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Famous Slew Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Gibran, Kahlil
...for a man to kill his brother man? If you deem it an honor, let it be an act of worship, and erect a temple to Cain who slew his brother Abel. 

Is self-preservation the first law of Nature? Why, then, does Greed urge you to self-sacrifice in order only to achieve his aim in hurting your brothers? Beware, my brother, of the leader who says, "Love of existence obliges us to deprive the people of their rights!" I say unto you but this: protecting others' rights is the noble...Read More

by Nash, Ogden
Heed those who sinned of yore;
The path they trod led away from God,
And onto the thirteenth floor,
Where those they slew, a grisly crew,
Reproach them forevermore.

"We are higher than twelve and below fourteen,"
Said Maxie to the bum,
"And the sickening draft that taints the shaft
Is a whiff of kingdom come.
The sickening draft that taints the shaft
Blows through the devil's door!"
And he squashed the latch like a fungus patch,
And revealed the thirteenth floor.<...Read More

by Wilcox, Ella Wheeler
...rst for riches wakens in the breast.
In mighty throngs the fortune hunters came, 
Despoiled the red man's lands and slew his game, 
Broke solemn treaties and defied the law.
And all these ruthless acts the Nation knew and saw.

Man is the only animal that kills
Just for the wanton love of slaughter; spills
The blood of lesser things to see it flow; 
Lures like a friend, to murder like a foe
The trusting bird and beast; and, coward like, 
Deals covert bl...Read More

by Keats, John
...t watch the quoit-pitchers, intent
On either side; pitying the sad death
Of Hyacinthus, when the cruel breath
Of Zephyr slew him,--Zephyr penitent,
Who now, ere Phoebus mounts the firmament,
Fondles the flower amid the sobbing rain.
The archers too, upon a wider plain,
Beside the feathery whizzing of the shaft,
And the dull twanging bowstring, and the raft
Branch down sweeping from a tall ash top,
Call'd up a thousand thoughts to envelope
Those who would watch. Perhap...Read More

by Keats, John
...could breathe back the lyre
To seas Ionian and Tyrian.

 O did he ever live, that lonely man,
Who lov'd--and music slew not? 'Tis the pest
Of love, that fairest joys give most unrest;
That things of delicate and tenderest worth
Are swallow'd all, and made a seared dearth,
By one consuming flame: it doth immerse
And suffocate true blessings in a curse.
Half-happy, by comparison of bliss,
Is miserable. 'Twas even so with this
Dew-dropping melody, in the Carian's ea...Read More

by Keats, John
Loving and hatred, misery and weal,
Will in a few short hours be nothing to me,
And all my story that much passion slew me;
Do smile upon the evening of my days:
And, for my tortur'd brain begins to craze,
Be thou my nurse; and let me understand
How dying I shall kiss that lily hand.--
Dost weep for me? Then should I be content.
Scowl on, ye fates! until the firmament
Outblackens Erebus, and the full-cavern'd earth
Crumbles into itself. By the cloud girth
Of ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Came yet another widow crying to him, 
'A boon, Sir King! Thine enemy, King, am I. 
With thine own hand thou slewest my dear lord, 
A knight of Uther in the Barons' war, 
When Lot and many another rose and fought 
Against thee, saying thou wert basely born. 
I held with these, and loathe to ask thee aught. 
Yet lo! my husband's brother had my son 
Thralled in his castle, and hath starved him dead; 
And standeth seized of that inheritance 
Which thou that sl...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar wonder, and then crept at midnight o'er

Some unfrequented height, and coming down
The autumn forests treacherously slew
What Sparta held most dear and was the crown
Of far Eurotas, and passed on, nor knew
How God had staked an evil net for him
In the small bay at Salamis, - and yet, the page grows dim,

Its cadenced Greek delights me not, I feel
With such a goodly time too out of tune
To love it much: for like the Dial's wheel
That from its blinded darkness strikes the n...Read More

by Milton, John
...mity divine. 
Those tents thou sawest so pleasant, were the tents 
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race 
Who slew his brother; studious they appear 
Of arts that polish life, inventers rare; 
Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit 
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none. 
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; 
For that fair female troop thou sawest, that seemed 
Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 
Yet empty of all good wherein con...Read More

by Chesterton, G K me my own oxen,
Down to my own farm;
My own dog will whine for me,
My own friends will bend the knee,
And the foes I slew openly
Have never wished me harm."

