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Best Famous Ovid Poems

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

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Poems are below...

Written by Billy Collins | Create an image from this poem

Dear Reader

 Baudelaire considers you his brother,
and Fielding calls out to you every few paragraphs 
as if to make sure you have not closed the book,
and now I am summoning you up again,
attentive ghost, dark silent figure standing 
in the doorway of these words.
Pope welcomes you into the glow of his study, takes down a leather-bound Ovid to show you.
Tennyson lifts the latch to a moated garden, and with Yeats you lean against a broken pear tree, the day hooded by low clouds.
But now you are here with me, composed in the open field of this page, no room or manicured garden to enclose us, no Zeitgeist marching in the background, no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.
Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental, unnoticed by the monocled eye of History, you could be the man I held the door for this morning at the bank or post office or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
You could be someone I passed on the street or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.
The sunlight flashes off your windshield, and when I look up into the small, posted mirror, I watch you diminish—my echo, my twin— and vanish around a curve in this whip of a road we can't help traveling together.
Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | Create an image from this poem

And ask ye why these sad tears stream?

 ‘Te somnia nostra reducunt.
And ask ye why these sad tears stream? Why these wan eyes are dim with weeping? I had a dream–a lovely dream, Of her that in the grave is sleeping.
I saw her as ’twas yesterday, The bloom upon her cheek still glowing; And round her play’d a golden ray, And on her brows were gay flowers blowing.
With angel-hand she swept a lyre, A garland red with roses bound it; Its strings were wreath’d with lambent fire And amaranth was woven round it.
I saw her mid the realms of light, In everlasting radiance gleaming; Co-equal with the seraphs bright, Mid thousand thousand angels beaming.
I strove to reach her, when, behold, Those fairy forms of bliss Elysian, And all that rich scene wrapt in gold, Faded in air–a lovely vision! And I awoke, but oh! to me That waking hour was doubly weary; And yet I could not envy thee, Although so blest, and I so dreary.
Written by Billy Collins | Create an image from this poem

I Go Back To The House For A Book

 I turn around on the gravel
and go back to the house for a book,
something to read at the doctor's office,
and while I am inside, running the finger
of inquisition along a shelf,
another me that did not bother
to go back to the house for a book
heads out on his own,
rolls down the driveway,
and swings left toward town,
a ghost in his ghost car,
another knot in the string of time,
a good three minutes ahead of me —
a spacing that will now continue
for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I think I see him a few people in front of me on a line or getting up from a table to leave the restaurant just before I do, slipping into his coat on the way out the door.
But there is no catching him, no way to slow him down and put us back in synch, unless one day he decides to go back to the house for something, but I cannot imagine for the life of me what that might be.
He is out there always before me, blazing my trail, invisible scout, hound that pulls me along, shade I am doomed to follow, my perfect double, only bumped an inch into the future, and not nearly as well-versed as I in the love poems of Ovid — I who went back to the house that fateful winter morning and got the book.
Written by Phillis Wheatley | Create an image from this poem

