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Famous Simile Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Prior, Matthew Thomas, didst thou never pop
Thy head into a tin-man's shop?
There, Thomas, didst thou never see
('Tis but by way of simile)
A squirrel spend his little rage
In jumping round a rolling cage?
The cage, as either side turn'd up,
Striking a ring of bells a-top?--

Mov'd in the orb, pleas'd with the chimes,
The foolish creature thinks he climbs:
But here or there, turn wood or wire,
He never gets two inches higher.

So fares it with those merry blades,
That frisk it under ...Read more of this...

by Hugo, Victor
 ("Les feuilles qui gisaient.") 

 The leaves that in the lonely walks were spread, 
 Starting from off the ground beneath the tread, 
 Coursed o'er the garden-plain; 
 Thus, sometimes, 'mid the soul's deep sorrowings, 
 Our soul a moment mounts on wounded wings, 
 Then, swiftly, falls again. 


...Read more of this...

by Browning, Robert 
Embellish Rome, idealize away, 
Make paradise of London if you can, 
You're welcome, nay, you're wise. 

A simile! 
We mortals cross the ocean of this world 
Each in his average cabin of a life; 
The best's not big, the worst yields elbow-room. 
Now for our six months' voyage--how prepare? 
You come on shipboard with a landsman's list 
Of things he calls convenient: so they are! 
An India screen is pretty furniture, 
A piano-forte is a fine resource, 
All Bal...Read more of this...

by Cullen, Countee
...My father is a quiet man
With sober, steady ways;
For simile, a folded fan;
His nights are like his days. 
My mother's life is puritan,
No hint of cavalier,
A pool so calm you're sure it can
Have little depth to fear.

And yet my father's eyes can boast
How full his life has been;
There haunts them yet the languid ghost
Of some still sacred sin.

And though my mother chants of God,
And of the mystic...Read more of this...

by Ingelow, Jean
...ts—we are nought:
  We cannot drop a line into that sea
And read its fathoms off, nor gauge a thought,
    Nor map a simile.
"'It may be of all voices sublunar
  The only one he echoes we did try;
We may have come upon the only star
    That twinkles in his sky,'
"And so it was with me."
                         O false my friend!
  False, false, a random charge, a blame undue;
Wrest not fair reasoning to a crooked end:
    False, false, as you are true!
But I re...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...ntlemen who wrote with ease;
Sprat, Carew, Sedley, and a hundred more,
(Like twinkling stars the Miscellanies o'er)
One simile, that solitary shines
In the dry desert of a thousand lines,
Or lengthen'd thought that gleams through many a page,
Has sanctified whole poems for an age.

I lose my patience, and I own it too,
When works are censur'd, not as bad, but new;
While if our elders break all reason's laws,
These fools demand not pardon, but applause.

On Avon's ba...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...Come d'autunno si levan le foglie

l'una appresso de l'altra, fin che 'l ramo

vede a la terra tutte le sue spoglie,

 similemente il mal seme d'Adamo

gittansi di quel lito ad una ad una,

per cenni come augel per suo richiamo.

 Cos? sen vanno su per l'onda bruna,

e avanti che sien di l? discese,

anche di qua nuova schiera s'auna.

 «Figliuol mio», disse 'l maestro cortese,

«quelli che muoion ne l'ira di Dio

tutti convegnon qui d'ogne paese:

 e pronti sono a t...Read more of this...

by Paterson, Andrew Barton
And, Lord! how we rattled it down! 

With gladness we thought of the morrow, 
We counted our wages with glee, 
A simile homely to borrow -- 
"There was plenty of milk in our tea." 
You see we were green; and we never 
Had even a thought of foul play, 
Though we well might have known that the clever 
Division would "put us away". 

