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Famous Stroke Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Donne, John
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell; 
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well 
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? 
One short sleep past, we wake eternally, 
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die. 
...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...he shrinking mimosa,
So, at the hoof-beats of fate, with sad forebodings of evil,
Shrinks and closes the heart, ere the stroke of doom has attained it.
But Evangeline's heart was sustained by a vision, that faintly
Floated before her eyes, and beckoned her on through the moonlight.
It was the thought of her brain that assumed the shape of a phantom.
Through those shadowy aisles had Gabriel wandered before her,
And every stroke of the oar now brought him nearer and...Read More

by Alighieri, Dante
...o understand 
 A Messenger of Heaven he came. My guide 
 Signed me to silence, and to reverence due, 
 While to one stroke of his indignant wand 
 The gate swung open. "Outcast spawn!" he cried, 
 His voice heard vibrant through the aperture grim, 
 "Why spurn ye at the Will that, once defied, 
 Here cast ye grovelling? Have ye felt from Him 
 Aught ever for fresh revolt but harder pains? 
 Has Cerberus' throat, skinned with the threefold chains, 
 No meaning? Why, to...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...r near his own or other's tomb; 
With hand, whose almost careless coolness spoke 
Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke; 
With eye, though calm, determined not to spare, 
Did Lara too his willing weapon bare. 
In vain the circling chieftains round them closed, 
For Otho's frenzy would not be opposed; 
And from his lip those words of insult fell — 
His sword is good who can maintain them well. 


Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash, 
Vain Otho...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
...did he rise, thrice the vain tumult fled, 
But again thunders, when he lies in bed. 
His mind secure does the known stroke repeat 
And finds the drums Louis's march did beat. 

Shake then the room, and all his curtains tear 
And with blue streaks infect the taper clear, 
While the pale ghosts his eye does fixed admire 
Of grandsire Harry and of Charles his sire. 
Harry sits down, and in his open side 
The grisly wound reveals of which he died, 
And ghastly Charles...Read More

by Milton, John
False fugitive; and to thy speed add wings, 
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue 
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart 
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." 
 So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape, 
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold, 
More dreadful and deform. On th' other side, 
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood 
Unterrified, and like a comet burned, 
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge 
In th' arctic sky, a...Read More

by Milton, John
...ounced that day? 
Which he presumes already vain and void, 
Because not yet inflicted, as he feared, 
By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find 
Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end. 
Justice shall not return as bounty scorned. 
But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee, 
Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferred 
All judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell. 
Easy it may be seen that I intend 
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee 
Man's fr...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...ike the child's book to read,
Or like a friend's face seen in a glass;
He looked; and there Our Lady was,
She stood and stroked the tall live grass
As a man strokes his steed.

Her face was like an open word
When brave men speak and choose,
The very colours of her coat
Were better than good news.

She spoke not, nor turned not,
Nor any sign she cast,
Only she stood up straight and free,
Between the flowers in Athelney,
And the river running past.

One dim ancestra...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...Christian cannon piecemeal rent; 
Nay, tamely view old Stamboul's wall 
Before the dogs of Moscow fall, 
Nor strike one stroke for life or death 
Against the curs of Nazareth! 
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...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
...e!  The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host  Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke  To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish toss'd,  Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost!   Yet does that burst of woe congeal my frame,  When the dark streets appeared to heave and gape,  While like a sea the storming army came,  And Fire from hell ...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...the country pleasant on all sides,
And to kind salutation give good heed:
I ride as one who for his pleasure rides,
And stroke the neck of my delighted steed,
And seek what cheer the village inn provides. 

An idle June day on the sunny Thames,
Floating or rowing as our fancy led,
Now in the high beams basking as we sped,
Now in green shade gliding by mirror'd stems;
By lock and weir and isle, and many a spot
Of memoried pleasure, glad with strength and skill,
Friendsh...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Well, I will tell thee: "O King, my liege," he said, 
"Hath Gawain failed in any quest of thine? 
When have I stinted stroke in foughten field? 
But as for thine, my good friend Percivale, 
Thy holy nun and thou have driven men mad, 
Yea, made our mightiest madder than our least. 
But by mine eyes and by mine ears I swear, 
I will be deafer than the blue-eyed cat, 
And thrice as blind as any noonday owl, 
To holy virgins in their ecstasies, 

`"Deafe...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
...nbsp;Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,  The clock gives warning for eleven;  'Tis on the stroke—"If Johnny's near,"  Quoth Betty "he will soon be here,  As sure as there's a moon in heaven."   The clock is on the stroke of twelve,  And Johnny is not yet in sight,  The moon's in heaven, as Betty sees,  But Betty is not quite at ease;  And ...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...te breme*, as it were bulles two. *fiercely
The brighte swordes wente to and fro
So hideously, that with the leaste stroke
It seemed that it woulde fell an oak,
But what they were, nothing yet he wote*. *knew
This Duke his courser with his spurres smote,
*And at a start* he was betwixt them two, *suddenly*
And pulled out a sword and cried, "Ho!
No more, on pain of losing of your head.
By mighty Mars, he shall anon be dead
That smiteth any stroke, that I may see!
B...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
     For seldom, sure, if e'er before,
     His noble hand had grasped an oar:
     Yet with main strength his strokes he drew,
     And o'er the lake the shallop flew;
     With heads erect and whimpering cry,
     The hounds behind their passage ply.
     Nor frequent does the bright oar break
     The darkening mirror of the lake,
     Until the rocky isle they reach,
     And moor their shallop on the beach.

     The stranger viewed the shore...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
...haste. I let my hands run over her body,
through her hair. I mounted. It was hot, and tight. I began to stroke slowly, wanting to
make it last. Her eyes looked directly into mine. 
"What's your name?" I asked. 
"What the hell difference does it make?" she asked. 
I laughed and went on ahead. Afterwards she dressed and I drove her back to the bar but
she was difficult to forget. I wasn't working and I slept until 2 p.m. then got ...Read More

by Schiller, Friedrich von
...evice is loosened;
Into the mountain's abyss boldly the miner descends.
Mulciber's anvil resounds with the measured stroke of the hammer;
Under the fist's nervous blow, spurt out the sparks of the steel.
Brilliantly twines the golden flax round the swift-whirling spindles,
Through the strings of the yarn whizzes the shuttle away.

Far in the roads the pilot calls, and the vessels are waiting,
That to the foreigner's land carry the produce of home;
Others gladly ap...Read More

by Eliot, T S (Thomas Stearns)
...ed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying "Stetson!
"You who were with me in the ships at Mylae! 
"That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
"Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
"Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
"Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
"Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey wise man needeth for to wed,
Nor no man that intendeth unto heaven.
With wilde thunder dint* and fiery leven** * stroke **lightning
Mote* thy wicked necke be to-broke. *may
Thou say'st, that dropping houses, and eke smoke,
And chiding wives, make men to flee
Out of their owne house; ah! ben'dicite,
What aileth such an old man for to chide?
Thou say'st, we wives will our vices hide,
Till we be fast,* and then we will them shew. *wedded
Well may that be a proverb...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
After whose stroke the wood rings, 
And the echoes! 
Echoes traveling 
Off from the center like horses. 

The sap 
Wells like tears, like the 
Water striving 
To re-establish its mirror 
Over the rock 

That drops and turns, 
A white skull, 
Eaten by weedy greens. 
Years later I 
Encounter them on the road--- 

Words dry and riderless, 
The ind...Read More

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