Niobe in Distress

 Apollo's wrath to man the dreadful spring
Of ills innum'rous, tuneful goddess, sing!
Thou who did'st first th' ideal pencil give,
And taught'st the painter in his works to live,
Inspire with glowing energy of thought,
What Wilson painted, and what Ovid wrote.
Muse! lend thy aid, nor let me sue in vain, Tho' last and meanest of the rhyming train! O guide my pen in lofty strains to show The Phrygian queen, all beautiful in woe.
'Twas where Maeonia spreads her wide domain Niobe dwelt, and held her potent reign: See in her hand the regal sceptre shine, The wealthy heir of Tantalus divine, He most distinguish'd by Dodonean Jove, To approach the tables of the gods above: Her grandsire Atlas, who with mighty pains Th' ethereal axis on his neck sustains: Her other grandsire on the throne on high Rolls the loud-pealing thunder thro' the sky.
Her spouse, Amphion, who from Jove too springs, Divinely taught to sweep the sounding strings.
Seven sprightly sons the royal bed adorn, Seven daughters beauteous as the op'ning morn, As when Aurora fills the ravish'd sight, And decks the orient realms with rosy light From their bright eyes the living splendors play, Nor can beholders bear the flashing ray.
Wherever, Niobe, thou turn'st thine eyes, New beauties kindle, and new joys arise! But thou had'st far the happier mother prov'd, If this fair offspring had been less belov'd: What if their charms exceed Aurora's teint.
No words could tell them, and no pencil paint, Thy love too vehement hastens to destroy Each blooming maid, and each celestial boy.
Now Manto comes, endu'd with mighty skill, The past to explore, the future to reveal.
Thro' Thebes' wide streets Tiresia's daughter came, Divine Latona's mandate to proclaim: The Theban maids to hear the orders ran, When thus Maeonia's prophetess began: "Go, Thebans! great Latona's will obey, "And pious tribute at her altars pay: "With rights divine, the goddess be implor'd, "Nor be her sacred offspring unador'd.
" Thus Manto spoke.
The Theban maids obey, And pious tribute to the goddess pay.
The rich perfumes ascend in waving spires, And altars blaze with consecrated fires; The fair assembly moves with graceful air, And leaves of laurel bind the flowing hair.
Niobe comes with all her royal race, With charms unnumber'd, and superior grace: Her Phrygian garments of delightful hue, Inwove with gold, refulgent to the view, Beyond description beautiful she moves Like heav'nly Venus, 'midst her smiles and loves: She views around the supplicating train, And shakes her graceful head with stern disdain, Proudly she turns around her lofty eyes, And thus reviles celestial deities: "What madness drives the Theban ladies fair "To give their incense to surrounding air? "Say why this new sprung deity preferr'd? "Why vainly fancy your petitions heard? "Or say why Cæus offspring is obey'd, "While to my goddesship no tribute's paid? "For me no altars blaze with living fires, "No bullock bleeds, no frankincense transpires, "Tho' Cadmus' palace, not unknown to fame, "And Phrygian nations all revere my name.
"Where'er I turn my eyes vast wealth I find, "Lo! here an empress with a goddess join'd.
"What, shall a Titaness be deify'd, "To whom the spacious earth a couch deny'd! "Nor heav'n, nor earth, nor sea receiv'd your queen, "Till pitying Delos took the wand'rer in.
"Round me what a large progeny is spread! "No frowns of fortune has my soul to dread.
"What if indignant she decrease my train "More than Latona's number will remain; "Then hence, ye Theban dames, hence haste away, "Nor longer off'rings to Latona pay; "Regard the orders of Amphion's spouse, "And take the leaves of laurel from your brows.
" Niobe spoke.
The Theban maids obey'd, Their brows unbound, and left the rights unpaid.
The angry goddess heard, then silence broke On Cynthus' summit, and indignant spoke; "Phoebus! behold, thy mother in disgrace, "Who to no goddess yields the prior place "Except to Juno's self, who reigns above, "The spouse and sister of the thund'ring Jove.
"Niobe, sprung from Tantalus, inspires "Each Theban bosom with rebellious fires; "No reason her imperious temper quells, "But all her father in her tongue rebels; "Wrap her own sons for her blaspheming breath, "Apollo! wrap them in the shades of death.
" Latona ceas'd, and ardent thus replies The God, whose glory decks th' expanded skies.
"Cease thy complaints, mine be the task assign'd "To punish pride, and scourge the rebel mind.
" This Phoebe join'd.
--They wing their instant flight; Thebes trembled as th' immortal pow'rs alight.
With clouds incompass'd glorious Phoebus stands; The feather'd vengeance quiv'ring in his hands.
Near Cadmus' walls a plain extended lay, Where Thebes' young princes pass'd in sport the day: There the bold coursers bounded o'er the plains, While their great masters held the golden reins.
Ismenus first the racing pastime led, And rul'd the fury of his flying steed.
