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Famous Dirge Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Carroll, Lewis
...There are certain things--as, a spider, a ghost,
 The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three--
That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most
 Is a thing they call the Sea.

Pour some salt water over the floor--
 Ugly I'm sure you'll allow it to be:
Suppose it extended a mile or more,
 That's very like the Sea.

Beat a dog till it howls outright-...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...The warm sun is falling, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying,
And the Year
On the earth is her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead,
Is lying.
Come, Months, come away,
From November to May,
In your saddest array;
Follow the bier
Of the dead cold Year,
And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.

The ...Read More

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
No longer slaves, but comrades of their griefs, 
The squaws augment the forces of their chiefs.
They chant weird dirges in a minor key, 
While from the narrow door of wigwam and tepee

Cold glittering eyes above cold glittering steel
Their deadly purpose and their hate reveal.
The click of pistols and the crack of guns
Proclaim war's daughters dangerous as her sons.
She who would wield the soldier's sword and lance
Must be prepared to take the sold...Read More

by Corso, Gregory
...(on whom were visited 
Follies and sins not thine), whereat the world, 
Heartless howe'er it be, will pause to sing 
A dirge, to breathe a sigh, a wreath to fling 
Of rosemary and rue with bay-leaves curled. 
Enmeshed in toils ambitious, not thine own, 
Immortal, loved boy-Prince, thou tak'st thy stand 
With early doomed Don Carlos, hand in hand 
With mild-browed Arthur, Geoffrey's murdered son. 
Louis the Dauphin lifts his thorn-ringed head, 
And welcomes thee, his ...Read More

by Shakespeare, William
...URNS and odours bring away! 
 Vapours, sighs, darken the day! 
Our dole more deadly looks than dying; 
 Balms and gums and heavy cheers, 
 Sacred vials fill'd with tears, 
And clamours through the wild air flying! 

 Come, all sad and solemn shows, 
 That are quick-eyed Pleasure's foes! 
 We convent naught else but woes....Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...with a mournful sound, like the voice of a vast congregation,
Solemnly answered the sea, and mingled its roar with the dirges.
'T was the returning tide, that afar from the waste of the ocean,
With the first dawn of the day, came heaving and hurrying landward.
Then recommenced once more the stir and noise of embarking;
And with the ebb of the tide the ships sailed out of the harbor,
Leaving behind them the dead on the shore, and the village in

PART THE ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...r in front, bearing a bright sword in thy
Now ending well in death the splendid fever of thy deeds, 
(I bring no dirge for it or thee, I bring a glad triumphal sonnet,) 
Desperate and glorious, aye in defeat most desperate, most glorious, 
After thy many battles in which never yielding up a gun or a color 
Leaving behind thee a memory sweet to soldiers,
Thou yieldest up thyself....Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...e! let the burial rite be read- the funeral song be sung!-
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her- that she died!
How shall the ritual, then, be read?- the requiem how be sung
By you- by yours, the evil eye,- by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...M?nad, ev'n from the dim verge 
Of the horizon to the zenith's height¡ª 
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge 
Of the dying year, to which this closing night 
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre, 25 
Vaulted with all thy congregated might 
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere 
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst:¡ªO hear! 

Thou who didst waken from his summer-dreams 
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, 30 
Lull'd by the coil of his crysta...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...of women—the wounded groaning in agony, 
The hiss and crackle of flames—the blacken’d ruins—the embers of cities, 
The dirge and desolation of mankind.) 

Now airs antique and medieval fill me! 
I see and hear old harpers with their harps, at Welsh festivals:
I hear the minnesingers, singing their lays of love, 
I hear the minstrels, gleemen, troubadours, of the feudal ages. 

