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Famous Speed Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Pope, Alexander
...other's Aid, like Man and Wife.
'Tis more to guide than spur the Muse's Steed;
Restrain his Fury, than provoke his Speed;
The winged Courser, like a gen'rous Horse,
Shows most true Mettle when you check his Course.

Those RULES of old discover'd, not devis'd,
Are Nature still, but Nature Methodiz'd;
Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd
By the same Laws which first herself ordain'd.

Hear how learn'd Greece her useful Rules indites,
When to repress, and when in...Read More

by Keats, John
...r, risen star, began to throe
In the dusk heavens silvery, when they
Thus sprang direct towards the Galaxy.
Nor did speed hinder converse soft and strange--
Eternal oaths and vows they interchange,
In such wise, in such temper, so aloof
Up in the winds, beneath a starry roof,
So witless of their doom, that verily
'Tis well nigh past man's search their hearts to see;
Whether they wept, or laugh'd, or griev'd, or toy'd--
Most like with joy gone mad, with sorrow cloy'd.
...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Far in the western prairies or forests that skirt the Nebraska,
When the wild horses affrighted sweep by with the speed of the whirlwind,
Or the loud bellowing herds of buffaloes rush to the river.
Such was the sound that arose on the night, as the herds and the horses
Broke through their folds and fences, and madly rushed o'er the meadows.

Overwhelmed with the sight, yet speechless, the priest and the maiden
Gazed on the scene of terror that reddened and widen...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...aft can slit 
 Impalpable air, from any corded bow, 
 As came that craft towards us, cleaving so, 
 And with incredible speed, the miry wave. 
 To where we paused its meteor course it clave, 
 A steersman rising in the stern, who cried, 
 "Behold thy doom, lost spirit!" To whom my guide, 
 "Nay, Phlegyas, Phlegyas, here thy cries are 
 We need thine aid the further shore to gain; 
 But power thou hast not." 
 One amazed to meet 
 With most unlooked and undeserved dece...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
No train is his beyond a single page, 
Of foreign aspect, and of tender age. 
Years had roll'd on, and fast they speed away 
To those that wander as to those that stay; 
But lack of tidings from another clime 
Had lent a flagging wing to weary Time. 
They see, they recognise, yet almost deem 
The present dubious, or the past a dream. 

He lives, nor yet is past his manhood's prime, 
Though sear'd by toil, and something touch'd by time; 
His faults, whate'er the...Read More

by Milton, John> 
Then of their session ended they bid cry 
With trumpet's regal sound the great result: 
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim 
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy, 
By herald's voice explained; the hollow Abyss 
Heard far adn wide, and all the host of Hell 
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim. 
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised 
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers 
Disband; and, wandering, each his several way 
Pursu...Read More

by Milton, John
...rgeous wings, up springing light, 
Flew through the midst of Heaven; the angelick quires, 
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way 
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate 
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide 
On golden hinges turning, as by work 
Divine the sovran Architect had framed. 
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight, 
Star interposed, however small he sees, 
Not unconformed to other shining globes, 
Earth, and the garden of God, wit...Read More

by Milton, John
...hat would come to pass, 
When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell. 
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed 
On his bad errand; Man should be seduced, 
And flattered out of all, believing lies 
Against his Maker; no decree of mine 
Concurring to necessitate his fall, 
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 
His free will, to her own inclining left 
In even scale. But fallen he is; and now 
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass 
On his transgres...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...o hear the hiss of steam—the merry shriek—the steam-whistle—the laughing
To push with resistless way, and speed off in the distance. 

O the gleesome saunter over fields and hill-sides! 
The leaves and flowers of the commonest weeds—the moist fresh stillness of the woods,
The exquisite smell of the earth at day-break, and all through the forenoon. 

O the horseman’s and horsewoman’s joys! 
The saddle—the gallop—the pressure upon the seat—the cool gurglin...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...rus or Caucasus!
You Bokh horse-herd, watching your mares and stallions feeding! 
You beautiful-bodied Persian, at full speed in the saddle, shooting arrows to the mark! 
You Chinaman and Chinawoman of China! you Tartar of Tartary! 
You women of the earth subordinated at your tasks! 
You Jew journeying in your old age through every risk, to stand once on Syrian ground!
You other Jews waiting in all lands for your Messiah! 
You thoughtful Armenian, pondering by some stream of ...Read More

by Milton, John
...that hope;
Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless;
This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
No long petition, speedy death, 
The close of all my miseries, and the balm.