Experience docet, they tell us, 
At least so I've frequently heard; 
But, "dosing" or "stuffing", those fellows 
Were up to each mov...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
Ond'ella, pronta e con occhi ridenti:
 «La nostra carit? non serra porte
a giusta voglia, se non come quella
che vuol simile a s? tutta sua corte.
 I' fui nel mondo vergine sorella;
e se la mente tua ben s? riguarda,
non mi ti celer? l'esser pi? bella,
 ma riconoscerai ch'i' son Piccarda,
che, posta qui con questi altri beati,
beata sono in la spera pi? tarda.
 Li nostri affetti, che solo infiammati
son nel piacer de lo Spirito Santo,
letizian del suo ordine formati...Read more of this...

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
...ear can reach, or eyesight dim,
Thou findest but the known resembling Him;
How high so'er thy fiery spirit hovers,
Its simile and type it straight discovers
Onward thou'rt drawn, with feelings light and gay,
Where'er thou goest, smiling is the way;
No more thou numbrest, reckonest no time,
Each step is infinite, each step sublime.


WHAT God would outwardly alone control,
And on his finger whirl the mighty Whole?
He loves the inner world to move, to view
Natur...Read more of this...

by Alighieri, Dante
...i parea gente; e tutta quanta,
partita in sette cori, a' due mie' sensi
faceva dir l'un «No», l'altro «Sì, canta».
 Similemente al fummo de li 'ncensi
che v'era imaginato, li occhi e 'l naso
e al sì e al no discordi fensi.
 Lì precedeva al benedetto vaso,
trescando alzato, l'umile salmista,
e più e men che re era in quel caso.
 Di contra, effigiata ad una vista
d'un gran palazzo, Micòl ammirava
sì come donna dispettosa e trista.
 I' mossi i piè del loco dov'io...Read more of this...

by Hugo, Victor
...loveliest given; 
 Perchance ye then may choose your home 
 On the earth or in heaven. 

 ("Soyez comme l'oiseau.") 
 {XXXIII. vi.} 

 Thou art like the bird 
 That alights and sings 
 Though the frail spray bends— 
 For he knows he has wings. 


...Read more of this...

by Chatterton, Thomas, 
Requires the genius of a Clive, 
With Walpole's mental taste. 

Tho' rapture wantons in your air, 
Tho' beyond simile you're fair, 
Free, affable, serene; 
Yet still one attribute divine 
Should in your composition shine-- 
Sincerity, I mean. 

Tho' num'rous swains before you fall, 
'Tis empty admiration all, 
'Tis all that you require; 
How momentary are their chains! 
Like you, how unsincere the strains 
Of those who but admire! 

Accept, for once, advice from ...Read more of this...

by Frost, Robert
...nd close my arms in an arc.
A slim door got in past my guard,
And hit me a blow in the head so hard
I had my native simile jarred.
So people and things don't pair any more
With what they used to pair with before....Read more of this...

by Rilke, Rainer Maria
...hat pulses through you as your body stirs?
Out of your forehead branch and lyre climb

and all your features pass in simile through
the songs of love whose words as light as rose-
petals rest on the face of someone who
has put his book away and shut his eyes:

to see you: tensed as if each leg were a gun
loaded with leaps but not fired while your neck
holds your head still listening: as when

while swimming in some isolated place
a girl hears leaves rustle and tu...Read more of this...

by von Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
The teachings of His blessed word
From out His holy mouth were heard;
Each market to a fane turn'd He
With parable and simile.

One day, as tow'rd a town He roved,
In peace of mind with those He loved,
Upon the path a something gleam'd;
A broken horseshoe 'twas, it seem'd.
So to St. Peter thus He spake:
"That piece of iron prythee take!"
St. Peter's thoughts had gone astray,--
He had been musing on his way
Respecting the world's government,
A dream that alway...Read more of this...

by Hugo, Victor
 Scarcely some low breathed word, 
 As in a forest fallen asleep, is found 
 Just one belated bird. 

 ("Oh, regardez le ciel!") 
 {June, 1828.} 

 See, where on high the moving masses, piled 
 By the wind, break in groups grotesque and wild, 
 Present strange shapes to view; 
 Oft flares a pallid flash from out their shrouds, 
 As though some air-born giant 'mid the clouds 
 Sudden his falchion drew. 


...Read more of this...

by Nash, Ogden
...One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to
go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told
That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?
In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough ...Read more of this...

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