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Famous Narrative Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Wanek, Connie
...s are possible:
the dog black and white,
the kitten gray.
Under the picture we find a few words,
a title, perhaps a narrative,
a psalm or sermon.
But nowhere do we come upon
a blank page where we might justify
the careless way we scribbled
when we were tired and sad
and could bear no more....Read More



by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...The last tall son of Lot and Bellicent, 
And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful spring 
Stared at the spate. A slender-shafted Pine 
Lost footing, fell, and so was whirled away. 
'How he went down,' said Gareth, 'as a false knight 
Or evil king before my lance if lance 
Were mine to use--O senseless cataract, 
Bearing all down in thy precipitancy-- 
A...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...Queen Guinevere had fled the court, and sat 
There in the holy house at Almesbury 
Weeping, none with her save a little maid, 
A novice: one low light betwixt them burned 
Blurred by the creeping mist, for all abroad, 
Beneath a moon unseen albeit at full, 
The white mist, like a face-cloth to the face, 
Clung to the dead earth, and the land was still....Read More

by Gluck, Louise
...ve trees,
by the clear pools under the cypresses. Time

begins now, in which he hears again
that pulse which is the narrative
sea, ar dawn when its pull is stongest.
What has brought us here
will lead us away; our ship
sways in the tined harbor water.

Now the spell is ended.
Giove him back his life,
sea that can only move forward....Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...Listen, my children, and you shall hear 
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, 
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five: 
Hardly a man is now alive 
Who remembers that famous day and year. 

He said to his friend, "If the British march 
By land or sea from the town to-night, 
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch 
Of the North-Church-tower...Read More



by Whitman, Walt
...cutting away
 of
 masts;

The sentiment of the huge timbers of old-fashion’d houses and barns;
The remember’d print or narrative, the voyage at a venture of men, families, goods, 
The disembarkation, the founding of a new city, 
The voyage of those who sought a New England and found it—the outset anywhere, 
The settlements of the Arkansas, Colorado, Ottawa, Willamette, 
The slow progress, the scant fare, the axe, rifle, saddle-bags;
The beauty of all adventurous and daring p...Read More

by Doty, Mark
...ed. 
The earth was whorled marble, 
at that distance. Even the stuck-on porticoes 
and collonades downtown were narrative, 

somehow, but the buildings my father engineered 
were without stories. All I wanted 
was something larger than our ordinary sadness -- 
greater not in scale but in context, 
memorable, true to a proportioned, 
subtle form. Last year I knew a student, 
a half mad boy who finally opened his arms 

with a razor, not because he wanted to die...Read More

by Cowper, William
...re.
For then, by toil subdued, he drank
The stifling wave, and then he sank.

No poet wept him: but the page
Of narrative sincere;
That tells his name, his worth, his age,
Is wet with Anson's tear.
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalize the dead.

I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme
A more enduring date:
But misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.

No voice divine the ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...Half a league, half a league, 
Half a league onward, 
All in the valley of Death 
Rode the six hundred. 
"Forward, the Light Brigade! 
Charge for the guns!" he said: 
Into the valley of Death 
Rode the six hundred. 

"Forward, the Light Brigade!" 
Was there a man dismayed? 
Not though the soldier knew 
Some one had blundered: 
Their's n...Read More

by Doty, Mark
...we'd lived, boxes everywhere, things
in disarray: that was the story of my dream,
but even asleep I was shocked out of narrative

by your face, the physical fact of your face:
inches from mine, smooth-shaven, loving, alert.
Why so difficult, remembering the actual look
of you? Without a photograph, without strain?

So when I saw your unguarded, reliable face,
your unmistakable gaze opening all the warmth
and clarity of you—warm brown tea—we held
each other for the time t...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...(PETER RONSARD _loquitur_.)

``Heigho!'' yawned one day King Francis,
``Distance all value enhances!
``When a man's busy, why, leisure
``Strikes him as wonderful pleasure:
`` 'Faith, and at leisure once is he?
``Straightway he wants to be busy.
``Here we've got peace; and aghast I'm
``Caught thinking war the true pastime.
``Is there a reason in...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...From noiseful arms, and acts of prowess done 
In tournament or tilt, Sir Percivale, 
Whom Arthur and his knighthood called The Pure, 
Had passed into the silent life of prayer, 
Praise, fast, and alms; and leaving for the cowl 
The helmet in an abbey far away 
From Camelot, there, and not long after, died. 

And one, a fellow-monk among the rest, 
Ambr...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
...The IDIOT BOY.   'Tis eight o'clock,—a clear March night,  The moon is up—the sky is blue,  The owlet in the moonlight air,  He shouts from nobody knows where;  He lengthens out his lonely shout,  Halloo! halloo! a long halloo!   —Why bu...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...Dagonet, the fool, whom Gawain in his mood 
Had made mock-knight of Arthur's Table Round, 
At Camelot, high above the yellowing woods, 
Danced like a withered leaf before the hall. 
And toward him from the hall, with harp in hand, 
And from the crown thereof a carcanet 
Of ruby swaying to and fro, the prize 
Of Tristram in the jousts of yesterday, 
Cam...Read More

by Whittier, John Greenleaf
...GIFT from the cold and silent Past! 
A relic to the present cast, 
Left on the ever-changing strand 
Of shifting and unstable sand, 
Which wastes beneath the steady chime 
And beating of the waves of Time! 
Who from its bed of primal rock 
First wrenched thy dark, unshapely block? 
Whose hand, of curious skill untaught, 
Thy rude and savage outline wrought...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...I
My hair is gray, but not with years,
Nor grew it white
In a single night,
As men's have grown from sudden fears:
My limbs are bow'd, though not with toil,
But rusted with a vile repose,
For they have been a dungeon's spoil,
And mine has been the fate of those
To whom the goodly earth and air
Are bann'd, and barr'd - forbidden fare;
But this was for my fa...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, 
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,¡ª 
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, 
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. 
"'T is some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door; 5 
Only this and nothing more." 

...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...r ceased, ‘the beginning of the end’.

Now, thirty odd years on, I do not know at all, no certainty is certain,

No narrative, however neat, is sure. I know how listlessly we tried

Again in Leeds, a tiny flat with the white telephone that never rang

Next to the Christian Science Church my sad grandmother trekked to with

Her cancer-ridden spine. It was doomed from the start. The previous

Tenants had ended in divorce. If the certain salesman and his glea...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...Paul Jannes was working very late,
For this watch must be done by eight
To-morrow or the Cardinal
Would certainly be vexed. Of all
His customers the old prelate
Was the most important, for his state
Descended to his watches and rings,
And he gave his mistresses many things
To make them forget his age and smile
When he paid visits, and they could while
...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...

And this is not a theologic tract, 
To prove with Hebrew and with Arabic, 
If Job be allegory or a fact, 
But a true narrative; and thus I pick 
From out the whole but such and such an act 
As sets aside the slightest thought of trick. 
'Tis every tittle true, beyond suspicion, 
And accurate as any other vision. 

XXXV 

The spirits were in neutral space, before 
The gates of heaven; like eastern thresholds is 
The place where Death's grand cause is argued o'er, 
A...Read More

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