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Famous False Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shakespeare, William
...to curious secrecy.

These often bathed she in her fluxive eyes,
And often kiss'd, and often 'gan to tear:
Cried 'O false blood, thou register of lies,
What unapproved witness dost thou bear!
Ink would have seem'd more black and damned here!'
This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,
Big discontent so breaking their contents.

A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh--
Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest ...Read More



by Pope, Alexander
..., are drawn right.
But as the slightest Sketch, if justly trac'd,
Is by ill Colouring but the more disgrac'd,
So by false Learning is good Sense defac'd.
Some are bewilder'd in the Maze of Schools,
And some made Coxcombs Nature meant but Fools.
In search of Wit these lose their common Sense,
And then turn Criticks in their own Defence.
Each burns alike, who can, or cannot write,
Or with a Rival's or an Eunuch's spite.
All Fools have still an Itching to der...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...lled much that any lad so beautiful could seem,

Nor deemed him born of mortals, and one said,
'It is young Hylas, that false runaway
Who with a Naiad now would make his bed
Forgetting Herakles,' but others, 'Nay,
It is Narcissus, his own paramour,
Those are the fond and crimson lips no woman can allure.'

And when they nearer came a third one cried,
'It is young Dionysos who has hid
His spear and fawnskin by the river side
Weary of hunting with the Bassarid,
And wise ind...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...sky, 
 In the late years of Julius born, and bred 
 In Mantua, till my youthful steps were led 
 To Rome, where yet the false gods lied to man; 
 And when the great Augustan age began, 
 I wrote the tale of Ilium burnt, and how 
 Anchises' son forth-pushed a venturous prow, 
 Seeking unknown seas. But in what mood art thou 
 To thus return to all the ills ye fled, 
 The while the mountain of thy hope ahead 
 Lifts into light, the source and cause of all 
 Delectable thing...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ay, and answer here 
To one, who, wert thou noble, were thy peer, 
But as thou wast and art — nay, frown not, lord, 
If false, 'tis easy to disprove the word — 
But as thou wast and art, on thee looks down, 
Distrusts thy smiles, but shakes not at thy frown. 
Art thou not he? whose deeds — " 

"Whate'er I be, 
Words wild as these, accusers like to thee, 
I list no further; those with whom they weigh 
May hear the rest, nor venture to gainsay 
The wondrous tale no doubt th...Read More



by Hughes, Langston
...crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark? 
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the ***** beari...Read More

by Milton, John
...l and humane. 
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed 
For dignity composed, and high exploit. 
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue 
Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low-- 
 To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds 
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear, 
And with persuasive accent thus began:-- 
 "I should be much for open war, O Peers, 
As not ...Read More

by Milton, John
...s new commands, 
Who speedily through all the hierarchies 
Intends to pass triumphant, and give laws. 
So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infused 
Bad influence into the unwary breast 
Of his associate: He together calls, 
Or several one by one, the regent Powers, 
Under him Regent; tells, as he was taught, 
That the Most High commanding, now ere night, 
Now ere dim night had disincumbered Heaven, 
The great hierarchal standard was to move; 
Tells the suggested cause, and...Read More

by Milton, John
...The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare; 
Or daring, first on me the assault shall light. 
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn; 
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce 
Angels; nor think superfluous other's aid. 
I, from the influence of thy looks, receive 
Access in every virtue; in thy sight 
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were 
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on, 
Shame to be overcome or over-reached, 
Would utmost vigour rai...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...likewise counsel for himself,
Too often, in that silent court of yours--
"With all his conscience and one eye askew,
So false, he partly took himself for true;
Whose pious talk, when most his heart was dry,
Made wet the crafty crowsfoot round his eye;
Who, never naming God except for gain,
So never took that useful name in vain;
Made Him his catspaw and the Cross his tool,
And Christ the bait to trap his dupe and fool;
Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he forged,
And snak...Read More

by Ashbery, John
...br>
We see only postures of the dream,
Riders of the motion that swings the face
Into view under evening skies, with no
False disarray as proof of authenticity.
But it is life englobed.
One would like to stick one's hand
Out of the globe, but its dimension,
What carries it, will not allow it.
No doubt it is this, not the reflex
To hide something, which makes the hand loom large
As it retreats slightly. There is no way
To build it flat like a section of wall:
I...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...ep near you, their repose;
Though for all anyone can tell, repose
May be the thing you haven’t, yet you give it.
So false it is that what we haven’t we can’t give;
So false, that what we always say is true.
I’ll have to turn the leaf if no one else will.
It won’t lie down. Then let it stand. Who cares?”

