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Famous Serious Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Plath, Sylvia
...il, the veil.
If it were death

I would admire the deep gravity of it, its timeless eyes.
I would know you were serious.

There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
And the knife not carve, but enter

Pure and clean as the cry of a baby,
And the universe slide from my side....Read More



by Wilmot, John
...g bishop, who would be adored
For domineering at the Council board;

A greater fop, in business at fourscore,
Fonder of serious toys, affected more,
Than the gay, glittering fool at twenty proves,
With all his noise, his tawdry clothes and loves.
But a meek, humble man, of honest sense,
Who preaching peace does practise continence;
Whose pious life's a proof he does believe
Mysterious truths which no man can conceive.

If upon Earth there dwell such god-like men,
I'll...Read More

by Sidney, Sir Philip
...n good, good reason her to loue. 
XI 

In truth, O Loue, with what a boyish kind
Thou doest proceed in thy most serious ways,
That when the heau'n to thee his best displayes,
Yet of that best thou leau'st the best behinde!
For, like a childe that some faire booke doth find,
With gilded leaues or colour'd vellum playes,
Or, at the most, on some fine picture stayes,
But neuer heeds the fruit of Writers mind;
So when thou saw'st, in Natures cabinet,
Stella, thou ...Read More

by Larkin, Philip
...hell? For though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth 
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is 
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet 
Are recognisd and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete 
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious 
And gravitating with it to this ground 
Which he once heard was proper to grow wise in 
If only that so many ...Read More

by Milton, John
...ou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend
The sublime notion and high mystery
That must be uttered to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of Virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
More happiness than this thy present lot.
Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced.
Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
To such ...Read More



by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...dst of the strife and tumult of angry contention,
Lo! the door of the chancel opened, and Father Felician
Entered, with serious mien, and ascended the steps of the altar.
Raising his reverend hand, with a gesture he awed into silence
All that clamorous throng; and thus he spake to his people;
Deep were his tones and solemn; in accents measured and mournful
Spake he, as, after the tocsin's alarum, distinctly the clock strikes.
"What is this that ye do, my children? wha...Read More

by Ginsberg, Allen
...here we are great writers on the same dreadful 
 typewriter 
I'm with you in Rockland 
 where your condition has become serious and 
 is reported on the radio 
I'm with you in Rockland 
 where the faculties of the skull no longer admit 
 the worms of the senses 
I'm with you in Rockland 
 where you drink the tea of the breasts of the 
 spinsters of Utica 
I'm with you in Rockland 
 where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the 
 harpies of the Bronx 
I'm with you in Rockland...Read More

by Keats, John
...old of the west;
Then, as was wont, his palace-door flew ope
In smoothest silence, save what solemn tubes,
Blown by the serious Zephyrs, gave of sweet
And wandering sounds, slow-breathed melodies;
And like a rose in vermeil tint and shape,
In fragrance soft, and coolness to the eye,
That inlet to severe magnificence
Stood full blown, for the God to enter in.

 He enter'd, but he enter'd full of wrath;
His flaming robes stream'd out beyond his heels,
And gave a roar, as if...Read More

by Ashbery, John
...accomplishment of a purpose
Into the smooth, perhaps even bland (but so
Enigmatic) finish. Is there anything
To be serious about beyond this otherness
That gets included in the most ordinary
Forms of daily activity, changing everything
Slightly and profoundly, and tearing the matter 
Of creation, any creation, not just artistic creation
Out of our hands, to install it on some monstrous, near
Peak, too close to ignore, too far
For one to intervene? This otherness, this
"N...Read More

by Goldsmith, Oliver
...
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heaven.
As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skille...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...care:
O love, sweet love, earthly love, love difvine,
Say'st thou to-day, O love, that thou art mine? 

61
The dark and serious angel, who so long
Vex'd his immortal strength in charge of me,
Hath smiled for joy and fled in liberty
To take his pastime with the peerless throng.
Oft had I done his noble keeping wrong,
Wounding his heart to wonder what might be
God's purpose in a soul of such degree;
And there he had left me but for mandate strong. 
But seeing thee with ...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...en grown, I ill could bear
     His haughty mien and lordly air:
     But, if thou join'st a suitor's claim,
     In serious mood, to Roderick's name.
     I thrill with anguish! or, if e'er
     A Douglas knew the word, with fear.
     To change such odious theme were best,—
     What think'st thou of our stranger guest? '—
     XV.

     'What think I of him?—woe the while
     That brought such wanderer to our isle!
     Thy father's battle-brand, of yore
    ...Read More

by Brooks, Gwendolyn
...ore Possibilities, to get
Away. Perhaps the money can be posted.
Perhaps they two may choose another Slum!
Some serious sooty half-unhappy home!--
Where loathe-lover likelier may be invested.
Keeping their scented bodies in the center
Of the hall as they walk down the hysterical hall,
They allow their lovely skirts to graze no wall,
Are off at what they manage of a canter,
And, resuming all the clues of what they were,
Try to avoid inhaling the laden air....Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...n's rendering.

39. He had more tow on his distaff: a proverbial saying: he was
playing a deeper game, had more serious business on hand.

40. Ere: before; German, "eher."

41. Sell: sill of the door, threshold; French, "seuil," Latin,
"solum," the ground.      <...Read More

by Pastan, Linda
...Into the gravity of my life,
the serious ceremonies
of polish and paper
and pen, has come

this manic animal
whose innocent disruptions
make nonsense
of my old simplicities--

as if I needed him
to prove again that after
all the careful planning,
anything can happen....Read More

by Trumbull, John
...beauty's praise.
Her, not my charms nor sense could move,
For folly is the food of love.
Each female scorns our serious make,
"Each woman is at heart a rake."[5]
Thus Owls in every age have said,
Since our first parent-owl was made;
Thus Pope and Swift, to prove their sense,
Shall sing, some twenty ages hence;
Then shall a man of little fame,
One ** **** sing the same....Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...ns interspersed
With overarching elms & caverns cold,
And violet banks where sweet dreams brood, but they
Pursued their serious folly as of old ....
And as I gazed methought that in the way
The throng grew wilder, as the woods of June
When the South wind shakes the extinguished day.--
And a cold glare, intenser than the noon
But icy cold, obscured with [[blank]] light
The Sun as he the stars. Like the young moon
When on the sunlit limits of the night
H...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
..., are cases in point of the freedom with which saints, &c. may be permitted to converse in works not intended to be serious. 

Q.R. 

*** Mr. Southey being, as he says, a good Christian and vindictive, threatens, I understand, a reply to this our answer. It is to be hoped that his visionary faculties will be in the mean time have acquired a little more judgment, properly so called: otherwise he will get himself into new dilemmas. These apostate jac...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...e of strength and dread. 
I thought: what matter to them if Franz 
Ferdinand dies? One of them said: 
This might be serious.' 'Yes, you're right.' 
The other answered, 'It really might.' 

XIX 
Dear John: I'm going home. I write to say 
Goodbye. My boat-train leaves at break of day; 
It will be gone when this is in your hands. 
I've had enough of lovely foreign lands, 
Sightseeing, strangers, holiday and play; 
I'm going home to those who think the...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
...world.

THIRD VOICE:
Today the colleges are drunk with spring.
My black gown is a little funeral:
It shows I am serious.
The books I carry wedge into my side.
I had an old wound once, but it is healing.
I had a dream of an island, red with cries.
It was a dream, and did not mean a thing.

FIRST VOICE:
Dawn flowers in the great elm outside the house.
The swifts are back. They are shrieking like paper rockets.
I hear the sound of the hour...Read More

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