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Best Famous Allusion Poems

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

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Written by Taja Kramberger | Create an image from this poem

Every Dead One Has a Name

Every dead one has a name,
only the names of the living make us falter.
Some names are impossible to utter without a stammer and a fidget, some can only be spoken through allusion, and some, mostly women’s, are forbidden in these parts.
Every dead one has a name, engraved in stone, printed in obituary or directory, but my name must be undermined, every few years soiled and substituted with another one.
A decade ago, a high-ranking party official warned me: Stay a poet, as long as there’s still time.
Still time? Time for what? I have also become a social scientist and an editor and an organiser and a translator and an activist and a university teacher.
Unbearable - all these things - all trespasses of the old parcel borders that were drawn by the dirty fingers of fraternities.
I air all the rooms, I ignore all the ratings, I open all the valvelets.
And they have put me out in the cold – like the dead.
But every dead one has a name.
© Taja Kramberger, Z roba klifa / From the Edge of a Cliff, CSK, Ljubljana, 2011 © Translation by Špela Drnovšek Zorko, 2012

Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet XVI: Mongst All the Creatures

 An Allusion to the Phoenix

'Mongst all the creatures in this spacious round 
Of the birds' kind, the Phoenix is alone, 
Which best by you of living things is known; 
None like to that, none like to you is found.
Your beauty is the hot and splend'rous sun, The precious spices be your chaste desire, Which being kindled by that heav'nly fire, Your life so like the Phoenix's begun; Yourself thus burned in that sacred flame, With so rare sweetness all the heav'ns perfuming, Again increasing as you are consuming, Only by dying born the very same; And, wing'd by fame, you to the stars ascend, So you of time shall live beyond the end.
Written by John Wilmot | Create an image from this poem

