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Famous Battle Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Crowley, Aleister
...need of it,
Until the world there's so much to forgive in
Becomes a little possible to live in.

God alone knows if battle or surrender
Be the true courage; either has its splendour. 
But since we chose the first, God aid the right,
And damn me if I fail you in the fight!
God join again the ways that lie apart,
And bless the love of loyal heart to heart!
God keep us every hour in every thought,
And bring the vessel of our love to port!

These are my birthday wishes.Read More

by Shakespeare, William form receive,
Playing patient sports in unconstrained gyves?
She that her fame so to herself contrives,
The scars of battle 'scapeth by the flight,
And makes her absence valiant, not her might.

''O, pardon me, in that my boast is true:
The accident which brought me to her eye
Upon the moment did her force subdue,
And now she would the caged cloister fly:
Religious love put out Religion's eye:
Not to be tempted, would she be immured,
And now, to tempt, all liberty proc...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...h the fight—O the hard-contested fight! 
O the cannons ope their rosy-flashing muzzles! the hurtled balls scream! 

The battle-front forms amid the smoke—the volleys pour incessant from the line; 
Hark! the ringing word, Charge!—now the tussle, and the furious maddening
Now the corpses tumble curl’d upon the ground, 
Cold, cold in death, for precious life of you, 
Angry cloth I saw there leaping.) 

Are you he who would assume a place to teach, or be a poet her...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...ok 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 gaze
The blinking owl between the feet ...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Farther back in the midst of the household goods and the wagons,
Like to a gypsy camp, or a leaguer after a battle,
All escape cut off by the sea, and the sentinels near them,
Lay encamped for the night the houseless Acadian farmers.
Back to its nethermost caves retreated the bellowing ocean,
Dragging adown the beach the rattling pebbles, and leaving
Inland and far up the shore the stranded boats of the sailors.
Then, as the night descended, the herds retu...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
In bitterness that banish'd all remorse. 
None sued, for Mercy know her cry was vain, 
The captive died upon the battle-slain: 
In either cause, one rage alone possess'd 
The empire of the alternate victor's breast; 
And they that smote for freedom or for sway, 
Deem'd few were slain, while more remain'd to slay. 
It was too late to check the wasting brand, 
And Desolation reap'd the famish'd land; 
The torch was lighted, and the flame was spread, 
And Carnage smil...Read More

by Milton, John
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge." 
 He ended frowning, and his look denounced 
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous 
To less than gods. On th' other side up rose 
Belial, in act more graceful and humane. 
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed 
For dignity composed, and high exploit. 
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue 
Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturest counsels: f...Read More

by Milton, John
...ends to erect his throne 
Equal to ours, throughout the spacious north; 
Nor so content, hath in his thought to try 
In battle, what our power is, or our right. 
Let us advise, and to this hazard draw 
With speed what force is left, and all employ 
In our defence; lest unawares we lose 
This our high place, our sanctuary, our hill. 
To whom the Son with calm aspect and clear, 
Lightning divine, ineffable, serene, 
Made answer. Mighty Father, thou thy foes 
Justly ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ence of a brave general! to feel his sympathy! 
To behold his calmness! to be warm’d in the rays of his smile!
To go to battle! to hear the bugles play, and the drums beat! 
To hear the crash of artillery! to see the glittering of the bayonets and musket-barrels
 in the
To see men fall and die, and not complain! 
To taste the savage taste of blood! to be so devilish! 
To gloat so over the wounds and deaths of the enemy.

O the whaleman’s joys! O I cruise my old c...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...rimson sunset glow
From the lone chapel on thy marshy plain:
The sky was as a shield that caught the stain
Of blood and battle from the dying sun,
And in the west the circling clouds had spun
A royal robe, which some great God might wear,
While into ocean-seas of purple air
Sank the gold galley of the Lord of Light.

Yet here the gentle stillness of the night
Brings back the swelling tide of memory,
And wakes again my passionate love for thee:
Now is the Spring of Love, y...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...e sickness of one of my folks, or of myself, or ill-doing, or loss or lack of
 money, or depressions or exaltations; 
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful
These come to me days and nights, and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself. 

