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Famous Severe Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...quench the violence of fire, at death 
Did smile, and maugre ev'ry pain, of bond, 
Cold dark imprisonment, and scourge severe, 
By hell-born popery devis'd, held fast 
The Christian hope firm anchor of the soul. 
Or those who shunning that fell rage of war, 
And persecution dire, when civil pow'r, 
Leagu'd in with sacerdotal sway triumph'd, 
O'er ev'ry conscience, and the lives of men, 
Did brave th' Atlantic deep and through its storms 
Sought these Americ shores: these...Read More

by Wilmot, John
Against this jibing, jingling knack called Wit
Likes me abundantly: but you take care
Upon this point not to be too severe.
Perhaps my Muse were fitter for this part,
For I profess I can be very smart
On Wit, which I abhor with all my heart;
I long to lash it in some sharp essay,
But your grand indiscretion bids me stay,
And turns my tide of ink another way.
What rage Torments in your degenerate mind,
To make you rail at reason, and mankind
Blessed glorious man! T...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...d fiery hills
Mingling their flames with twilight, on the verge
Of the remote horizon. The near scene,
In naked and severe simplicity, 
Made contrast with the universe. A pine,
Rock-rooted, stretched athwart the vacancy
Its swinging boughs, to each inconstant blast
Yielding one only response at each pause
In most familiar cadence, with the howl,
The thunder and the hiss of homeless streams
Mingling its solemn song, whilst the broad river
Foaming and hurrying o'er its ...Read More

by Shakespeare, William
...e reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in ...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
...ot dully prepossest, nor blindly right;
Tho' Learn'd well-bred; and tho' well-bred, sincere;
Modestly bold, and Humanly severe?
Who to a Friend his Faults can freely show,
And gladly praise the Merit of a Foe?
Blest with a Taste exact, yet unconfin'd;
A Knowledge both of Books and Humankind;
Gen'rous Converse; a Sound exempt from Pride;
And Love to Praise, with Reason on his Side?

Such once were Criticks, such the Happy Few,
Athens and Rome in better Ages knew.
The might...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
The whole theory of the universe is directed to one single individual—namely, to You.

(Mother! with subtle sense severe—with the naked sword in your hand,
I saw you at last refuse to treat but directly with individuals.) 

Underneath all, nativity, 
I swear I will stand by my own nativity—pious or impious, so be it; 
I swear I am charm’d with nothing except nativity, 
Men, women, cities, nations, are only beautiful from nativity.

Underneath all is the need ...Read More

by Keats, John
...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 of earthly fire,
That scar'd away the meek ethereal Hours
And made their dove-wings tremble. On he flared
From stately nave to nave, from vault to vault,
Through bowers of f...Read More

by Moore, Marianne
a couple of shins and the bit of an ear';
turn to the letter M
and you will find
that `a wife is a coffin,'
that severe object
with the pleasing geometry
stipulating space and not people,
refusing to be buried
and uniquely disappointing,
revengefully wrought in the attitude
of an adoring child
to a distinguished parent."
She says, "This butterfly,
this waterfly, this nomad
that has `proposed
to settle on my hand for life.' --
What can one do with it?
There must...Read More

by Milton, John
...Heaven show more? 
Our torments also may, in length of time, 
Become our elements, these piercing fires 
As soft as now severe, our temper changed 
Into their temper; which must needs remove 
The sensible of pain. All things invite 
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state 
Of order, how in safety best we may 
Compose our present evils, with regard 
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite 
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise." 
 He scarce had finished...Read More

by Milton, John
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine 
The image of their glorious Maker shone, 
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure, 
(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,) 
Whence true authority in men; though both 
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; 
For contemplation he and valour formed; 
For softness she and sweet attractive grace; 
He for God only, she for God in him: 
His fair large front and eye sublime declared 
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks 
...Read More

by Milton, John
...s was that caution given thee; be advised. 
God made thee perfect, not immutable; 
And good he made thee, but to persevere 
He left it in thy power; ordained thy will 
By nature free, not over-ruled by fate 
Inextricable, or strict necessity: 
Our voluntary service he requires, 
Not our necessitated; such with him 
Finds no acceptance, nor can find; for how 
Can hearts, not free, be tried whether they serve 
Willing or no, who will but what they must 
By destiny, and can ...Read More

by Milton, John is best society, 
And short retirement urges sweet return. 
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm 
Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowest 
What hath been warned us, what malicious foe 
Envying our happiness, and of his own 
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame 
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand 
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find 
His wish and best advantage, us asunder; 
Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each 
To other speedy aid...Read More

by Milton, John
...Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn 
From his displeasure; in whose look serene, 
When angry most he seemed and most severe, 
What else but favour, grace, and mercy, shone? 
So spake our father penitent; nor Eve 
Felt less remorse: they, forthwith to the place 
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell 
Before him reverent; and both confessed 
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears 
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from ...Read More

by Milton, John
...kness come to parl
So near related, or the same of kind,
Thine forgive mine; that men may censure thine
The gentler, if severely thou exact not
More strength from me, then in thy self was found.
And what if Love, which thou interpret'st hate, 
The jealousie of Love, powerful of sway
In human hearts, nor less in mine towards thee,
Caus'd what I did? I saw thee mutable
Of fancy, feard lest one day thou wouldst leave me
As her at Timna, sought by all means therefore
How to e...Read More

by Goldsmith, Oliver
...urze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was, and stern to view;
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;
Yet he was kind; o...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
He was a shepherd, and no mercenary.
And though he holy were, and virtuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitous* *severe
Nor of his speeche dangerous nor dign* *disdainful
But in his teaching discreet and benign.
To drawen folk to heaven, with fairness,
By good ensample, was his business:
*But it were* any person obstinate, *but if it were*
What so he were of high or low estate,
Him would he snibbe* sharply for the nones**. *reprove **nonce,occasion
A better pri...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
Tho' with fatigue thou didst his limbs invite,
And heavily weigh the eyes that would not wake; 
No, nor the man severe, who from his best
Failing, alert fled to thee, that his breath,
Blood, force and fire should come at morn redrest;
But me; from whom thy comfort tarrieth,
For all my wakeful prayer sent without rest
To thee, O shew and shadow of my death. 

The spirit's eager sense for sad or gay
Filleth with what he will our vessel full:
Be joy his bent, he w...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...something in her tone
That chilled me to the very bone. 

"Her style was anything but clear,
And most unpleasantly severe;
Her epithets were very *****. 

"And yet, so grand were her replies,
I could not choose but deem her wise;
I did not dare to criticise; 

"Nor did I leave her, till she went
So deep in tangled argument
That all my powers of thought were spent." 

A little whisper inly slid,
"Yet truth is truth: you know you did."
A little wink beneath the...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...he Brescian shepherd breathes, or the caress
That turned his weary slumber to content.--
"So knew I in that light's severe excess
The presence of that shape which on the stream
Moved, as I moved along the wilderness,
"More dimly than a day appearing dream,
The ghost of a forgotten form of sleep
A light from Heaven whose half extinguished beam
"Through the sick day in which we wake to weep
Glimmers, forever sought, forever lost.--
So did that shape its obscure tenour k...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...of London, through which, dimly beacon'd, 
The weathercocks are gilt some thrice a year, 
If that the summer is not too severe; 


I say that I can tell — 'twas half a minute; 
I know the solar beams take up more time 
Ere, pack'd up for their journey, they begin it; 
But then their telegraph is less sublime, 
And if they ran a race, they would not win it 
'Gainst Satan's couriers bound for their own clime. 
The sun takes up some years for every ray 
To reach its goa...Read More

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