An Allusion to Horace

 Well Sir, 'tis granted, I said Dryden's Rhimes, 
Were stoln, unequal, nay dull many times: 
What foolish Patron, is there found of his, 
So blindly partial, to deny me this? 
But that his Plays, Embroider'd up and downe, 
With Witt, and Learning, justly pleas'd the Towne, 
In the same paper, I as freely owne: 
Yet haveing this allow'd, the heavy Masse, 
That stuffs up his loose Volumes must not passe: 
For by that Rule, I might as well admit, 
Crownes tedious Scenes, for Poetry, and Witt.
'Tis therefore not enough, when your false Sense Hits the false Judgment of an Audience Of Clapping-Fooles, assembling a vast Crowd 'Till the throng'd Play-House, crack with the dull Load; Tho' ev'n that Tallent, merrits in some sort, That can divert the Rabble and the Court: Which blundring Settle, never cou'd attaine, And puzling Otway, labours at in vaine.
But within due proportions, circumscribe What e're you write; that with a flowing Tyde, The Stile, may rise, yet in its rise forbeare, With uselesse Words, t'oppresse the wearyed Eare: Here be your Language lofty, there more light, Your Rethorick, with your Poetry, unite: For Elegance sake, sometimes alay the force Of Epethets; 'twill soften the discourse; A Jeast in Scorne, poynts out, and hits the thing, More home, than the Morosest Satyrs Sting.
Shakespeare, and Johnson, did herein excell, And might in this be Immitated well; Whom refin'd Etheridge, Coppys not at all, But is himself a Sheere Originall: Nor that Slow Drudge, in swift Pindarique straines, Flatman, who Cowley imitates with paines, And rides a Jaded Muse, whipt with loose Raines.
When Lee, makes temp'rate Scipio, fret and Rave, And Haniball, a whineing Am'rous Slave; I laugh, and wish the hot-brain'd Fustian Foole, In Busbys hands, to be well lasht at Schoole.
Of all our Moderne Witts, none seemes to me, Once to have toucht upon true Comedy, But hasty Shadwell, and slow Witcherley.
Shadwells unfinisht workes doe yet impart, Great proofes of force of Nature, none of Art.
With just bold Stroakes, he dashes here and there, Shewing great Mastery with little care; And scornes to varnish his good touches o're, To make the Fooles, and Women, praise 'em more.
But Witcherley, earnes hard, what e're he gaines, He wants noe Judgment, nor he spares noe paines; He frequently excells, and at the least, Makes fewer faults, than any of the best.
Waller, by Nature for the Bayes design'd, With force, and fire, and fancy unconfin'd, In Panigericks does Excell Mankind: He best can turne, enforce, and soften things, To praise great Conqu'rours, or to flatter Kings.
For poynted Satyrs, I wou'd Buckhurst choose, The best good Man, with the worst Natur'd Muse: For Songs, and Verses, Mannerly Obscene, That can stirr Nature up, by Springs unseene, And without forceing blushes, warme the Queene: Sidley, has that prevailing gentle Art, That can with a resistlesse Charme impart, The loosest wishes to the Chastest Heart, Raise such a Conflict, kindle such a ffire Betwixt declineing Virtue, and desire, Till the poor Vanquisht Maid, dissolves away, In Dreames all Night, in Sighs, and Teares, all Day.
Dryden, in vaine, try'd this nice way of Witt, For he, to be a tearing Blade thought fit, But when he wou'd be sharp, he still was blunt, To friske his frollique fancy, hed cry ****; Wou'd give the Ladyes, a dry Bawdy bob, And thus he got the name of Poet Squab: But to be just, twill to his praise be found, His Excellencies, more than faults abound.
Nor dare I from his Sacred Temples teare, That Lawrell, which he best deserves to weare.
But does not Dryden find ev'n Johnson dull? Fletcher, and Beaumont, uncorrect, and full Of Lewd lines as he calls em? Shakespeares Stile Stiffe, and Affected? To his owne the while Allowing all the justnesse that his Pride, Soe Arrogantly, had to these denyd? And may not I, have leave Impartially To search, and Censure, Drydens workes, and try, If those grosse faults, his Choyce Pen does Commit Proceed from want of Judgment, or of Witt.
Of if his lumpish fancy does refuse, Spirit, and grace to his loose slatterne Muse? Five Hundred Verses, ev'ry Morning writ, Proves you noe more a Poet, than a Witt.
Such scribling Authors, have beene seene before, Mustapha, the English Princesse, Forty more, Were things perhaps compos'd in Half an Houre.
To write what may securely stand the test Of being well read over Thrice oat least Compare each Phrase, examin ev'ry Line, Weigh ev'ry word, and ev'ry thought refine; Scorne all Applause the Vile Rout can bestow, And be content to please those few, who know.
Canst thou be such a vaine mistaken thing To wish thy Workes might make a Play-house ring, With the unthinking Laughter, and poor praise Of Fopps, and Ladys, factious for thy Plays? Then send a cunning Friend to learne thy doome, From the shrew'd Judges in the Drawing-Roome.
I've noe Ambition on that idle score, But say with Betty Morice, heretofore When a Court-Lady, call'd her Buckleys Whore, I please one Man of Witt, am proud on't too, Let all the Coxcombs, dance to bed to you.
Shou'd I be troubled when the Purblind Knight Who squints more in his Judgment, than his sight, Picks silly faults, and Censures what I write? Or when the poor-fed Poets of the Towne For Scrapps, and Coach roome cry my Verses downe? I loath the Rabble, 'tis enough for me, If Sidley, Shadwell, Shepherd, Witcherley, Godolphin, Buttler, Buckhurst, Buckingham, And some few more, whom I omit to name Approve my Sense, I count their Censure Fame.
Written by Eugene Field | Create an image from this poem

