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Famous Nothings Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Killigrew, Anne
...FArewel ye Unsubstantial Joyes, 
Ye Gilded Nothings, Gaudy Toyes, 
Too long ye have my Soul misled, 
Too long with Aiery Diet fed: 
But now my Heart ye shall no more
Deceive, as you have heretofore: 
For when I hear such Sirens sing, 
Like Ithaca's fore-warned King, 
With prudent Resolution I
Will so my Will and Fancy tye, 
That stronger to the Mast not he,
Than I to Reason bound will be: 
And though...Read More



by Frost, Robert
...vantage of him shamefully, 
And proud, too, of themselves for doing so. 
We have four here to board, great good-for-nothings, 
Sprawling about the kitchen with their talk 
While I fry their bacon. Much they care! 
No more put out in what they do or say 
Than if I wasn't in the room at all. 
Coming and going all the time, they are: 
I don't learn what their names are, let alone 
Their characters, or whether they are safe 
To have inside the house with doors unlocke...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...y visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit's knife
Invulnerable nothings. -We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men miscall delight,
Can touch him not and torture not again;
From the contagion of t...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...Court.
Some by Old Words to Fame have made Pretence;
Ancients in Phrase, meer Moderns in their Sense!
Such labour'd Nothings, in so strange a Style,
Amaze th'unlearn'd, and make the Learned Smile.
Unlucky, as Fungoso in the Play,
These Sparks with aukward Vanity display
What the Fine Gentleman wore Yesterday!
And but so mimick ancient Wits at best,
As Apes our Grandsires in their Doublets treat.
In Words, as Fashions, the same Rule will hold;
Alike Fantastick, if ...Read More

by Lawson, Henry
...nglishwomen could. 

..... 

By verdant swath and ivied wall 
The congregation's seen -- 
White nothings where the shadows fall, 
Black blots against the green. 
The dull, suburban people meet 
And buzz in little groups, 
While down the white steps to the street 
A quaint old figure stoops. 

And then along my picket fence 
Where staring wallflowers grow -- 
World-wise Old Age, and Common-sense! -- 
Black Bonnet, nodding slow. 
But not alon...Read More



by Arnold, Matthew
...t, is well--but 't#is not true!
And then we will no more be rack'd
With inward striving, and demand
Of all the thousand nothings of the hour
Their stupefying power;
Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call!
Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,
From the soul's subterranean depth upborne
As from an infinitely distant land,
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey
A melancholy into all our day.
Only--but this is rare--
When a belov{'e}d hand is laid in ours,
When...Read More

by Keats, John
...asts,
Save of blown self-applause, they proudly mount
To their spirit's perch, their being's high account,
Their tiptop nothings, their dull skies, their thrones--
Amid the fierce intoxicating tones
Of trumpets, shoutings, and belabour'd drums,
And sudden cannon. Ah! how all this hums,
In wakeful ears, like uproar past and gone--
Like thunder clouds that spake to Babylon,
And set those old Chaldeans to their tasks.--
Are then regalities all gilded masks?
No, there are...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...etimes I am fearing lest in the end
I play the tedious orator who maundereth on
for lack of heart to make an end of his nothings.
Wherefor as when a runner who hath run his round
handeth his staff away, and is glad of his rest,
here break I off, knowing the goal was not for me
the while I ran on telling of what cannot be told.

For not the Muse herself can tell of Goddes love;
which cometh to the child from the Mother's embrace,
an Idea spacious as the starry firmamen...Read More

by Smart, Christopher
...br> 

For innumerable ciphers will amount to something. 

For the mind of man cannot bear a tedious accumulation of nothings without effect. 

For infinite upon infinite they make a chain. 

For the last link is from man very nothing ascending to the first Christ the Lord of All. 

For the vowell is the female spirit in the Hebrew consonant. 

For there are more letters in all languages not communicated. 

For there are some that have the power of sent...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...dges,
Palled beneath man's usurpature.

XXIV.

So we o'ershroud stars and roses,
Cherub and trophy and garland;
Nothings grow something which quietly closes
Heaven's earnest eye: not a glimpse of the far land
Gets through our comments and glozes.

XXV.

Ah but traditions, inventions,
(Say we and make up a visage)
So many men with such various intentions,
Down the past ages, must know more than this age!
Leave we the web its dimensions!

XXVI.

Who thinks H...Read More

by Trumbull, John
...rge and realms infernal
One spaniel, but the mongrel, Arnold.