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am; 
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary; 
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
 no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary. 

My call is the call of battle—I nourish active rebellion; 
He going with me must go well arm’d; 
He going with me goes often with spare diet, poverty, angry enemies, desertions. 

Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well. 

Allons! be not detain’d! 
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unop...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...r a dragon moon,
And `mid volcanic tints of night
Walked where they fought the unknown fight
And saw black trees on the battle-height,
Black thorn on Ethandune?
And I thought, "I will go with you,
As man with God has gone,
And wander with a wandering star,
The wandering heart of things that are,
The fiery cross of love and war
That like yourself, goes on."

O go you onward; where you are
Shall honour and laughter be,
Past purpled forest and pearled foam,
God's winged pavi...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...whose matin glow 
Thy listless eyes so much admire, 
Would lend thee something of his fire! 
Thou, who wouldst see this battlement 
By Christian cannon piecemeal rent; 
Nay, tamely view old Stamboul's wall 
Before the dogs of Moscow fall, 
Nor strike one stroke for life or death 
Against the curs of Nazareth! 
Go — let thy less than woman's hand 
Assume the distaff — not the brand. 
But, Haroun! — to my daughter speed: 
And hark — of thine own head take heed — 
If thus Zu...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...ou fully the mannere,
How wonnen* was the regne of Feminie,  *won
By Theseus, and by his chivalry;
And of the greate battle for the nonce
Betwixt Athenes and the Amazons;
And how assieged was Hippolyta,
The faire hardy queen of Scythia;
And of the feast that was at her wedding
And of the tempest at her homecoming.
But all these things I must as now forbear.
I have, God wot, a large field to ear* *plough;
And weake be the oxen in my plough;
The remnant of my tale...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
     Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain.
     The rocky summits, split and rent,
     Formed turret, dome, or battlement.
     Or seemed fantastically set
     With cupola or minaret,
     Wild crests as pagod ever decked,
     Or mosque of Eastern architect.
     Nor were these earth-born castles bare,
     Nor lacked they many a banner fair;
     For, from their shivered brows displayed,
     Far o'er the unfathomable glade,
     All twinkling with the de...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord, fans 
Of sandal, amber, ancient rosaries, 
Laborious orient ivory sphere in sphere, 
The cursed Malayan crease, and battle-clubs 
From the isles of palm: and higher on the walls, 
Betwixt the monstrous horns of elk and deer, 
His own forefathers' arms and armour hung. 

And 'this' he said 'was Hugh's at Agincourt; 
And that was old Sir Ralph's at Ascalon: 
A good knight he! we keep a chronicle 
With all about him'--which he brought, and I 
Dived in a hoard of tales th...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...atherine, & Leopold,
Chained hoary anarch, demagogue & sage
Whose name the fresh world thinks already old--
"For in the battle Life & they did wage
She remained conqueror--I was overcome
By my own heart alone, which neither age
"Nor tears nor infamy nor now the tomb
Could temper to its object."--"Let them pass"--
I cried--"the world & its mysterious doom
"Is not so much more glorious than it was
That I desire to worship those who drew
New figures on its false & fragile gl...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...long ago, you'll say,
But whenever I go up Boston-way,
I drive through Concord—that neck of the wood, 
Where once the embattled farmers stood, 
And I think of Revere, and the old South Steeple, 
And I say, by heck, we're the only people 
Who licked them not only once, but twice. 
Never forget it-that's my advice. 
They have their points—they're honest and brave,
Loyal and sure—as sure as the grave; 
They make other nations seem pale and flighty, 
But they do think Eng...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna glistened the quiet road,
Cry flew, ringing silverly..
Closing my face, I was praying to God
Before first battle to murder me.

From mind the shades of songs and passions
Disappeared like load from misuse.
To her -- descended -- the Almighty ordered
To be the fearful book of menacing news.

 * IV * 

x x x

Before the spring arrives there are such days:
Under the thick snow cover rests the lawn,
The dry-and-jolly trees are maki...Read More

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