“I shouldn’t want to hurry you, Meserve,
But if you’re going— Say you’ll stay, you know?
But let me raise this curtain on a scene,
And show you how it’s p...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...my joy, my bliss:
Think of my sorrow, my despair and ruth,
My sheer annihilation if I miss:
Think--if thou shouldst be false--think of thy truth. 

55
These meagre rhymes, which a returning mood
Sometimes o'errateth, I as oft despise;
And knowing them illnatured, stiff and rude,
See them as others with contemptuous eyes.
Nay, and I wonder less at God's respect
For man, a minim jot in time and space,
Than at the soaring faith of His elect,
That gift of gifts, the comf...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...

"You may charge me with murder--or want of sense--
 (We are all of us weak at times):
But the slightest approach to a false pretence
 Was never among my crimes!

"I said it in Hebrew--I said it in Dutch--
 I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
 That English is what you speak!"

"'Tis a pitiful tale," said the Bellman, whose face
 Had grown longer at every word:
"But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
 More debate would be sim...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...That hath not been a duchess or a queen;
Now be we caitives*, as it is well seen: *captives
Thanked be Fortune, and her false wheel,
That *none estate ensureth to be wele*. *assures no continuance of
And certes, lord, t'abiden your presence prosperous estate*
Here in this temple of the goddess Clemence
We have been waiting all this fortenight:
Now help us, lord, since it lies in thy might.

"I, wretched wight, that weep and waile thus,
Was whilom wife to king Capaneus...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...ach brow as gay,
     As if they parted yesterday.
     And doubt distracts him at the view,—
     O were his senses false or true?
     Dreamed he of death or broken vow,
     Or is it all a vision now?
     XXXIV.

     At length, with Ellen in a grove
     He seemed to walk and speak of love;
     She listened with a blush and sigh,
     His suit was warm, his hopes were high.
     He sought her yielded hand to clasp,
     And a cold gauntlet met his grasp:
 ...Read More

by Blake, William
...rd because of him? turn away 
the law from the woman taken in adultery? steal the labor of others 
to support him? bear false witness when he omitted making a defence 
before Pilate? covet when he pray'd for his disciples, and when he 
bid them shake off the dust of their feet against such as refused to
lodge them? I tell you, no virtue can exis without breaking these 
ten commandments: Jesus was all virtue and acted from im[PL 24]pulse: 
not from rules.
When he had so sp...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...ts mysterious doom
"Is not so much more glorious than it was
That I desire to worship those who drew
New figures on its false & fragile glass
"As the old faded."--"Figures ever new
Rise on the bubble, paint them how you may;
We have but thrown, as those before us threw,
"Our shadows on it as it past away.
But mark, how chained to the triumphal chair
The mighty phantoms of an elder day--
"All that is mortal of great Plato there
Expiates the joy & woe his master knew no...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...h and tomb.' 
'Repent'st thou not,' said Michael, 'of some past 
Exaggeration? something which may doom 
Thyself if false, as him if true? Thou wast 
Too bitter — is it not so? — in thy gloom 
Of passion?' — 'Passion!' cried the phantom dim, 
'I loved my country, and I hated him. 

LXXXIV 

'What I have written, I have written: let 
The rest be on his head or mine!' So spoke 
Old 'Nominis Umbra'; and while speaking yet, 
Away he melted in celestial smoke. 
Then Sa...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...s had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face. 

And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead, 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. ...Read More

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