Now the great organ sounds, 
Tremulous—while underneath, (as the hid footholds of the e...Read More

by Whittier, John Greenleaf
...corner for the rustic Muse 
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain, 
Its record, mingling in a breath 
The wedding bell and dirge of death: 
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale, 
The latest culprit sent to jail; 
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost, 
Its vendue sales and goods at cost, 
And traffic calling loud for gain. 
We felt the stir of hall and street, 
The pulse of life that round us beat; 
The chill embargo of the snow 
Was melted in the genial glow; 
Wide swung again o...Read More

by Hugo, Victor
 O'er the face of the hills, o'er the face of the seas, 
 O'er streamlets of silver, and forests that ring 
 With a dirge for the dead, chanted low by the breeze; 
 The face of the waters, the brow of the mounts 
 Deep scarred but not shrivelled, and woods tufted green, 
 Their youth shall renew; and the rocks to the founts 
 Shall yield what these yielded to ocean their queen. 
 But day by day bending still lower my head, 
 Still chilled in the sunlight, soon I sha...Read More

by Lazarus, Emma
...burden, and return forlorn. 
Oh, bliss! oh, anguish! Mortals, Love is born! 


Hark! from unfathomable deeps a dirge 
Swells sobbing through the melancholy air: 
Where love has entered, Death is also there. 
The wail outrings the chafed, tumultuous surge; 
Ocean and earth, the illimitable skies, 
Prolong one note, a mourning for the dead, 
The cry of souls not to be comforted. 
What piercing music! Funeral visions rise, 
And send the hot tears raining down ou...Read More

by Stevens, Wallace
...bber of tom-toms harrowing the sky? 
421 Scrawl a tragedian's testament? Prolong 
422 His active force in an inactive dirge, 
423 Which, let the tall musicians call and call, 
424 Should merely call him dead? Pronounce amen 
425 Through choirs infolded to the outmost clouds? 
426 Because he built a cabin who once planned 
427 Loquacious columns by the ructive sea? 
428 Because he turned to salad-beds again? 
429 Jovial Crispin, in calamitous crape? 
430 Should he la...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von
...And high the blood his kiss once fevered springs.

Thee, Francis, Francis, league on league, shall follow
The death-dirge of the Lucy once so dear;
From yonder steeple dismal, dull, and hollow,
Shall knell the warning horror on thy ear.
On thy fresh leman's lips when love is dawning,
And the lisped music glides from that sweet well--
Lo, in that breast a red wound shall be yawning,
And, in the midst of rapture, warn of hell!

Betrayer, what! thy soul relentless closin...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...proud march which victors tread
     Sinks in the wailing for the dead.
     O, well for me, if mine alone
     That dirge's deep prophetic tone!
     If, as my tuneful fathers said,
     This harp, which erst Saint Modan swayed,
     Can thus its master's fate foretell,
     Then welcome be the minstrel's knell.'

     'But ah! dear lady, thus it sighed,
     The eve thy sainted mother died;
     And such the sounds which, while I strove
     To wake ...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von
...realm of day
May warm them into bloom!

From the steeple
Tolls the bell,
Deep and heavy,
The death-knell!
Guiding with dirge-note--solemn, sad, and slow,
To the last home earth's weary wanderers know.
It is that worshipped wife--
It is that faithful mother!
Whom the dark prince of shadows leads benighted,
From that dear arm where oft she hung delighted
Far from those blithe companions, born
Of her, and blooming in their morn;
On whom, when couched her heart above,
So oft...Read More

by Warton, Thomas shouts, that through th' illumined 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 persua...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...unclean are purified, 
By me the souls of men washed white again; 
E'en the unlovely tombs of those who died 
Without a dirge, I cleanse from every stain. 


I Martius am! Once first, and now the third! 
To lead the Year was my appointed place; 
A mortal dispossessed me by a word, 
And set there Janus with the double face. 
Hence I make war on all the human race; 
I shake the cities with my hurricanes; 
I flood the rivers and their banks efface, 
And drown the f...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
 "che l'aura eterna facevan tremare."
68. A phenomenon which I have often noticed.
74. Cf. the Dirge in Webster's White Devil .
76. V. Baudelaire, Preface to Fleurs du Mal.
77. Cf. Antony and Cleopatra, II. ii., l. 190.
92. Laquearia. V. Aeneid, I. 726:
 dependent lychni laquearibus aureis incensi, et
noctem flammis
98. Sylvan scene. V. Mi...Read More

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