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Famous Contemplative Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Smart, Christopher
...From topmost eminence appear 
 To this the wreath I weave. 

Great, valiant, pious, good, and clean, 
Sublime, contemplative, serene, 
 Strong, constant, pleasant, wise! 
Bright effluence of exceeding grace; 
Best man!—the swiftest and the race, 
 The peril, and the prize! 

Great—from the lustre of his crown, 
From Samuel's horn, and God's renown, 
 Which is the people's voice; 
For all the host, from rear to van, 
Applauded and embrac'd the man— 
 The man of Go...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
To one who travels from the dusking East:
Sighs, too, as mournful as that Memnon's harp
He utter'd, while his hands contemplative
He press'd together, and in silence stood.
Despondence seiz'd again the fallen Gods
At sight of the dejected King of day,
And many hid their faces from the light:
But fierce Enceladus sent forth his eyes
Among the brotherhood; and, at their glare,
Uprose Iapetus, and Creus too,
And Phorcus, sea-born, and together strode
To where he towered ...Read more of this...

by Yeats, William Butler
...all their passion, live
But as the outrageous stars incline
By opposition, square and trine;
Having grown sluggish and contemplative.


They were my close companions many a year.
A portion of my mind and life, as it were,
And now their breathless faces seem to look
Out of some old picture-book;
I am accustomed to their lack of breath,
But not that my dear friend's dear son,
Our Sidney and our perfect man,
Could share in that discourtesy of death


For all th...Read more of this...

by Smart, Christopher
...pact. God be gracious to Draper. 

For Naphtali is sublime -- God be gracious to Chesterfield. 

For Gad is Contemplative -- God be gracious to Lord Northampton. 

For Ashur is Happy -- God be gracious to George Bowes. 

For Issachar is strong -- God be gracious to the Duke of Dorsett. 

For Zabulon is Constant -- God be gracious to Lord Bath. 

For Joseph is Pleasant -- God be gracious to Lord Bolingbroke. 

For Benjamin is Wise -- God be grac...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
 "Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts,
Kingdom nor empire, pleases thee, nor aught
By me proposed in life contemplative 
Or active, tended on by glory or fame,
What dost thou in this world? The Wilderness
For thee is fittest place: I found thee there,
And thither will return thee. Yet remember
What I foretell thee; soon thou shalt have cause
To wish thou never hadst rejected, thus
Nicely or cautiously, my offered aid,
Which would have set thee in short time ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
From Egypt home returned, in Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many years; his life 
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
Little suspicious to any king. But now,
Full grown to man, acknowledged, as I hear,
By John the Baptist, and in public shewn,
Son owned from Heaven by his Father's voice,
I looked for some great change. To honour? no;
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Sp...Read more of this...

by Swinburne, Algernon Charles
...n on hope till these have help to give,
And faith and love crawl famished from the gate;
Canst thou sit shamed and self-contemplative
With soulless eyes on thy secluded fate?
Though time forgive them, thee shall he forgive,
Whose choice was in thine hand to be so great?
Who cast out of thy mind
The passion of man's kind,
And made thee and thine old name separate?
Now when time looks to see
New names and old and thee
Build up our one Republic state by state,
England with Franc...Read more of this...

by Ginsberg, Allen
..."Soyez muette pour moi, Idole contemplative..."

I came home and found a lion in my living room
Rushed out on the fire escape screaming Lion! Lion!
Two stenographers pulled their brunnette hair and banged the window shut
I hurried home to Patterson and stayed two days

Called up old Reichian analyst
who'd kicked me out of therapy for smoking marijuana
'It's happened' I pante...Read more of this...

by Warton, Thomas
...umined roof
Resound with festive echo, let me sit,
Blest with the lowly cricket's drowsy dirge.
Then let my thought contemplative explore
This fleeting state of things, the vain delights,
The fruitless toils, that still our search elude,
As through the wilderness of life we rove.
This sober hour of silence will unmask
False Folly's smile , that like the dazzling spells
Of wily Comus cheat th' unweeting eye
With blear illusion, and persuade to drink
That charmed cup, w...Read more of this...

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