Mr. Dana of the New York Sun

 Thar showed up out'n Denver in the spring uv '81
A man who'd worked with Dana on the Noo York Sun.
His name wuz Cantell Whoppers, 'nd he wuz a sight ter view Ez he walked inter the orfice 'nd inquired fer work ter do.
Thar warn't no places vacant then,--fer be it understood, That wuz the time when talent flourished at that altitood; But thar the stranger lingered, tellin' Raymond 'nd the rest Uv what perdigious wonders he could do when at his best, Till finally he stated (quite by chance) that he hed done A heap uv work with Dana on the Noo York Sun.
Wall, that wuz quite another thing; we owned that ary cuss Who'd worked f'r Mr.
Dana must be good enough fer us! And so we tuk the stranger's word 'nd nipped him while we could, For if we didn't take him we knew John Arkins would; And Cooper, too, wuz mouzin' round fer enterprise 'nd brains, Whenever them commodities blew in across the plains.
At any rate we nailed him, which made ol' Cooper swear And Arkins tear out handfuls uv his copious curly hair; But we set back and cackled, 'nd bed a power uv fun With our man who'd worked with Dana on the Noo York Sun.
It made our eyes hang on our cheeks 'nd lower jaws ter drop, Ter hear that feller tellin' how ol' Dana run his shop: It seems that Dana wuz the biggest man you ever saw,-- He lived on human bein's, 'nd preferred to eat 'em raw! If he hed Democratic drugs ter take, before he took 'em, As good old allopathic laws prescribe, he allus shook 'em.
The man that could set down 'nd write like Dany never grew, And the sum of human knowledge wuzn't half what Dana knew; The consequence appeared to be that nearly every one Concurred with Mr.
Dana of the Noo York Sun.
This feller, Cantell Whoppers, never brought an item in,-- He spent his time at Perrin's shakin' poker dice f'r gin.
Whatever the assignment, he wuz allus sure to shirk, He wuz very long on likker and all-fired short on work! If any other cuss had played the tricks he dared ter play, The daisies would be bloomin' over his remains to-day; But somehow folks respected him and stood him to the last, Considerin' his superior connections in the past.
So, when he bilked at poker, not a sucker drew a gun On the man who 'd worked with Dana on the Noo York Sun.
Wall, Dana came ter Denver in the fall uv '83.
A very different party from the man we thought ter see,-- A nice 'nd clean old gentleman, so dignerfied 'nd calm, You bet yer life he never did no human bein' harm! A certain hearty manner 'nd a fulness uv the vest Betokened that his sperrits 'nd his victuals wuz the best; His face wuz so benevolent, his smile so sweet 'nd kind, That they seemed to be the reflex uv an honest, healthy mind; And God had set upon his head a crown uv silver hair In promise uv the golden crown He meaneth him to wear.
So, uv us boys that met him out'n Denver, there wuz none But fell in love with Dana uv the Noo York Sun.
But when he came to Denver in that fall uv '83, His old friend Cantell Whoppers disappeared upon a spree; The very thought uv seein' Dana worked upon him so (They hadn't been together fer a year or two, you know), That he borrered all the stuff he could and started on a bat, And, strange as it may seem, we didn't see him after that.
So, when ol' Dana hove in sight, we couldn't understand Why he didn't seem to notice that his crony wa'n't on hand; No casual allusion, not a question, no, not one, For the man who'd "worked with Dana on the Noo York Sun!" We broke it gently to him, but he didn't seem surprised, Thar wuz no big burst uv passion as we fellers had surmised.
He said that Whoppers wuz a man he 'd never heerd about, But he mought have carried papers on a Jarsey City route; And then he recollected hearin' Mr.
Laffan say That he'd fired a man named Whoppers fur bein' drunk one day, Which, with more likker underneath than money in his vest, Had started on a freight-train fur the great 'nd boundin' West, But further information or statistics he had none Uv the man who'd "worked with Dana on the Noo York Sun.
" We dropped the matter quietly 'nd never made no fuss,-- When we get played for suckers, why, that's a horse on us!-- But every now 'nd then we Denver fellers have to laff To hear some other paper boast uv havin' on its staff A man who's "worked with Dana," 'nd then we fellers wink And pull our hats down on our eyes 'nd set around 'nd think.
It seems like Dana couldn't be as smart as people say, If he educates so many folks 'nd lets 'em get away; And, as for us, in future we'll be very apt to shun The man who "worked with Dana on the Noo York Sun.
" But bless ye, Mr.
Dana! may you live a thousan' years, To sort o' keep things lively in this vale of human tears; An' may I live a thousan', too,--a thousan' less a day, For I shouldn't like to be on earth to hear you'd passed away.
And when it comes your time to go you'll need no Latin chaff Nor biographic data put in your epitaph; But one straight line of English and of truth will let folks know The homage 'nd the gratitude 'nd reverence they owe; You'll need no epitaph but this: "Here sleeps the man who run That best 'nd brightest paper, the Noo York Sun.
Written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | Create an image from this poem


