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Famous Elegy Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Swift, Jonathan
...His Grace! impossible! what dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall?
And so inglorious, after all!
Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now:
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old
As by the newspapers we're ...Read More



by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...I weep for Adonais -he is dead!
O, weep for Adonais! though our tears
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!
And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years
To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
And teach them thine own sorrow, say: "With me
Died Adonais; till the Future dares
Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be
An echo and a li...Read More

by Pushkin, Alexander
...The senseless years' extinguished mirth and laughter
Oppress me like some hazy morning-after.
But sadness of days past, as alcohol -
The more it age, the stronger grip the soul.
My course is dull. The future's troubled ocean
Forebodes me toil, misfortune and commotion.

But no, my friends, I do not wish to leave;
I'd rather live, to ponder ...Read More

by Rilke, Rainer Maria
...The First Elegy


Who if I cried out would hear me among the angels'
hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me 
suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed
I that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror which we still are just able to endure
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains
to annihilate us. E...Read More

by Rilke, Rainer Maria
...O trees of life, oh, what when winter comes?
We are not of one mind. Are not like birds
in unison migrating. And overtaken,
overdue, we thrust ourselves into the wind
and fall to earth into indifferent ponds.
Blossoming and withering we comprehend as one.
And somewhere lions roam, quite unaware,
in their magnificence, of any weaknesss.
...Read More



by Byron, George (Lord)
...OH snatch'd away in beauty's bloom! 
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb; 
But on thy turf shall roses rear 
Their leaves the earliest of the year  
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom: 5 

And oft by yon blue gushing stream 
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head  
And feed deep thought with many a dream  
And lingering pause and lightly trea...Read More

by Finch, Annie
...HLF, August 8, 1918—August 22, 1997

“Bequeath us to no earthly shore until
Is answered in the vortex of our grave
The seal’s wide spindrift gaze towards paradise.”
—Hart Crane, “Voyages”

“If a lion could talk, we couldn’t understand it”
—Ludwig Wittgenstein

Under the ocean that stretches out wordlessly
past the long edge of the last human shore,
the...Read More

by Donne, John
...Fond woman, which wouldst have thy husband die,
And yet complain'st of his great jealousy;
If swol'n with poison, he lay in his last bed,
His body with a sere-bark covered,
Drawing his breath, as thick and short, as can
The nimblest crocheting musician,
Ready with loathsome vomiting to spew
His soul out of one hell, into a new,
Made deaf with his poor kind...Read More

by Swift, Jonathan
...Her dead lady's joy and comfort,
Who departed this life
The last day of March, 1727:
To the great joy of Bryan
That his antagonist is gone.

And is poor Tiger laid at last so low?
O day of sorrow! -Day of dismal woe!
Bloodhounds, or spaniels, lap-dogs, 'tis all one,
When Death once whistles -snap! -away they're gone.
See how she lies, and hangs her...Read More

by Gray, Thomas
...plores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th' unlettered Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev...Read More

by Bowers, Edgar
...Every month or so, Sundays, we walked the line,
The limit and the boundary. Past the sweet gum
Superb above the cabin, along the wall—
Stones gathered from the level field nearby
When first we cleared it. (Angry bumblebees
Stung the two mules. They kicked. Thirteen, I ran.)
And then the field: thread-leaf maple, deciduous
Magnolia, hybr...Read More

by Gibran, Kahlil
...tterness of longing and the resolved sweetness of patience, said, "Good-bye, my beloved." 

They separated, and the elegy to their union was smothered by the wails of my crying heart. 

I looked upon slumbering Nature, and with deep reflection discovered the reality of a vast and infinite thing -- something no power could demand, influence acquire, nor riches purchase. Nor could it be effaced by the tears of time or deadened by sorrow; a thing which cannot be disc...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...the best God help the rest...)

At least my Christmas post had - instead of a card

From Jeremy Reed - his ELEGY FOR DAVID GASCOYNE -

The best poem I’ve had by post in forty years

And Jeremy’s best to date in my estimate -

The English APOLLINAIRE - your ZONE, your SONG

OF THE BADLY LOVED - sitting in a cafe in South End Green

I send you this poem, Jeremy, sight unseen,

A new year’s gift to you, pushing through

To star galaxies still unmapped and to you, BW...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, 
the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! 
O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and de...Read More

by Hill, Geoffrey
...ficient, to that end.
Just so much Zyklon and leather, patented
terror, so many routine cries.

(I have made
an elegy for myself it
is true)

September fattens on vines. Roses
flake from the wall. The smoke
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.

This is plenty. This is more than enough....Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...Some things that fly there be --
Birds -- Hours -- the Bumblebee --
Of these no Elegy.

Some things that stay there be --
Grief -- Hills -- Eternity --
Nor this behooveth me.

There are that resting, rise.
Can I expound the skies?
How still the Riddle lies!...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...es;
Even that little weed of ragged red,
Which bids the robin pipe, in Arcady
Would be a trespasser, and many an unsung elegy

Sleeps in the reeds that fringe our winding Thames
Which to awake were sweeter ravishment
Than ever Syrinx wept for; diadems
Of brown bee-studded orchids which were meant
For Cytheraea's brows are hidden here
Unknown to Cytheraea, and by yonder pasturing steer

There is a tiny yellow daffodil,
The butterfly can see it from afar,
Although one summer ev...Read More

by Dickinson, Emily
...sula.
Beauty is nature's fact.

But witness for her land,
And witness for her sea,
The cricket is her utmost
Of elegy to me....Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...dearth 
Of aught but tears — save those shed by collusion. 
For these things may be bought at their true worth; 
Of elegy there was the due infusion — 
Bought also; and the torches, cloaks, and banners, 
Heralds, and relics of old Gothic manners, 

X 

Form'd a sepulchral melo-drame. Of all 
The fools who flack's to swell or see the show, 
Who cared about the corpse? The funeral 
Made the attraction, and the black the woe. 
There throbbed not there a thought which...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...1
WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d, 
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, 
I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. 

O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring; 
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love. 

2
O powerful, western, fa...Read More

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