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Famous Coward Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Lehman, David
...content to chase a Jew and he could elude
 them by running away. They were happy just to see him run
 away. The coward! All Jews were yellow.
They spelled Jew with a small j jew.
And now they find out they are Jews themselves.
It happened at the time of the Spanish Inquisition.
To escape persecution, they pretended to convert to Christianity.
They came to this country and settled in the Southwest.
At some point oral tradition failed the family,...Read More

by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
At Quebec, Montreal and farthest coasts 
Of Labrador and Esquimaux where now 
The British standard awes the coward host. 
Here those brave chiefs, who lavish of their blood 
Fought in Britannia's cause, most nobly fell. 
What Heart but mourns the untimely fate of Wolf, 
Who dying conquer'd, or what breast but beats 
To share a fate like his, and die like him? 

And he demands our lay who bravely fell 
By Monangahela and the Ohio's stream; 
B...Read More

by Sidney, Sir Philip
...iend at the wurst,
But, as you with my breast I oft haue nurst,
So, gratefull now, you waite vpon my care.
Faint coward Ioy no longer tarry dare,
Seeing Hope yeeld when this wo strake him furst;
Delight exclaims he is for my fault curst,
Though oft himselfe my mate in Armes he sware;
Nay, Sorrow comes with such maine rage, that he
Kils his owne children (teares) finding that they
By Loue were made apt to consort with me.
Only, true Sighs, you do not goe away...Read More

by Browning, Robert
But there they are, and so you let them rule. 
Then, friend, you seem as much a slave as I, 
A liar, conscious coward and hypocrite, 
Without the good the slave expects to get, 
In case he has a master after all! 
You own your instincts? why, what else do I, 
Who want, am made for, and must have a God 
Ere I can be aught, do aught?--no mere name 
Want, but the true thing with what proves its truth, 
To wit, a relation from that thing to me, 
Touching from head to foo...Read More

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
...The blood of lesser things to see it flow; 
Lures like a friend, to murder like a foe
The trusting bird and beast; and, coward like, 
Deals covert blows he dare not boldly strike.
The brutes have finer souls, and only slay
When torn by hunger's pangs, or when to fear a prey.

The pale-faced hunter, insolent and bold, 
Pursued the bison while he sought for gold.
And on the hungry red man's own domains 
He left the rotting and unused remains
To foul with...Read More

by Keats, John
Was quite forgotten, save of us alone!
And wherefore so ashamed? 'Tis but to atone
For endless pleasure, by some coward blushes:
Yet must I be a coward!--Horror rushes
Too palpable before me--the sad look
Of Jove--Minerva's start--no bosom shook
With awe of purity--no Cupid pinion
In reverence veiled--my crystaline dominion
Half lost, and all old hymns made nullity!
But what is this to love? O I could fly
With thee into the ken of heavenly powers,
So thou wouldst thus,...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
 That led me heard and turned, magnanimous, 
 And saw me drained of purpose halting thus, 
 And answered, "If thy coward-born thoughts be clear, 
 And all thy once intent, infirmed of fear, 
 Broken, then art thou as scared beasts that shy 
 From shadows, surely that they know not why 
 Nor wherefore. . . Hearken, to confound thy fear, 
 The things which first I heard, and brought me here. 
 One came where, in the Outer Place, I dwell, 
 Suspense from ho...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
...e about; 
Expectants pale, with hopes of spoil allured, 
Though yet but pioneers, and led by Stew'rd. 
Then damning cowards ranged the vocal plain, 
Wood these command, the Knight of the Horn and Cane. 
Still his hook-shoulder seems the blow to dread, 
And under's armpit he defends his head. 
The posture strange men laughed at of his poll, 
Hid with his elbow like the spice he stole. 
Headless St Denys so his head does bear, 
And both of them alike French mart...Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
...thy days,
Thou grand expressor of the present tense,
And type of permanence,
Firm ensign of the fatal Being,
Amid these coward shapes of joy and grief
That will not bide the seeing.
Hither we bring
Our insect miseries to the rocks,
And the whole flight with pestering wing
Vanish and end their murmuring,
Vanish beside these dedicated blocks,
Which, who can tell what mason laid?
Spoils of a front none need restore,
Replacing frieze and architrave;
Yet flowers each stone ros...Read More

by Milton, John
...ingle combatant
Duell'd thir Armies rank't in proud array,
Himself an Army, now unequal match
To save himself against a coward arm'd
At one spears length. O ever failing trust
In mortal strength! and oh what not in man
Deceivable and vain! Nay what thing good 
Pray'd for, but often proves our woe, our bane?
I pray'd for Children, and thought barrenness
In wedlock a reproach; I gain'd a Son,
And such a Son as all Men hail'd me happy;
Who would be now a Father in my stead?
...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...and would think of it far longer 
if I were not… if I were not 
at that old fire. 

