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Famous Shafts Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Sidney, Sir Philip
Who threatned stripes if he his wrath did proue;
But she, in chafe, him from her lap did shoue,
Brake bowe, brake shafts, while Cupid weeping sate;
Till that his grandame Nature, pitying it,
Of Stellaes brows made him two better bowes,
And in her eyes of arrows infinit.
O how for ioy he leaps! O how he crowes!
And straight therewith, like wags new got to play,
Falls to shrewd turnes! And I was in his way. 

With what sharp checkes I in myself am ...Read more of this...

by Keats, John
...smooth arms and lips, to slake
My greedy thirst with nectarous camel-draughts;
But she was gone. Whereat the barbed shafts
Of disappointment stuck in me so sore,
That out I ran and search'd the forest o'er.
Wandering about in pine and cedar gloom
Damp awe assail'd me; for there 'gan to boom
A sound of moan, an agony of sound,
Sepulchral from the distance all around.
Then came a conquering earth-thunder, and rumbled
That fierce complain to silence: while I stumbled...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
A shipwreck'd sailor, waiting for a sail:
No sail from day to day, but every day
The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts
Among the palms and ferns and precipices;
The blaze upon the waters to the east;
The blaze upon his island overhead;
The blaze upon the waters to the west;
Then the great stars that globed themselves in Heaven,
The hollower-bellowing ocean, and again
The scarlet shafts of sunrise--but no sail. 

There often as he watch'd or seem'd to watch,
So sti...Read more of this...

by Bryant, William Cullen
..., and his slack hand
Drops the drawn knife. But, oh, most fearfully
Dost thou show forth Heaven's justice, when thy shafts
Drink up the ebbing spirit--then the hard
Of heart and violent of hand restores
The treasure to the friendless wretch he wronged.
Then from the writhing bosom thou dost pluck
The guilty secret; lips, for ages sealed,
Are faithless to the dreadful trust at length,
And give it up; the felon's latest breath
Absolves the innocent man who bears his cri...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Mary Darby
...Then, swifter, deadlier far 
Than the keen lightning's lance, 
That wings its way across the yelling storm, 
Thy barbed shafts fly whizzing round, 
While every with'ring glance
Inflicts a cureless wound. 

Thy giant arm with pond'rous blow
Hurls genius from her glorious height, 
Bends the fair front of Virtue low, 
And meanly pilfers every pure delight. 
Thy hollow voice the sense appalls, 
Thy vigilance the mind enthralls; 
Rest hast thou none,­by night, by day, 
Thy...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder, 
Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage, 
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now 
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep. 
Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn 
Or satiate fury yield it from our Foe. 
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 
The seat of desolation, void of light, 
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames 
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend 
From off the ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...ose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced, 
Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used. 
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights 
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings, 
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile 
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared, 
Casual fruition; nor in court-amours, 
Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball, 
Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. 
These, l...Read more of this...

by Lowell, Amy
...lightning, and its tail was winged With chipped 
and sparkled sunshine. And the shade
Broke up and splintered into shafts of light Wheeling about 
the fish, who churned the air
And made the fish-line hum, and bent the rod Almost 
to snapping. Care
The young man took against the twigs, with slight,
Deft movements he kept fish and line in tight
Obedience to his will with every prod.

He lay there, and the fish hung just beyond. He 
seemed uncertain what more...Read more of this...

by Sandburg, Carl
...tor sings and zooms.

In the subway plugs and drums,
In the slow hydraulic drills, in gumbo or gravel,
Under dynamo shafts in the webs of armature spiders,
They shadow-dance and laugh at the cost.

The ovens light a red dome.
Spools of fire wind and wind.
Quadrangles of crimson sputter.
The lashes of dying maroon let down.
Fire and wind wash out the slag.
Forever the slag gets washed in fire and wind.
The anthem learned by the steel is:
 Do thi...Read more of this...

by Chesterton, G K
...with the salt of death.

"And the heart of the locked battle
Is the happiest place for men;
When shrieking souls as shafts go by
And many have died and all may die;
Though this word be a mystery,
Death is most distant then.

"Death blazes bright above the cup,
And clear above the crown;
But in that dream of battle
We seem to tread it down.

"Wherefore I am a great king,
And waste the world in vain,
Because man hath not other power,
Save that in dealing death for d...Read more of this...

by Seeger, Alan,
Topple and break and fall in purple rain,
And mist of summer showers trail out across the plain.

