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Famous Squalid Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
 Shunning soft Pity’s rising sway,
Regardless of the tears and unavailing pray’rs!
 Perhaps this hour, in Misery’s squalid nest,
 She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
And with a mother’s fears shrinks at the rocking blast!

“Oh ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
 Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
 Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,
 Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Ill-satisfy’d keen nature’s clamorous call,
 Stretch’d on his straw, he lays...Read More

by Burns, Robert
...rough life,
Till, fled each hope that once his bosom fired,
And fled each Muse that glorious once inspir’d,
Low-sunk in squalid, unprotected age,
Dead even resentment for his injur’d page,
He heeds no more the ruthless critics’ rage.
 So by some hedge the generous steed deceas’d,
For half-starv’d, snarling curs a dainty feast;
By toil and famine worn to skin and bone,
Lies, senseless of each tugging *****’s son.
 · · · · · · A little upright, pert, tart, tripping wigh...Read More

by Amjad, Majeed
...amned by sun and wind and time
dashed from tops. they seek a home
lost in dust beneath their feet

On a heap of squalid unscrubbed pans
immersed in simmering scalding water
the toiling sweating hands do seek
the blessed home
for ages they have thought and dreamed.

In towns flourshing
along the banks of mountain brooks
stays a-while
a fleeting cloud of gloom....... The Home!
and from an urban sheeted roof
curls into waves of ...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord) nearly drain'd 
His ill got treasure, soon replaced. 
Wouldst question whence? Survey the waste, 
And ask the squalid peasant how 
His gains repay his broiling brow! — 
Why me the stern usurper spared, 
Why thus with me the palace shared, 
I know not. Shame, regret, remorse, 
And little fear from infant's force; 
Besides, adoption of a son 
Of him whom Heaven accorded none, 
Or some unknown cabal, caprice, 
Preserved me thus; but not in peace; 
He cannot curb hi...Read More

by Arnold, Matthew
...'Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,
And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, looked thrice dispirited.
I met a preacher there I knew, and said:
"Ill and o'erworked, how fare you in this scene?"—
"Bravely!" said he; "for I of late have been
Much cheered with thoughts of Christ, the living bread."
O human soul! as long as thou canst...Read More

by Hardy, Thomas
...hin Palazzo Doria's orange bowers 
Went far to mend these marrings of thy soul-subliming powers. 

But, Queen, such squalid undress none should see, 
Those dream-endangering eyewounds no more be 
Where lovers first behold thy form in pilgrimage to thee....Read More

by Pinsky, Robert
...Imagine a court of one: the queen a young mother,
Unhappy, alone all day with her firstborn child
And her new baby in a squalid apartment

Of too few rooms, a different race from her neighbors.
She tells the child she's going to kill herself.
She broods, she rages. Hoping to distract her,

The child cuts capers, he sings, he does imitations
Of different people in the building, he jokes,
He feels if he keeps her alive until the father

Gets home from work, they'll ...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...d on the filth, and as the craving cur 
 Quietens, that strained and howled to reach his food, 
 Biting the bone, those squalid mouths subdued 
 And silenced, wont above the empty dead 
 To bark insatiate, while they tore unfed 
 The writhing shadows. 
 The straight persistent rain, 
 That altered never, had pressed the miry plain 
 With flattened shades that in their emptiness 
 Still showed as bodies. We might not here progress 
 Except we trod them. Of them all...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...ra s? malvagia e ria,
che mai non empie la bramosa voglia,
e dopo 'l pasto ha pi? fame che pria .

her nature is so squalid, so malicious
that she can never sate her greedy will;
when she has fed, she's hungrier than ever.

Molti son li animali a cui s'ammoglia,
e pi? saranno ancora, infin che 'l veltro
verr?, che la far? morir con doglia .

She mates with many living souls and shall
yet mate with many more, until the Greyhound
arrives, inflicting painful death o...Read More

by Philips, Katherine equally,
And its own laws will still maintain,
Rewarded soon her cruelty
With a deserv'd and mighty pain:
About this squalid heap of bones,
Her wand'ring and condemned shade,
Laments in long and piercing groans
The destiny her rigour made,
And the more to augment her right,
Her crime is ever in her sight.


There upon antique marbles trac'd,
Devices of past times we see,
Here age ath almost quite defac'd,
What lovers carv'd on every tree.
The cellar, here, the ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...reheads, vacant of our glorious gains,
Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with lower pains! 

Mated with a squalid savage--what to me were sun or clime?
I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time-- 

I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon! 

Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing groo...Read More

by Henley, William Ernest
...Out of the poisonous East,
Over a continent of blight,
Like a maleficent Influence released
From the most squalid cellerage of hell,
The Wind-Fiend, the abominable--
The Hangman Wind that tortures temper and light--
Comes slouching, sullen and obscene,
Hard on the skirts of the embittered night;
And in a cloud unclean
Of excremental humours, roused to strife
By the operation of some ruinous change,
Wherever his evil mandate run and range,
Into a dire intensity o...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
Creep from their caves to life again;

And Reason kens he herits in
A haunted house. Tenants unknown
Assert their squalid lease of sin
With earlier title than his own.

Unbodied presences, the packed
Pollution and remorse of Time,
Slipped from oblivion re-enact
The horrors of unhousehold crime.

Some men would quell the thing with prayer
Whose sightless footsteps pad the floor,
Whose fearful trespass mounts the stair
Or burst the locked forbidden door.

Some...Read More

by Emerson, Ralph Waldo
With heart of cat, and eyes of bug,
Dull victim of his pipe and mug;
Woe is me for my hopes' downfall!
Lord! is yon squalid peasant all
That this proud nursery could breed
For God's vicegerency and stead?
Time out of mind this forge of ores,
Quarry of spars in mountain pores,
Old cradle, hunting ground, and bier
Of wolf and otter, bear, and deer;
Well-built abode of many a race;
Tower of observance searching space;
Factory of river, and of rain;
Link in the alps' globe-gi...Read More

by Whittier, John Greenleaf
...e black and white alike; 
Scatter before their swift advance 
The darkness and the ignorance, 
The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth, 
Which nurtured Treason's monstrous growth, 
Made murder pastime, and the hell 
Of prison-torture possible; 
The cruel lie of caste refute, 
Old forms remould, and substitute 
For Slavery's lash the freeman's will, 
For blind routine, wise-handed skill; 
A school-house plant on every hill, 
Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence 
The quick w...Read More

by Paterson, Andrew Barton
...nd skilled, 
Within our cities idle stand, 
And cry aloud for leave to toil. 

The stunted children come and go 
In squalid lanes and alleys black: 
We follow but the beaten track 
Of other nations, and we grow 
In wealth for some -- for many, woe. 

And it may be that we who live 
In this new land apart, beyond 
The hard old world grown fierce and fond 
And bound by precedent and bond, 
May read the riddle right, and give 
New hope to those who dimly see 
That all th...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord) nearly drain'd 
His ill got treasure, soon replaced. 
Wouldst question whence? Survey the waste, 
And ask the squalid peasant how 
His gains repay his broiling brow! — 
Why me the stern usurper spared, 
Why thus with me the palace shared, 
I know not. Shame, regret, remorse, 
And little fear from infant's force; 
Besides, adoption of a son 
Of him whom Heaven accorded none, 
Or some unknown cabal, caprice, 
Preserved me thus; but not in peace; 
He cannot curb hi...Read More

by Lawson, Henry and you travelled like a gent; 
And you curse the trams and buses and the turmoil and the push, 
Though you know the squalid city needn't keep you from the bush; 
But we lately heard you singing of the `plains where shade is not', 
And you mentioned it was dusty -- `all was dry and all was hot'. 

True, the bush `hath moods and changes' -- and the bushman hath 'em, too, 
For he's not a poet's dummy -- he's a man, the same as you; 
But his back is growing rounder -- sla...Read More

by Turner Smith, Charlotte
...ould Disease,
Born of chill wintry rains, arrest his arm,
Then, thro' his patch'd and straw-stuff'd casement, peeps
The squalid figure of extremest Want;
And from the Parish the reluctant dole,
Dealt by th' unfeeling farmer, hardly saves
The ling'ring spark of life from cold extinction:
Then the bright Sun of Spring, that smiling bids
All other animals rejoice, beholds,
Crept from his pallet, the emaciate wretch
Attempt, with feeble effort, to resume
Some heavy task, above hi...Read More

by Southey, Robert
...rrow for forlorn humanity.
Yes I will weep, but not that thou art come
To the stern Sabbath of the silent tomb:
For squalid Want, and the black scorpion Care,
Heart-withering fiends! shall never enter there.
I sorrow for the ills thy life has known
As thro' the world's long pilgrimage, alone,
Haunted by Poverty and woe-begone,
Unloved, unfriended, thou didst journey on:
Thy youth in ignorance and labour past,
And thine old age all barrenness and blast!
Hard was thy Fa...Read More

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