Chor: Many are the sayings of the wise
In antient and in modern books enroll'd;
Extolling Patience as the truest fortitude;
And to the bearing well of all calamities,
All chances incident to mans frail life
Consolatories writ
With studied argument, and much perswasion sought
Lenient of grief and...Read More

by Ashbery, John
...r> Whose curved hand controls,
Francesco, the turning seasons and the thoughts
That peel off and fly away at breathless speeds
Like the last stubborn leaves ripped
From wet branches? I see in this only the chaos
Of your round mirror which organizes everything
Around the polestar of your eyes which are empty,
Know nothing, dream but reveal nothing.
I feel the carousel starting slowly
And going faster and faster: desk, papers, books,
Photographs of friends, the window and t...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
Go — let thy less than woman's hand 
Assume the distaff — not the brand. 
But, Haroun! — to my daughter speed: 
And hark — of thine own head take heed — 
If thus Zuleika oft takes wing — 
Thou see'st yon bow — it hath a string!" 


No sound from Selim's lip was heard, 
At least that met old Giaffir's ear, 
But every frown and every word 
Pierced keener than a Christian's sword. 
"Son of a slave! — reproach'd with fear! 
Those gibes had cost another...Read More

by Browning, Robert
...m torn-out:
And chief in the chase his neck he perilled
On a lathy horse, all legs and length,
With blood for bone, all speed, no strength;
---They should have set him on red Berold
With the red eye slow consuming in fire,
And the thin stiff ear like an abbey-spire!


Well, such as he was, he must marry, we heard:
And out of a convent, at the word,
Came the lady, in time of spring.
---Oh, old thoughts they cling, they cling!
That day, I know, with a dozen oaths
I ...Read More

by Bradstreet, Anne
...I, with skill I train'd my band
4.38 And shew'd them how in face of foes to stand.
4.39 If a Soldier, with speed I did obey
4.40 As readily as could my Leader say.
4.41 Was I a laborer, I wrought all day
4.42 As cheerfully as ere I took my pay.
4.43 Thus hath mine age (in all) sometimes done well;
4.44 Sometimes mine age (in all) been worse than hell.
4.45 In meanness, greatness, riches, poverty
4.46 Did toil, did broil; op...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour 
Straight is her going, for upon the sun
When once she hath look'd, her path and place are plain;
With tireless speed she smiteth one by one
The shuddering seas and foams along the main;
And her eased breath, when her wild race is run,
Roars thro' her nostrils like a hurricane. 

A thousand times hath in my heart's behoof
My tongue been set his passion to impart;
A thousand times hath my too coward heart
My mouth reclosed and fix'd it to the roof;
Then with suc...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...en and boys astride 
On wyvern, lion, dragon, griffin, swan, 
At all the corners, named us each by name, 
Calling, "God speed!" but in the ways below 
The knights and ladies wept, and rich and poor 
Wept, and the King himself could hardly speak 
For grief, and all in middle street the Queen, 
Who rode by Lancelot, wailed and shrieked aloud, 
"This madness has come on us for our sins." 
So to the Gate of the three Queens we came, 
Where Arthur's wars are rendered mysticall...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...ring stag strained full in view.
     Two dogs of black Saint Hubert's breed,
     Unmatched for courage, breath, and speed,
     Fast on his flying traces came,
     And all but won that desperate game;
     For, scarce a spear's length from his haunch,
     Vindictive toiled the bloodhounds stanch;
     Nor nearer might the dogs attain,
     Nor farther might the quarry strain
     Thus up the margin of the lake,
     Between the precipice and brake,
     O'er st...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe moving wings.
All the four faces of that charioteer
Had their eyes banded . . . little profit brings
Speed in the van & blindness in the rear,
Nor then avail the beams that quench the Sun
Or that his banded eyes could pierce the sphere
Of all that is, has been, or will be done.--
So ill was the car guided, but it past
With solemn speed majestically on . . .
The crowd gave way, & I arose aghast,
Or seemed to rise, so mighty was the trance,
An...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
And her own thoughts were each a minister,
Clothing themselves or with the ocean-foam,
Or with the wind, or with the speed of fire,
To work whatever purposes might come
Into her mind: such power her mighty Sire
Had girt them with, whether to fly or run
Through all the regions which he shines upon.

The Ocean-nymphs and Hamadryades,
Oreads, and Naiads with long weedy locks,
Offered to do her bidding through the seas,
Under the earth, and in the hollow rocks,
And far ben...Read More

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