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Famous On The Whole Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Browning, Robert
...not having in readiness 
Their nomenclature and philosophy: 
He said true things, but called them by wrong names. 
"On the whole," he thought, "I justify myself 
"On every point where cavillers like this 
"Oppugn my life: he tries one kind of fence, 
"I close, he's worsted, that's enough for him. 
"He's on the ground: if ground should break away 
"I take my stand on, there's a firmer yet 
"Beneath it, both of us may sink and reach. 
"His ground was over mine and b...Read More

by Berryman, John
I never cared for fifty, when nothing got done.
The hospitals were fun
in certain ways, and an honour or so,
but on the whole fifty was a mess as though
heavy clubs from below

and from—God save the bloody mark—above
were loosed upon his skull & soles. O love,
what was you loafing of
that fifty put you off, out & away,
leaving the pounding, horrid sleep by day,
nights naught but fits. I pray

the opening decade contravene its promise
to be as bad as all the...Read More

by Berryman, John
but this is a bad story.

He had fine stories and was another man
in private; difficult, always. Courteous,
on the whole, in private.
He apologize to Henry, off & on,
for two blue slanders; which was good of him.
I don't know how he made it.

Quickly, off stage with all but kindness, now.
I can't say what I have in mind. Bless Frost,
any odd god around.
Gentle his shift, I decussate & command,
stoic deity. For a while here we possessed
...Read More

by Berryman, John
...Plop, plop. The lobster toppled in the pot,
fulfilling, dislike man, his destiny,
glowing fire-red,
succulent, and on the whole becoming what
man wants. I crack my final claw singly,
wind up the grave, & to bed.

—Sound good, Mr Bones. I wish I had me some.
(I spose you got a lessen up your slave.)
—O no no no.
Sole I remember; where no lobster swine,—
pots hot or cold is none. With you I grieve
lightly, and I have no lesson.

Bodies...Read More

by Larkin, Philip through those these disquieting chaps who loll
At ease about your earlier days:
Not quite your class, I'd say, dear, on the whole.

But o, photography! as no art is,
Faithful and disappointing! that records
Dull days as dull, and hold-it smiles as frauds,
And will not censor blemishes
Like washing-lines, and Hall's-Distemper boards,

But shows a cat as disinclined, and shades
A chin as doubled when it is, what grace
Your candour thus confers upon her face!
How overwhel...Read More

by Lehman, David
...least of all,
Certainly more,
Which is to say
In ever other respect

But then perhaps
And though
On the whole

In contrast
And even
Partly because
And partly because
Yet it must be said.

Even more significantly, perhaps
In other words
With and with,
Whichever way
One thing is clear
Beyond the shadow of a doubt....Read More

by Milton, John
...f what was urged 
Main reason to persuade immediate war 
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast 
Ominous conjecture on the whole success; 
When he who most excels in fact of arms, 
In what he counsels and in what excels 
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair 
And utter dissolution, as the scope 
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. 
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled 
With armed watch, that render all access 
Impregnable: oft on the boderin...Read More

by Larkin, Philip
...s specially-chosen junk,
The good books, the good bed,
And my life, in perfect order:
So to hear it said

He walked out on the whole crowd
Leaves me flushed and stirred,
Like Then she undid her dress
Or Take that you bastard;
Surely I can, if he did?
And that helps me to stay
Sober and industrious.
But I'd go today,

Yes, swagger the nut-strewn roads,
Crouch in the fo'c'sle
Stubbly with goodness, if 
It weren't so artificial,
Such a deliberate step backwards
To create an ...Read More

by Butler, Ellis Parker
...dered what my wife would say:
I knew she would have some sharp reply
If I let her know I was one leg shy,
So I thought, on the whole, ’twould be just as well
For my peace of mind if I didn’t tell.

Well, that was the first thing in my life
That I kept a secret from my wife.
And for eight long months I was in distress
To think that I didn’t dare confess,
And I’d probably still feel just that way
If it hadn’t come ’round to Christmas Day.

Well, in good old customs ...Read More

by Lindsay, Vachel
...[They walk backward haughtily, laughing on the last lines.]

Laughing aloud
For ten thousand years.

[From here on the whole production to be much more solemn, elevated, religious.]


King Solomon he had four hundred shepherds.

[The leaders go forward to the footlights carrying imaginary torches.]


We were the shepherds. 

[The man and woman pause at the footlights.]


You shall have torches bright, 

...Read More

by Jeffers, Robinson
...h my bones were with theirs.
But that's a foolish thing to confess, and a little cowardly. We know that life
Is on the whole quite equally good and bad, mostly gray neutral, and can 
 be endured
To the dim end, no matter what magic of grass, water and precipice, and 
 pain of wounds,
Makes death look dear. We have been given life and have used it--not a 
 great gift perhaps--but in honesty
Should use it all. Mine's empty since my love died--Empty? The flame-
 ...Read More

by Swinburne, Algernon Charles
...If thunder could be without lightning, lightning could be without thunder. 

Doubt is faith in the main; but faith, on the whole, is doubt; 
We cannot believe by proof; but could we believe without? 

Why, and whither, and how? for barley and rye are not clover; 
Neither are straight lines curves; yet over is under and over. 

Two and two may be four; but four and four are not eight; 
Fate and God may be twain; but God is the same as fate. 

Ask a man what he thin...Read More

by Field, Eugene
Mile after mile to bumpville!

Perhaps you'll observe it's no easy thing
Making the journey to Bumpville,
So I think, on the whole, it were prudent to bring
An end to this ride to Bumpville;
For, though she has uttered no protest or plaint,
The calico mare must be blowing and faint -
What's more to the point, I'm blowed if I ain't!
So play we have got to Bumpville!...Read More

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