And all were moved a little,
But Colan stood apart,
Having first pity, and after
Hearing, like rat in rafter,
That little worm of laughter
That eats the Irish heart.

And his grey-green eyes were cruel,
And the smile of his mouth waxed hard,
And he said, "And when did Britain
Become your burying-yard?

"Before...Read More

by Service, Robert William
Sleeping by day, or sometimes worked upon
His flint-head arrows and his knives of stone;
By night stole forth and slew the savage boar,
So that he loomed a hunter of loud fame,
And many a skin of wolf and wild-cat wore,
And counted many a flint-head to his name;
Wherefore he walked the envy of the band,
Hated and feared, but matchless in his skill.
Till lo! one night deep in that shaggy land,
He tracked a yearling bear and made his kill;
Then over-worn he rested by ...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...ut ah! too soon of it we were bereft
When on that riven night and stormy sea
Panthea claimed her singer as her own,
And slew the mouth that praised her; since which time we walk

Save for that fiery heart, that morning star
Of re-arisen England, whose clear eye
Saw from our tottering throne and waste of war
The grand Greek limbs of young Democracy
Rise mightily like Hesperus and bring
The great Republic! him at least thy love hath taught to sing,

And he hath been with...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...t the father must not say
Who shrived him on his dying day:
This broken tale was all we knew
Of her he loved, or him he slew....Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey his banner borne is his pennon
Of gold full rich, in which there was y-beat* *stamped
The Minotaur which that he slew in Crete
Thus rit this Duke, thus rit this conqueror
And in his host of chivalry the flower,
Till that he came to Thebes, and alight
Fair in a field, there as he thought to fight.
But shortly for to speaken of this thing,
With Creon, which that was of Thebes king,
He fought, and slew him manly as a knight
In plain bataille, and put his folk to fligh...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...For who, through all this western wild,
     Named Black Sir Roderick e'er, and smiled?
     In Holy-Rood a knight he slew;
     I saw, when back the dirk he drew,
     Courtiers give place before the stride
     Of the undaunted homicide;
     And since, though outlawed, hath his hand
     Full sternly kept his mountain land.

     Who else dared give—ah! woe the day,
     That I such hated truth should say!—
     The Douglas, like a stricken deer,
     Disowned ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord doors, and swording right and left 
Men, women, on their sodden faces, hurled 
The tables over and the wines, and slew 
Till all the rafters rang with woman-yells, 
And all the pavement streamed with massacre: 
Then, echoing yell with yell, they fired the tower, 
Which half that autumn night, like the live North, 
Red-pulsing up through Alioth and Alcor, 
Made all above it, and a hundred meres 
About it, as the water Moab saw 
Came round by the East, and out beyond them...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...r virtuous,
And loving Hermegild right as her life:
Of this bare witness each one in that house,
Save he that Hermegild slew with his knife:
This gentle king had *caught a great motife* *been greatly moved
Of this witness, and thought he would inquere by the evidence*
Deeper into this case, the truth to lear.* *learn

Alas! Constance, thou has no champion,
Nor fighte canst thou not, so well-away!
But he that starf for our redemption, *died
And bound Satan, and yet li'th w...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...ll great: he for the common weal, 
The fading politics of mortal Rome, 
As I might slay this child, if good need were, 
Slew both his sons: and I, shall I, on whom 
The secular emancipation turns 
Of half this world, be swerved from right to save 
A prince, a brother? a little will I yield. 
Best so, perchance, for us, and well for you. 
O hard, when love and duty clash! I fear 
My conscience will not count me fleckless; yet-- 
Hear my conditions: promise (otherwise 
...Read More

by Petrarch, Francesco
...N class=i0>From fearful Rome, and Lybia's tyrant quell'd.And Fulvius, who Campania's traitors slew,And paid ingratitude with vengeance due.Another nobler Fulvius next appear'd;And there the Father of the Gracchi rear'dA solitary crest. The following formWas he that often raised the factious storm—Read More

by Byron, George (Lord) even then enough to do, 
So many conqueror's cars were daily driven, 
So many kingdoms fitted up anew; 
Each day too slew its thousands six or seven, 
Till at the crowning carnage, Waterloo, 
They threw their pens down in divine disgust — 
The page was so besmear'd with blood and dust. 


This by the way: 'tis not mine to record 
What angels shrink from: even the very devil 
On this occasion his own work abhorr'd, 
So surfeited with the infernal revel: 
Though he h...Read More

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