"Ah me," he sudden cries, with shrieking breath, While in his breast he feels the shaft of death; He drops the bridle on his courser's mane, Before his eyes in shadows swims the plain, He, the first-born of great Amphion's bed, Was struck the first, first mingled with the dead.
Then didst thou, Sipylus, the language hear Of fate portentous whistling in the air: As when th' impending storm the sailor sees He spreads his canvas to the fav'ring breeze, So to thine horse thou gav'st the golden reins, Gav'st him to rush impetuous o'er the plains: But ah! a fatal shaft from Phoebus' hand Smites thro' thy neck, and sinks thee on the sand.
Two other brothers were at wrestling found, And in their pastime claspt each other round: A shaft that instant from Apollo's hand Transfixt them both, and stretcht them on the sand: Together they their cruel fate bemoan'd, Together languish'd, and together groan'd: Together too th' unbodied spirits fled, And sought the gloomy mansions of the dead.
Alphenor saw, and trembling at the view, Beat his torn breast, that chang'd its snowy hue.
He flies to raise them in a kind embrace; A brother's fondness triumphs in his face: Alphenor fails in this fraternal deed, A dart dispatch'd him (so the fates decreed Soon as the arrow left the deadly wound, His issuing entrails smoak'd upon the ground.
What woes on blooming Damasichon wait! His sighs portend his near impending fate.
Just where the well-made leg begins to be, And the soft sinews form the supple knee, The youth sore wounded by the Delian god Attempts t' extract the crime-avenging rod, But, whilst he strives the will of fate t' avert, Divine Apollo sends a second dart; Swift thro' his throat the feather'd mischief flies, Bereft of sense, he drops his head, and dies.
Young Ilioneus, the last, directs his pray'r, And cries, "My life, ye gods celestial! spare.
" Apollo heard, and pity touch'd his heart, But ah! too late, for he had sent the dart: Thou too, O Ilioneus, art doom'd to fall, The fates refuse that arrow to recal.
On the swift wings of ever flying Fame To Cadmus' palace soon the tidings came: Niobe heard, and with indignant eyes She thus express'd her anger and surprise: "Why is such privilege to them allow'd? "Why thus insulted by the Delian god? "Dwells there such mischief in the pow'rs above? "Why sleeps the vengeance of immortal Jove?" For now Amphion too, with grief oppress'd, Had plung'd the deadly dagger in his breast.
Niobe now, less haughty than before, With lofty head directs her steps no more She, who late told her pedigree divine, And drove the Thebans from Latona's shrine, How strangely chang'd!--yet beautiful in woe, She weeps, nor weeps unpity'd by the foe.
On each pale corse the wretched mother spread Lay overwhelm'd with grief, and kiss'd her dead, Then rais'd her arms, and thus, in accents slow, "Be sated cruel Goddess! with my woe; "If I've offended, let these streaming eyes, "And let this sev'nfold funeral suffice: "Ah! take this wretched life you deign'd to save, "With them I too am carried to the grave.
"Rejoice triumphant, my victorious foe, "But show the cause from whence your triumphs flow? "Tho' I unhappy mourn these children slain, "Yet greater numbers to my lot remain.
" She ceas'd, the bow string twang'd with awful sound, Which struck with terror all th' assembly round, Except the queen, who stood unmov'd alone, By her distresses more presumptuous grown.
Near the pale corses stood their sisters fair In sable vestures and dishevell'd hair; One, while she draws the fatal shaft away, Faints, falls, and sickens at the light of day.
To sooth her mother, lo! another flies, And blames the fury of inclement skies, And, while her words a filial pity show, Struck dumb--indignant seeks the shades below.
Now from the fatal place another flies, Falls in her flight, and languishes, and dies.
Another on her sister drops in death; A fifth in trembling terrors yields her breath; While the sixth seeks some gloomy cave in vain, Struck with the rest, and mingled with the slain.
One only daughter lives, and she the least; The queen close clasp'd the daughter to her breast: "Ye heav'nly pow'rs, ah spare me one," she cry'd, "Ah! spare me one," the vocal hills reply'd: In vain she begs, the Fates her suit deny, In her embrace she sees her daughter die.
*"The queen of all her family bereft, "Without or husband, son, or daughter left, "Grew stupid at the shock.
The passing air "Made no impression on her stiff'ning hair.
"The blood forsook her face: amidst the flood "Pour'd from her cheeks, quite fix'd her eye-balls stood.
"Her tongue, her palate both obdurate grew, "Her curdled veins no longer motion knew; "The use of neck, and arms, and feet was gone, "And ev'n her bowels hard'ned into stone: "A marble statue now the queen appears, "But from the marble steal the silent tears.
Written by Craig Raine | Create an image from this poem