I could admit 
that I am only a coward 
crying me me me 
and not mention the little gnats, the moths, 
forced by circumstance 
to suck on the electric bulb. 
But surely you know that everyone has a death, 
his own death, 
waiting for him. 
So I will go now 
without old age or disease, 
wildly but accurately, 
knowing my best route, 
carried by that toy donkey I rode all these years...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
An...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...kar. [19] 
This morning clouds upon me lower'd, 
Reproaches on my head were shower'd, 
And Giaffir almost call'd me coward! 
Now I have motive to be brave; 
The son of his neglected slave — 
Nay, start not, 'twas the term he gave — 
May shew, though little apt to vaunt, 
A heart his words nor deeds can daunt. 
His son, indeed! — yet, thanks to thee, 
Perchance I am, at least shall be! 
But let our plighted secret vow 
Be only known to us as now. 
I know the wretch...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...ding fearlessly before him, 
Taunted him in loud derision, 
Spake disdainfully in this wise:
"Hark you, Bear! you are a coward; 
And no Brave, as you pretended; 
Else you would not cry and whimper 
Like a miserable woman! 
Bear! you know our tribes are hostile, 
Long have been at war together; 
Now you find that we are strongest, 
You go sneaking in the forest, 
You go hiding in the mountains! 
Had you conquered me in battle 
Not a groan would I have uttered; 
But you, Bear! ...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour

A thousand times hath in my heart's behoof
My tongue been set his passion to impart;
A thousand times hath my too coward heart
My mouth reclosed and fix'd it to the roof;
Then with such cunning hath it held aloof,
A thousand times kept silence with such art
That words could do no more: yet on thy part
Hath silence given a thousand times reproof. 
I should be bolder, seeing I commend
Love, that my dilatory purpose primes,
But fear lest with my fears my hope should en...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...ils to heed!
     Palsied the foot that shuns to speed!
     May ravens tear the careless eyes,
     Wolves make the coward heart their prize!
     As sinks that blood-stream in the earth,
     So may his heart's-blood drench his hearth!
     As dies in hissing gore the spark,
     Quench thou his light, Destruction dark!
     And be the grace to him denied,
     Bought by this sign to all beside!
     He ceased; no echo gave again
     The murmur of the deep Amen....Read More

by Bronte, Charlotte blood water what I sow ! 

What ! have I ever trembling stood,
And feared to give to God that blood ?
What ! has the coward love of life
Made me shrink from the righteous strife ?
Have human passions, human fears
Severed me from those Pioneers,
Whose task is to march first, and trace
Paths for the progress of our race ?
It has been so; but grant me, Lord,
Now to stand steadfast by thy word !
Protected by salvation's helm,
Shielded by faith­with truth begirt,
To smile when ...Read More

by Khayyam, Omar
...his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place. 

Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou will not with Predestin'd Evil round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin? 

Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's...Read More

by Cullen, Countee
...he blossom it would never be.
But here a bud won light; it burst and flowered
Into a rose whose beauty challenged, "Coward!"
There was no thing alive save only I
That held life in contempt and longed to die.
And still I writhed and moaned, "The curse, the curse,
Than animated death, can death be worse?"

"Dark child of sorrow, mine no less, what art Of mine can make thee see
and play thy part? The key to all strange things is in thy heart."

What voice was this th...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...times near. For freshly dug graves
There will be not be enough place soon.
Expect pest, expect plague, expect coward,
And eclipses of Sun and Moon.

But the enemy won't get to divide
Our lands for his fun:
Holy Mary will spread on her own
Over great sorrows a white gown"


From the burning forests is flying
Sweet smell of the evergreens.
Over children soldiers' wives are moaning
Cry of widows through village rings.

Not in vain were the...Read More

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