goal I journey'd to:
I stand a pagan in the holy place;
Beneath the lamp of truth I am found untrue,
And question with the God that I embrace. 

Spring hath her own bright days of calm and peace;
Her melting air, at every breath we draw,
Floods heart with love to praise God's gracious law:
But suddenly--so short is ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
That most of them would follow wandering fires, 
Lost in the quagmire?--lost to me and gone, 
And left me gazing at a barren board, 
And a lean Order--scarce returned a tithe-- 
And out of those to whom the vision came 
My greatest hardly will believe he saw; 
Another hath beheld it afar off, 
And leaving human wrongs to right themselves, 
Cares but to pass into the silent life. 
And one hath had the vision face to face, 
And now his chair desires him here in vain, 
How...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...ome cas*, since fortune is changeable, *chance
Thou may'st to thy desire sometime attain.
But I that am exiled, and barren
Of alle grace, and in so great despair,
That there n'is earthe, water, fire, nor air,
Nor creature, that of them maked is,
That may me helpe nor comfort in this,
Well ought I *sterve in wanhope* and distress. *die in despair*
Farewell my life, my lust*, and my gladness. *pleasure
Alas, *why plainen men so in commune *why do men so often compla...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...quet o'er
     At length his rank the stranger names,
     'The Knight of Snowdoun, James Fitz-James;
     Lord of a barren heritage,
     Which his brave sires, from age to age,
     By their good swords had held with toil;
     His sire had fallen in such turmoil,
     And he, God wot, was forced to stand
     Oft for his right with blade in hand.
     This morning with Lord Moray's train
     He chased a stalwart stag in vain,
     Outstripped his comrades, miss...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
Negation may have tasted, 
Saw truth in his own image, rather small, 
Forbore to fever the ephemeral, 
Found any barren height a good retreat 
From any swarming street,
And in the sun saw power superbly wasted; 
And when the primitive old-fashioned stars 
Came out again to shine on joys and wars 
More primitive, and all arrayed for doom, 
He may have proved a world a sorry thing
In his imagining, 
And life a lighted highway to the tomb. 

Or, mounting with infirm u...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...e false Enee;
The tree of Phillis for her Demophon;
The plaint of Diane, and of Hermion,
Of Ariadne, and Hypsipile;
The barren isle standing in the sea;
The drown'd Leander for his fair Hero;
The teares of Helene, and eke the woe
Of Briseis, and Laodamia;
The cruelty of thee, Queen Medea,
Thy little children hanging by the halse*, *neck
For thy Jason, that was of love so false.
Hypermnestra, Penelop', Alcest',
Your wifehood he commendeth with the best.
But certainly n...Read More

by Blake, William 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 cliff and tomb;
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.

Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.

Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility.
And the ju...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...rear of this bright host 
A Spirit of a different aspect waves 
His wings, like thunder-clouds above some coast 
Whose barren beach with frequent wrecks is paved; 
His brow was like the deep when tempest-toss'd; 
Fierce and unfathomable thoughts engraved 
Eternal wrath on his immortal face, 
And where he gazed a gloom pervaded space. 


As he drew near, he gazed upon the gate 
Ne'er to be enter'd more by him or Sin, 
With such a glance of supernatural hate, 
As made...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...ken your parables unto, comparison*
But if a silly wife be one of tho?* *those
Thou likenest a woman's love to hell;
To barren land where water may not dwell.
Thou likenest it also to wild fire;
The more it burns, the more it hath desire
To consume every thing that burnt will be.
Thou sayest, right as wormes shend* a tree, *destroy
Right so a wife destroyeth her husbond;
This know they well that be to wives bond."

Lordings, right thus, as ye have understand,
*Bar...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...upports us,
Fattens us, is kind. Her mouth is red.
I know her. I know her intimately--
Old winter-face, old barren one, old time bomb.
Men have used her meanly. She will eat them.
Eat them, eat them, eat them in the end.
The sun is down. I die. I make a death.

Who is he, this blue, furious boy,
Shiny and strange, as if he had hurtled from a star?
He is looking so angrily!
He flew into the room, a shriek at his heel.
Th...Read More

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