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Famous Desire Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shakespeare, William
...let go by
The swiftest hours, observed as they flew--
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew,
And, privileged by age, desires to know
In brief the grounds and motives of her woe.

So slides he down upon his grained bat,
And comely-distant sits he by her side;
When he again desires her, being sat,
Her grievance with his hearing to divide:
If that from him there may be aught applied
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage,
'Tis promised in the charity of age.

'Father...Read More



by Frost, Robert
...Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice....Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...on,
And died to show that Milton's England still could bear a son!

And yet I cannot tread the Portico
And live without desire, fear and pain,
Or nurture that wise calm which long ago
The grave Athenian master taught to men,
Self-poised, self-centred, and self-comforted,
To watch the world's vain phantasies go by with unbowed head.

Alas! that serene brow, those eloquent lips,
Those eyes that mirrored all eternity,
Rest in their own Colonos, an eclipse
Hath come on Wisdom...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...ewd feasts and lewder matings tire 
 Until she woos, in evil hour for her, 
 The wolfhound that shall rend her. His desire 
 Is not for rapine, as the promptings stir 
 Of her base heart; but wisdoms, and devoirs 
 Of manhood, and love's rule, his thoughts prefer. 
 The Italian lowlands he shall reach and save, 
 For which Camilla of old, the virgin brave, 
 Turnus and Nisus died in strife. His chase 
 He shall not cease, nor any cowering-place 
 Her fear shall fi...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...eal, though more than that of servile hands, 
In act alone obeys, his air commands; 
As if 'twas Lara's less than /his/ desire 
That thus he served, but surely not for hire. 
Slight were the tasks enjoin'd him by his lord, 
To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword; 
To tune his lute, or, if he will'd it more, 
On tomes of other times and tongues to pore; 
But ne'er to mingle with the menial train, 
To whom he shew'd not deference nor disdain, 
But that well-worn reserve ...Read More



by St Vincent Millay, Edna
...lgrims,—Herakles,
And he that loved Euridice too well,
Have walked therein; and many more than these;
And witnessed the desire and the despair
Of souls that passed reluctantly and sicken for the air;
You, too, have entered Hell,
And issued thence; but thence whereof I speak
None has returned;—for thither fury brings
Only the driven ghosts of them that flee before all things.
Oblivion is the name of this abode: and she is there."

Oh, radiant Song! Oh, gracious Memory!...Read More

by Milton, John
...off the face of things; in vain, 
'If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes, 
'Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire? 
'In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment 
'Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.' 
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not; 
To find thee I directed then my walk; 
And on, methought, alone I passed through ways 
That brought me on a sudden to the tree 
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed, 
Much fairer to my fancy than by day: 
And...Read More

by Milton, John
...s 
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even, 
Unsucked of lamb or kid, that tend their play. 
To satisfy the sharp desire I had 
Of tasting those fair apples, I resolved 
Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once, 
Powerful persuaders, quickened at the scent 
Of that alluring fruit, urged me so keen. 
About the mossy trunk I wound me soon; 
For, high from ground, the branches would require 
Thy utmost reach or Adam's: Round the tree 
All other beasts that saw, with lik...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...inflate the chest—to roll the thunder of the voice out from the ribs and throat, 
To make the people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself,
To lead America—to quell America with a great tongue. 

O the joy of my soul leaning pois’d on itself—receiving identity through
 materials,
 and loving them—observing characters, and absorbing them; 
O my soul, vibrated back to me, from them—from facts, sight, hearing, touch, my
 phrenology, reason, articulation, comparison, memor...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...eds and birds all over, 
And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,
And call anything close again, when I desire it. 

In vain the speeding or shyness; 
In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach; 
In vain the mastodon retreats beneath its own powder’d bones; 
In vain objects stand leagues off, and assume manifold shapes;
In vain the ocean settling in hollows, and the great monsters lying low; 
In vain the buzzard houses hersel...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

"Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?"

Even as she spoke she was not,
Nor any word said he,
He only heard, still as he stood
Under the old night's nodding hood,
The sea-folk breaking down the woo...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...cy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor,
Now- now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and f...Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
...eescore years or past.
1.23 Next, youth came up in gorgeous attire
1.24 (As that fond age, doth most of all desire),
1.25 His Suit of Crimson, and his Scarf of Green.
1.26 In's countenance, his pride quickly was seen.
1.27 Garland of Roses, Pinks, and Gillyflowers
1.28 Seemed to grow on's head (bedew'd with showers).
1.29 His face as fresh, as is Aurora fair,
1.30 When blushing first, she 'gins to red the Air.
1.31 No wo...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...anifest
In love's self-answering and awakening smile;
Whereby the lips in wonder reconcile
Passion with peace, and show desire at rest,--
A grace of silence by the Greek unguesst,
That bloom'd to immortalize the Tuscan style 
When first the angel-song that faith hath ken'd
Fancy pourtray'd, above recorded oath
Of Israel's God, or light of poem pen'd;
The very countenance of plighted troth
'Twixt heaven and earth, where in one moment blend
The hope of one and happiness of both...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...blameless King, 
"Gawain, and blinder unto holy things 
Hope not to make thyself by idle vows, 
Being too blind to have desire to see. 
But if indeed there came a sign from heaven, 
Blessd are Bors, Lancelot and Percivale, 
For these have seen according to their sight. 
For every fiery prophet in old times, 
And all the sacred madness of the bard, 
When God made music through them, could but speak 
His music by the framework and the chord; 
And as ye saw it ye have sp...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...nce,
And art a knight, a worthy and an able,
That by some cas*, since fortune is changeable, *chance
Thou may'st to thy desire sometime attain.
But I that am exiled, and barren
Of alle grace, and in so great despair,
That there n'is earthe, water, fire, nor air,
Nor creature, that of them maked is,
That may me helpe nor comfort in this,
Well ought I *sterve in wanhope* and distress. *die in despair*
Farewell my life, my lust*, and my gladness. *pleasure
Alas, *why...Read More

by Blake, William
...umference of Energy.
Energy is Eternal Delight
_______________________________________

PLATE 5

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough
to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place &
governs the unwilling.
And being restraind it by degrees becomes passive till it is
only the shadow of desire.
The history of this is written in Paradise Lost. & the Governor
or Reason is call'd Messiah.
And the original Archangel or ...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...e-cloth! 

"Say, can thy noble spirit stoop
To join the gormandising troup
Who find a solace in the soup? 

"Canst thou desire or pie or puff?
Thy well-bred manners were enough,
Without such gross material stuff." 

"Yet well-bred men," he faintly said,
"Are not willing to be fed:
Nor are they well without the bread." 

Her visage scorched him ere she spoke:
"There are," she said, "a kind of folk
Who have no horror of a joke. 

"Such wretches live: they take their...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...our mortal day--
And why God made irreconcilable
Good & the means of good; and for despair
I half disdained mine eye's desire to fill
With the spent vision of the times that were
And scarce have ceased to be . . . "Dost thou behold,"
Said then my guide, "those spoilers spoiled, Voltaire,
"Frederic, & Kant, Catherine, & Leopold,
Chained hoary anarch, demagogue & sage
Whose name the fresh world thinks already old--
"For in the battle Life & they did wage
She remain...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
..."

I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD
 April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine ...Read More

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