 [The following explanation is necessary, in order 
to make this ode in any way intelligible.
The Poet is supposed to leave his companions, who are proceeding on a hunting expedition in winter, in order himself to pay a visit to a hypochondriacal friend, and also to see the mining in the Hartz mountains.
The ode alternately describes, in a very fragmentary and peculiar manner, the naturally happy disposition of the Poet himself and the unhappiness of his friend; it pictures the wildness of the road and the dreariness of the prospect, which is relieved at one spot by the distant sight of a town, a very vague allusion to which is made in the third strophe; it recalls the hunting party on which his companions have gone; and after an address to Love, concludes by a contrast between the unexplored recesses of the highest peak of the Hartz and the metalliferous veins of its smaller brethren.
] LIKE the vulture Who on heavy morning clouds With gentle wing reposing Looks for his prey,-- Hover, my song! For a God hath Unto each prescribed His destined path, Which the happy one Runs o'er swiftly To his glad goal: He whose heart cruel Fate hath contracted, Struggles but vainly Against all the barriers The brazen thread raises, But which the harsh shears Must one day sever.
Through gloomy thickets Presseth the wild deer on, And with the sparrows Long have the wealthy Settled themselves in the marsh.
Easy 'tis following the chariot That by Fortune is driven, Like the baggage that moves Over well-mended highways After the train of a prince.
But who stands there apart? In the thicket, lost is his path; Behind him the bushes Are closing together, The grass springs up again, The desert engulphs him.
Ah, who'll heal his afflictions, To whom balsam was poison, Who, from love's fullness, Drank in misanthropy only? First despised, and now a despiser, He, in secret, wasteth All that he is worth, In a selfishness vain.
If there be, on thy psaltery, Father of Love, but one tone That to his ear may be pleasing, Oh, then, quicken his heart! Clear his cloud-enveloped eyes Over the thousand fountains Close by the thirsty one In the desert.
Thou who createst much joy, For each a measure o'erflowing, Bless the sons of the chase When on the track of the prey, With a wild thirsting for blood, Youthful and joyous Avenging late the injustice Which the peasant resisted Vainly for years with his staff.
But the lonely one veil Within thy gold clouds! Surround with winter-green, Until the roses bloom again, The humid locks, Oh Love, of thy minstrel! With thy glimmering torch Lightest thou him Through the fords when 'tis night, Over bottomless places On desert-like plains; With the thousand colours of morning Gladd'nest his bosom; With the fierce-biting storm Bearest him proudly on high; Winter torrents rush from the cliffs,-- Blend with his psalms; An altar of grateful delight He finds in the much-dreaded mountain's Snow-begirded summit, Which foreboding nations Crown'd with spirit-dances.
Thou stand'st with breast inscrutable, Mysteriously disclosed, High o'er the wondering world, And look'st from clouds Upon its realms and its majesty, Which thou from the veins of thy brethren Near thee dost water.

Written by Anthony Hecht | Create an image from this poem

The Dover *****: A Criticism Of Life

 So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, "Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc.
, etc.
" Well now, I knew this girl.
It's true she had read Sophocles in a fairly good translation And caught that bitter allusion to the sea, But all the time he was talking she had in mind the notion of what his whiskers would feel like On the back of her neck.
She told me later on That after a while she got to looking out At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad, Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry.
To have been brought All the way down from London, and then be addressed As sort of a mournful cosmic last resort Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room and finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit, And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that.
What I mean to say is, She's really all right.
I still see her once in a while And she always treats me right.
We have a drink And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year Before I see her again, but there she is, Running to fat, but dependable as they come, And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d'Amour.
note: See Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach"]