City Gent

 On my desk, a set of labels
or a synopsis of leeks,
blanched by the sun
and trailing their roots

like a watering can.
Beyond and below, diminished by distance, a taxi shivers at the lights: a shining moorhen with an orange nodule set over the beak, taking a passenger under its wing.
I turn away, confront the cuckold hatstand at bay in the corner, and eavesdrop (bless you!) on a hay-fever of brakes.
My Caran d'Ache are sharp as the tips of an iris and the four-tier file is spotted with rust: a study of plaice by a Japanese master, ochres exquisitely bled.
Instead of office work, I fish for complements and sport a pencil behind each ear, a bit of a devil, or trap the telephone awkwardly under my chin like Richard Crookback, crying, A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! but only to myself, ironically: the tube is semi-stiff with stallion whangs, the chairman's Mercedes has windscreen wipers like a bird's broken tongue, and I am perfectly happy to see your head, quick round the door like a dryad, as I pretend to be Ovid in exile, composing Tristia and sad for the shining, the missed, the muscular beach.
Written by Robert Herrick | Create an image from this poem




Come then, and like two doves with silvery wings,
Let our souls fly to th' shades, wherever springs
Sit smiling in the meads; where balm and oil,
Roses and cassia, crown the untill'd soil;
Where no disease reigns, or infection comes
To blast the air, but amber-gris and gums.
This, that, and ev'ry thicket doth transpire More sweet than storax from the hallow'd fire; Where ev'ry tree a wealthy issue bears Of fragrant apples, blushing plums, or pears; And all the shrubs, with sparkling spangles, shew Like morning sun-shine, tinselling the dew.
Here in green meadows sits eternal May, Purfling the margents, while perpetual day So double-gilds the air, as that no night Can ever rust th' enamel of the light: Here naked younglings, handsome striplings, run Their goals for virgins' kisses; which when done, Then unto dancing forth the learned round Commix'd they meet, with endless roses crown'd.
And here we'll sit on primrose-banks, and see Love's chorus led by Cupid; and we'll he Two loving followers too unto the grove, Where poets sing the stories of our love.
There thou shalt hear divine Musaeus sing Of Hero and Leander; then I'll bring Thee to the stand, where honour'd Homer reads His Odyssees and his high Iliads; About whose throne the crowd of poets throng To hear the incantation of his tongue: To Linus, then to Pindar; and that done, I'll bring thee, Herrick, to Anacreon, Quaffing his full-crown'd bowls of burning wine, And in his raptures speaking lines of thine, Like to his subject; and as his frantic Looks shew him truly Bacchanalian like, Besmear'd with grapes,--welcome he shall thee thither, Where both may rage, both drink and dance together.
Then stately Virgil, witty Ovid, by Whom fair Corinna sits, and doth comply With ivory wrists his laureat head, and steeps His eye in dew of kisses while he sleeps.
Then soft Catullus, sharp-fang'd Martial, And towering Lucan, Horace, Juvenal, And snaky Persius; these, and those whom rage, Dropt for the jars of heaven, fill'd, t' engage All times unto their frenzies; thou shalt there Behold them in a spacious theatre: Among which glories, crown'd with sacred bays And flatt'ring ivy, two recite their plays, Beaumont and Fletcher, swans, to whom all ears Listen, while they, like sirens in their spheres, Sing their Evadne; and still more for thee There yet remains to know than thou canst see By glimm'ring of a fancy; Do but come, And there I'll shew thee that capacious room In which thy father, Jonson, now is placed As in a globe of radiant fire, and graced To be in that orb crown'd, that doth include Those prophets of the former magnitude, And he one chief.
But hark! I hear the cock, The bell-man of the night, proclaim the clock Of late struck One; and now I see the prime Of day break from the pregnant east:--'tis time I vanish:--more I had to say, But night determines here;(Away!
Written by Robert Herrick | Create an image from this poem

To Live Merrily And To Trust To Good Verses

 Now is the time for mirth,
Nor cheek or tongue be dumb;
For with the flow'ry earth
The golden pomp is come.
The golden pomp is come; For now each tree does wear, Made of her pap and gum, Rich beads of amber here.
Now reigns the rose, and now Th' Arabian dew besmears My uncontrolled brow And my retorted hairs.
Homer, this health to thee, In sack of such a kind That it would make thee see Though thou wert ne'er so blind.
Next, Virgil I'll call forth To pledge this second health In wine, whose each cup's worth An Indian commonwealth.
A goblet next I'll drink To Ovid, and suppose, Made he the pledge, he'd think The world had all one nose.
Then this immensive cup Of aromatic wine, Catullus, I quaff up To that terse muse of thine.
Wild I am now with heat; O Bacchus! cool thy rays! Or frantic, I shall eat Thy thyrse, and bite the bays.
Round, round the roof does run; And being ravish'd thus, Come, I will drink a tun To my Propertius.
Now, to Tibullus, next, This flood I drink to thee; But stay, I see a text That this presents to me.
Behold, Tibullus lies Here burnt, whose small return Of ashes scarce suffice To fill a little urn.
Trust to good verses then; They only will aspire, When pyramids, as men, Are lost i' th' funeral fire.
And when all bodies meet, In Lethe to be drown'd, Then only numbers sweet With endless life are crown'd.
Written by Edgar Lee Masters | Create an image from this poem

Thomas Trevelyan

 Reading in Ovid the sorrowful story of Itys,
Son of the love of Tereus and Procne, slain
For the guilty passion of Tereus for Philomela,
The flesh of him served to Tereus by Procne,
And the wrath of Tereus, the murderess pursuing
Till the gods made Philomela a nightingale,
Lute of the rising moon, and Procne a swallow!
Oh livers and artists of Hellas centuries gone,
Sealing in little thuribles dreams and wisdom,
Incense beyond all price, forever fragrant,
A breath whereof makes clear the eyes of the soul!
How I inhaled its sweetness here in Spoon River!
The thurible opening when I had lived and learned
How all of us kill the children of love, and all of us,
Knowing not what we do, devour their flesh;
And all of us change to singers, although it be
But once in our lives, or change -- alas! -- to swallows,
To twitter amid cold winds and falling leaves!