"'Twere vain to paint, in vision'd show,
The mighty nothings done by Howe;
What towns he takes in mortal fray,
As stations whence to run away;
What triumphs gain'd in conflict warm,
No aid to us, to them no harm;
For still th' event alike is fatal,
Whate'er success attend the battle,
Whether he vict'ry gain or lose it,
Who ne'er had skill enough to use it.
And better 'twere, at their expense,
T' have drub...Read More

by Sandburg, Carl
...wn muttering “hot-dog” to the night watchmen:
Is there a spieler who has spoken the word or taken the number of night’s nothings? am I the spieler? or you?

Is there a tired head
the night has not fed and rested
and kept on its neck and shoulders?

Is there a wish
of man to woman
and woman to man
the night has not written
and signed its name under?

Does the night forget
as a woman forgets?
and remember
as a woman remembers?

Who gave the night
this head of hair,
this gipsy h...Read More

by Thomas, Dylan
...the gunman and his moll
Two one-dimensional ghosts, love on a reel,
Strange to our solid eye,
And speak their midnight nothings as they swell;
When cameras shut they hurry to their hole
down in the yard of day.

They dance between their arclamps and our skull,
Impose their shots, showing the nights away;
We watch the show of shadows kiss or kill
Flavoured of celluloid give love the lie.

III

Which is the world? Of our two sleepings, which
Shall fall awake when cures...Read More

by Yeats, William Butler
...s a lie
Bred out of the c-ontagion of the throng,
Saving the rhyme rats hear before they die.
Leave nothing but the nothingS that belong
To this bare soul, let all men judge that can
Whether it be an animal or a man.

 II

The rest I pass, one sentence I unsay.
Had de Valera eaten parnell's heart
No loose-lipped demagogue had won the day.
No civil rancour torn the land apart.

Had Cosgrave eaten parnell's heart, the land's
Imagination had been satisfied,
O...Read More

by Levy, Amy
...hem throbbings of a secret shame.
But before the flow'ry terrace, where the ladies smiling sat,
With their graceful nothings trifling all the weary time away,
Low Lord Gaston bowed, and raising high his richly 'broider'd hat,
'Fairest ladies, give us welcome! 'Twas a famous hunt to-day.'...Read More

by Poe, Edgar Allan
...the sea-
Its joy- its little lot of pain
That was new pleasure- the ideal,
Dim vanities of dreams by night-

And dimmer nothings which were real-
(Shadows- and a more shadowy light!)
Parted upon their misty wings,
And, so, confusedly, became
Thine image, and- a name- a name!
Two separate- yet most intimate things.

I was ambitious- have you known
The passion, father? You have not:
A cottager, I mark'd a throne
Of half the world as all my own,
And murmur'd at such lowly lo...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
...s divinest thought
Is coloured by the world he knows and sees.
The little intimate things of every day,
The trivial nothings that we think not of,
These go to make a part of each man's life;
As much a part as do the larger thoughts
He takes account of. Nay, the little things
Of daily life it is which mold, and shape,
And make him apt for noble deeds and true.
And as we read some much-loved masterpiece,
Read it as long ago the author read,
With eyes that brimmed wi...Read More

by Arnold, Matthew
...t, is well--but 't#is not true!
And then we will no more be rack'd
With inward striving, and demand
Of all the thousand nothings of the hour
Their stupefying power;
Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call!
Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,
From the soul's subterranean depth upborne
As from an infinitely distant land,
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey
A melancholy into all our day.
Only--but this is rare--
When a belov{'e}d hand is laid in ours,
When...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...' 
Whereat Geraint flashed into sudden spleen: 
'A thousand pips eat up your sparrow-hawk! 
****, wrens, and all winged nothings peck him dead! 
Ye think the rustic cackle of your bourg 
The murmur of the world! What is it to me? 
O wretched set of sparrows, one and all, 
Who pipe of nothing but of sparrow-hawks! 
Speak, if ye be not like the rest, hawk-mad, 
Where can I get me harbourage for the night? 
And arms, arms, arms to fight my enemy? Speak!' 
Whereat the armourer tu...Read More

by Blake, William
...and has not Jesus Christ given his sanction to the law of
ten commandments and are not all other men fools, sinners, &
nothings?
The Devil answer'd; bray a fool in a morter with wheat. yet
shall not his folly be beaten out of him: if Jesus Christ is the
greatest man, you ought to love him in the greatest degree; now
hear how he has given his sanction to the law of ten
commandments: did he not mock at the sabbath, and so mock the
sabbaths God? murder those who were murder...Read More

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