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Best Famous Ernest Dowson Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Ernest Dowson poems. This is a select list of the best famous Ernest Dowson poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Ernest Dowson poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Ernest Dowson poems.

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Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam

 They are not long, the weeping and the laughter, 
 Love and desire and hate: 
I think they have no portion in us after 
 We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream.
[The title translates, from the Latin, as 'The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long' and is from a work by Horace]
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

In A Breton Cemetery

 They sleep well here,
These fisher-folk who passed their anxious days
In fierce Atlantic ways;
And found not there,
Beneath the long curled wave,
So quiet a grave.
And they sleep well, These peasant-folk, who told their lives away, From day to market-day, As one should tell, With patient industry, Some sad old rosary.
And now night falls, Me, tempest-tost, and driven from pillar to post, A poor worn ghost, This quiet pasture calls; And dear dead people with pale hands Beckon me to their lands.
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

What Is Love?

 What is Love? 
Is it a folly, 
Is it mirth, or melancholy? 
 Joys above, 
Are there many, or not any? 
 What is Love? 

 If you please, 
A most sweet folly! 
Full of mirth and melancholy: 
 Both of these! 
In its sadness worth all gladness, 
 If you please! 

 Prithee where, 
Goes Love a-hiding? 
Is he long in his abiding 
 Anywhere? 
Can you bind him when you find him; 
 Prithee, where? 

 With spring days 
Love comes and dallies: 
Upon the mountains, through the valleys 
 Lie Love's ways.
Then he leaves you and deceives you In spring days.
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

Growth

 I watched the glory of her childhood change,
Half-sorrowful to find the child I knew,
 (Loved long ago in lily-time),
Become a maid, mysterious and strange,
With fair, pure eyes - dear eyes, but not the eyes I knew
 Of old, in the olden time!

Till on my doubting soul the ancient good
Of her dear childhood in the new disguise
 Dawned, and I hastened to adore
The glory of her waking maidenhead,
And found the old tenderness within her deepening eyes,
 But kinder than before.
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae

 Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine 
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed 
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine; 
And I was desolate and sick of an old passion, 
Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head: 
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat, Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay; Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet; But I was desolate and sick of an old passion, When I awoke and found the dawn was gray: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind, Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng, Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind; But I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, all the time, because the dance was long: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
I cried for madder music and for stronger wine, But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire, Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine; And I am desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire: I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
[The title translates, from the Latin, as 'I am no more the man I was in the reign of the Good Cynara']
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

A Last Word

 Let us go hence: the night is now at hand; 
The day is overworn, the birds all flown; 
And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown; 
Despair and death; deep darkness o'er the land, 
Broods like an owl; we cannot understand 
Laughter or tears, for we have only known 
Surpassing vanity: vain things alone 
Have driven our perverse and aimless band.
Let us go hence, somewhither strange and cold, To Hollow Lands where just men and unjust Find end of labour, where's rest for the old, Freedom to all from love and fear and lust.
Twine our torn hands! O pray the earth enfold Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust.
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

Exchanges

 All that I had I brought, 
 Little enough I know; 
A poor rhyme roughly wrought, 
 A rose to match thy snow: 
All that I had I brought.
Little enough I sought: But a word compassionate, A passing glance, or thought, For me outside the gate: Little enough I sought.
Little enough I found: All that you had, perchance! With the dead leaves on the ground, I dance the devil's dance.
All that you had I found.
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

To One In Bedlam

 With delicate, mad hands, behind his sordid bars,
Surely he hath his posies, which they tear and twine;
Those scentless wisps of straw, that miserably line
His strait, caged universe, whereat the dull world stares,

Pedant and pitiful.
O, how his rapt gaze wars With their stupidity! Know they what dreams divine Lift his long, laughing reveries like enchanted wine, And make his melancholy germane to the stars'? O lamentable brother! if those pity thee, Am I not fain of all thy lone eyes promise me; Half a fool's kingdom, far from men who sow and reap, All their days, vanity? Better than mortal flowers, Thy moon-kissed roses seem: better than love or sleep, The star-crowned solitude of thine oblivious hours!
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

Nuns Of The Perpetual Adoration

 Calm, sad, secure; behind high convent walls,
 These watch the sacred lamp, these watch and pray:
And it is one with them when evening falls,
 And one with them the cold return of day.
These heed not time; their nights and days they make Into a long returning rosary, Whereon their lives are threaded for Christ's sake; Meekness and vigilance and chastity.
A vowed patrol, in silent companies, Life-long they keep before the living Christ.
In the dim church, their prayers and penances Are fragrant incense to the Sacrificed.
Outside, the world is wild and passionate; Man's weary laughter and his sick despair Entreat at their impenetrable gate: They heed no voices in their dream of prayer.
They saw the glory of the world displayed; They saw the bitter of it, and the sweet; They knew the roses of the world should fade, And be trod under by the hurrying feet.
Therefore they rather put away desire, And crossed their hands and came to sanctuary And veiled their heads and put on coarse attire: Because their comeliness was vanity.
And there they rest; they have serene insight Of the illuminating dawn to be: Mary's sweet Star dispels for them the night, The proper darkness of humanity.
Calm, sad, secure; with faces worn and mild: Surely their choice of vigil is the best? Yea! for our roses fade, the world is wild; But there, beside the altar, there is rest.
Written by Ernest Dowson | Create an image from this poem

Amor Profanus

 Beyond the pale of memory,
In some mysterious dusky grove;
A place of shadows utterly,
Where never coos the turtle-dove,
A world forgotten of the sun:
I dreamed we met when day was done,
And marvelled at our ancient love.
Met there by chance, long kept apart, We wandered through the darkling glades; And that old language of the heart We sought to speak: alas! poor shades! Over our pallid lips had run The waters of oblivion, Which crown all loves of men or maids.
In vain we stammered: from afar Our old desire shone cold and dead: That time was distant as a star, When eyes were bright and lips were red.
And still we went with downcast eye And no delight in being nigh, Poor shadows most uncomforted.
Ah, Lalage! while life is ours, Hoard not thy beauty rose and white, But pluck the pretty fleeing flowers That deck our little path of light: For all too soon we twain shall tread The bitter pastures of the dead: Estranged, sad spectres of the night.
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