Whereon the shafts of ardent light, far-flung
Across the luminous azure overhead,
Ofttimes in arcs of transient beauty hung
The fragmentary rainbow's green and red.
Joy it was here to love and to be young,
To watch the sun sink to his western bed,
And streaming back out of their flaming core
The vesperal aurora's glorious banners soar.

Tinging each altitude of ...Read more of this...

by Morris, William
...istered court he found,
A fountain in the mist o'erthrown and dry,
And in the cloister briers twining round
The slender shafts; the wondrous imagery
Outworn by more than many years gone by;
Because the country people, in their fear
Of wizardry, had wrought destruction here,

And piteously these fair things had been maimed;
There stood great Jove, lacking his head of might;
Here was the archer, swift Apollo, lamed;
The shapely limbs of Venus hid from sight
By weeds and shards;...Read more of this...

by Swinburne, Algernon Charles limbs indissolute
That still keeps hurtless thine invisible part
And inextirpable thy viewless root
Whence all sweet shafts of green and each thy dart
Of sharpening leaf and bud resundering shoot;
Hills that the day-star hails,
Heights that the first beam scales,
And heights that souls outshining suns salute,
Valleys for each mouth born
Free now of plenteous corn,
Waters and woodlands' musical or mute;
Free winds that brighten brows as free,
And thunder and laughter and li...Read more of this...

by Gray, Thomas
...isly texture grow,
('Tis of human entrails made!)
And the weights that play below,
Each a gasping warrior's head. 

Shafts for shuttles, dipped in gore,
Shoot the trembling cords along.
Sword, that once a monarch bore,
Keep the tissue close and strong. 

Mista, black, terrific maid,
Sangrida, and Hilda, see,
Join the wayward work to aid;
'Tis the woof of victory. 

Ere the ruddy sun be set,
Pikes must shiver, javelins sing,
Blade with clattering buckler meet,
...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...y struggle to the tomb unreconciled. 
Whatever suns may rise or set 
There may be nothing kinder for him here 
Than shafts and agonies; 
And under these
He may cry out and stay on horribly; 
Or, seeing in death too small a thing to fear, 
He may go forward like a stoic Roman 
Where pangs and terrors in his pathway lie,— 
Or, seizing the swift logic of a woman,
Curse God and die. 

Or maybe there, like many another one 
Who might have stood aloft and looked ahead, 
Bla...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...o know.

And all those names, that in their motion were
Full-welling fountain-heads of change,
Betwixt the slender shafts were blazon'd fair
In diverse raiment strange:

Thro' which the lights, rose, amber, emerald, blue,
Flush'd in her temples and her eyes,
And from her lips, as morn from Memnon, drew
Rivers of melodies.

No nightingale delighteth to prolong
Her low preamble all alone,
More than my soul to hear her echo'd song
Throb thro' the ribbed stone;

Singi...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord; 
Men hated learned women: but we three 
Sat muffled like the Fates; and often came 
Melissa hitting all we saw with shafts 
Of gentle satire, kin to charity, 
That harmed not: then day droopt; the chapel bells 
Called us: we left the walks; we mixt with those 
Six hundred maidens clad in purest white, 
Before two streams of light from wall to wall, 
While the great organ almost burst his pipes, 
Groaning for power, and rolling through the court 
A long melodious thunder t...Read more of this...

by Petrarch, Francesco
...N>Then came the Stagyrite, whose mental rayPierced through all nature like the shafts of day;And he that, by the unambitious name,Lover of wisdom, chose to bound his fame.Then Socrates and Xenophon were seen;With them a bard of more than earthly mien,Whom every muse of Jove's immortal choirRead more of this...

by Miller, Alice Duer
...fogs that paint the verdure on her stones 
And fill her gentle rivers to the brim. 
When the sun shines on England, shafts of light 
Fall on far towers and hills and dark old trees, 
And hedge-bound meadows of a green as bright— 
As bright as is the blue of tropic seas. 
When the sun shines, it is as if the face 
Of some proud man relaxed his haughty stare, 
And smiled upon us with a sudden grace, 
Flattering because its coming is so rare. 

The English are f...Read more of this...

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...naked peak‹the sister of the Sun
Would climb from out the dark, and linger there 

To silver all the valleys with her shafts‹
There once, but long ago, five-fold thy term
Of years, I lay; the winds were dead for heat-
The noonday crag made the hand burn; and sick
For shadow‹not one bush was near‹I rose
Following a torrent till its myriad falls
Found silence in the hollows underneath.
There in a secret olive-glade I saw
Pallas Athene climbing from the bath
In anger; yet ...Read more of this...

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