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Famous Dramatic Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Lehman, David along
 to their children.
Have they done as much as they could to keep the old embers
Others lead more dramatic lives.
A few go to Israel.
One of them calls Israel "the ultimate concentration camp."
He tells Jewish jokes.
On the plane he gets tipsy, tries to seduce the stewardess.
People in the Midwest keep telling him reminds them of Woody
He wonders what that means. I'm funny? A sort of nervous
 intellectual type from New...Read More

by Milton, John
...What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones
The labor of an age in piled stones?
Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of Fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a livelong monument.
For whilst, to th' shame of...Read More

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
...e breast.
A curious product of unhappy times, 
The natural offspring of unnumbered crimes, 
He used low cunning and dramatic arts
To startle and surprise those crude untutored hearts.

Out from the lodges pour a motley throng, 
Slow measures chanting of a dirge-like song.
In one great circle dizzily they swing, 
A squaw and chief alternate in the ring.
Coarse raven locks stream over robes of white, 
Their deep set orbs emit a lurid light, 
And as thr...Read More

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
...[This song was intended to be introduced in 
a dramatic poem entitled Mahomet, the plan of which was not carried 
out by Goethe. He mentions that it was to have been sung by Ali 
towards the end of the piece, in honor of his master, Mahomet, shortly 
before his death, and when at the height of his glory, of which 
it is typical.]

SEE the rock-born stream!
Like the gleam
Of a star so bright
Kindl...Read More

by Milton, John
...Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is call'd Tragedy.

TRAGEDY, as it was antiently compos'd, hath been ever held the
gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other Poems:
therefore said by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear,
or terror, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is
to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind ...Read More

by Service, Robert William
...ow night after night
She'd learned him each line of that ballad with patience and pride and glee;
With gesture and tone dramatic, she'd taught him how to recite...
And now at the last to fail him - no, it must never be.

A moment! It seemed like ages. Why was Billie so slow?
He stammered. Twice he repeated: "The Lady that's known as Lou -"
The kiddy was stuck and she knew it. Her face was frantic with woe.
Could she but come to his rescue? Coul...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
...e far superior to that of mere description: it is spoken in the character of the melancholy Man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The Author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his Bible.]   When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs  Beside a 'brook in mossy...Read More

by Bishop, Elizabeth
...cut so badly--
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed 
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
--I...Read More

by Voznesensky, Andrei
 The shivering shoulders in darkness, why trouble her?... 
 Your rings in the dark Universe were dramatic, 
 and like an antenna, straight and elastic. 

 Meanwhile I'm flying 
 to land here because 
 I hear your earthly and shivering calls. 

 It doesn't come easy with a parabola!.. 
 For wiping prediction, tradition, preamble off 
 Art, History, Love and ?esthetics 
 to take parabolical paths, as it were! 

 He leaves for Sibe...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...orter and Sir Herbert Tree, 
Lord Rothschild and Lord Rosebery, 
And F.C.G. and Comyn Carr 
Two dukes and a dramatic star, 
Also a clergy man now dead; 
And while the vain world careless sped 
Unheeding the heroic name -- 
The souls most fed with Shakespeare's flame 
Still sat unconquered in a ring, 
Remembering him like anything. 

Lord Lilac did not long remain, 
Lord Lilac did not some again. 
He softly lit a cigarette 
And sought some other social set ...Read More

by Thomas, Dylan
...wise scene
Wound like a ball of lakes
Then threw on that tide-hoisted screen
Love's image till my heartbone breaks
By a dramatic sea.

Who kills my history?
The year-hedged row is lame with flint,
Blunt scythe and water blade.
'Who could snap off the shapeless print
From your to-morrow-treading shade
With oracle for eye?'
Time kills me terribly.
'Time shall not murder you,' He said,
'Nor the green nought be hurt;
Who could hack out your unsucked heart,
O green and...Read More

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
...nificent sketch of Prometheus, 
which forms part of an unfinished piece bearing the same name, and 
called by Goethe a 'Dramatic Fragment.'


 [These three Odes are addressed to a certain 
Behrisch, who was tutor to Count Lindenau, and of whom Goethe gives 
an odd account at the end of the Seventh Book of his Autobiography.]


TRANSPLANT the beauteous tree!
Gardener, it gives me pain;
A happier resting-place
Its trunk deserved.

Y...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...and Crisis of Psychoanalysis in the United States’ 

So I went out with West Yorkshire on a Friday night.

Nothing dramatic happened; perhaps I’m a little too used

To acute wards or worse where chairs fly across rooms,

Windows disintegrate and double doors are triple locked

And every nurse carries a white panic button and black pager

To pinpoint the moment’s crisis. Normality was a bit of adrenaline,

A wild therapy that drew me in, sanity had won the night.
...Read More

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