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Famous Struggle Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Poe, Edgar Allan
...d seas of rays that roll
Empyrean splendor o'er th' unchained soul-
The soul that scarce (the billows are so dense)
Can struggle to its destin'd eminence,-
To distant spheres, from time to time, she rode
And late to ours, the favor'd one of God-
But, now, the ruler of an anchor'd realm,
She throws aside the sceptre- leaves the helm,
And, amid incense and high spiritual hymns,
Laves in quadruple light her angel limbs.

Now happiest, loveliest in yon lovely Earth,
Whence sp...Read More

by Jeffers, Robinson
...You are far
From Dante's feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs....Read More

by Hugo, Victor
...crawling on your stumps, I say,— 
 But now die fast." 
 Ghastly, with starting eyes, 
 The King without a cry or struggle dies. 
 One dead—but lo! the other stands bold-faced, 
 Defiant; for the knight, when he unlaced 
 His cuirass, had his trusty sword laid down, 
 And Sigismond now grasps it as his own. 
 The monster-youth laughed at the silv'ry beard, 
 And, sword in hand, a murderer glad appeared. 
 Crossing his arms, he cried, "'Tis my turn now!" 
 And th...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...s humanity is God's Personality,
and communion with him is the life of the soul.
Of which living ideas (when in the struggle of thought
harden'd by language they became symbols of faith)
Reason builded her maze, wherefrom none should escape,
wandering intent to map and learn her tortuous clews,
chanting their clerkly creed to the high-echoing stones
of their hand-fashion'd temple: but the Wind of heav'n
bloweth where it listeth, and Christ yet walketh the earth,
and talke...Read More

by Keats, John
...; I will give command:
Thea! Thea! Thea! where is Saturn?"
This passion lifted him upon his feet,
And made his hands to struggle in the air,
His Druid locks to shake and ooze with sweat,
His eyes to fever out, his voice to cease.
He stood, and heard not Thea's sobbing deep;
A little time, and then again he snatch'd
Utterance thus.---"But cannot I create?
Cannot I form? Cannot I fashion forth
Another world, another universe,
To overbear and crumble this to nought?
Wher...Read More

by Brodsky, Joseph
...second-rate years,
I proudly admit that my finest ideas
are second-rate, and may the future take them
as trophies of my struggle against suffocation.
I sit in the dark. And it would be hard to figure out
which is worse; the dark inside, or the darkness out....Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...own he wound. 
His presence haunted still; and from the breast 
He forced an all-unwilling interest; 
Vain was the struggle in that mental net, 
His spirit seem'd to dare you to forget! 


There is a festival, where knights and dames, 
And aught that wealth or lofty lineage claims, 
Appear — a high-born and a welcomed guest 
To Otho's hall came Lara with the rest. 
The long carousal shakes the illumined hall, 
Well speeds alike the banquet and the ball; 
And...Read More

by Dyke, Henry Van
...d of song:
Bear me upon thy breast
In rapture and at rest,
Bathe me in pure delight and make me strong;
From strife and struggle bring release,
And draw the waves of passion into tides of peace.

Remember'd songs, most dear,
In living songs I hear,
While blending voices gently swing and sway
In melodies of love,
Whose mighty currents move,
With singing near and singing far away;
Sweet in the glow of morning light,
And sweeter still across the starlit gulf of night.

M...Read More

by Collins, Billy
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.

The 1790's will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without s...Read More

by Keats, John
...r of both  
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? 
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? 
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? 
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 10 

Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard 
Are sweeter; therefore ye soft pipes play on; 
Not to the sensual ear but more endear'd  
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: 
Fair youth beneath the trees thou canst not leave 15 
Thy song nor ever can those trees be bare; 
Bold Love...Read More

by Milton, John
...hurried back to fire. 
They ferry over this Lethean sound 
Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment, 
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach 
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose 
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, 
All in one moment, and so near the brink; 
But Fate withstands, and, to oppose th' attempt, 
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards 
The ford, and of itself the water flies 
All taste of living wight, as once it fled 
The lip of Tantalus...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...and lonesome heart—the tender, gloomy heart?
Joy of the solitary walk—the spirit bowed yet proud—the suffering and the
The agonistic throes, the extasies—joys of the solemn musings, day or night? 
Joys of the thought of Death—the great spheres Time and Space? 
Prophetic joys of better, loftier love’s ideals—the Divine Wife—the sweet,
 eternal, perfect Comrade? 
Joys all thine own, undying one—joys worthy thee, O Soul.

O, while I live, to be the ruler of li...Read More

by Bronte, Anne
...nd soul had sunk subdued.

Often, in my wild impatience,
I have lost my trust in Heaven,
And my soul has tossed and struggled,
Like a vessel tempest-driven;

But the voice of my beloved
In my ear has seemed to say --
'O, be patient if thou lov'st me!'
And the storm has passed away.

When outworn with weary thinking,
Sight and thought were waxing dim,
And my mind began to wander,
And my brain began to swim,

Then those hands outstretched to save me
Seemed to call me ba...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...he customs, speaking not a syllable of itself,
Speaking of anything else, but never of itself. 

Allons! through struggles and wars! 
The goal that was named cannot be countermanded. 

Have the past struggles succeeded? 
What has succeeded? yourself? your nation? nature?
Now understand me well—It is provided in the essence of things, that from any fruition of
 no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary. 

My call i...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
His band are plunging in the bay, 
Their sabres glitter through the spray; 
We — wild — unwearied to the strand 
They struggle — now they touch the land! 
They come — 'tis but to add to slaughter — 
His heart's best blood is on the water! 


Escaped from shot, unharm'd by steel, 
Or scarcely grazed its force to feel, 
Had Selim won, betray'd, beset, 
To where the strand and billows met: 
There as his last step left the land, 
And the last death-blow dealt his hand...Read More

by Lowell, Amy
"Maestro" were for sale. The town was mad.
Only Charlotta felt depressed and sad.
Each day now brought a struggle 'twixt her will
And Heinrich's. 'Twixt her love for Theodore
And him. Sometimes she wished to kill
Herself to solve her problem. For a score
Of reasons Heinrich tempted her. He bore
Her moods with patience, and so surely urged
Himself upon her, she was slowly merged
Into his way of thinking, and to fly
With him seemed easy. But n...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...he strand of Brittany 
Between Isolt of Britain and his bride, 
And showed them both the ruby-chain, and both 
Began to struggle for it, till his Queen 
Graspt it so hard, that all her hand was red. 
Then cried the Breton, `Look, her hand is red! 
These be no rubies, this is frozen blood, 
And melts within her hand--her hand is hot 
With ill desires, but this I gave thee, look, 
Is all as cool and white as any flower.' 
Followed a rush of eagle's wings, and then 
A wh...Read More

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
And so have left him as death leaves a child, 
Who sees it all too near; 
And he who knows no young way to forget
May struggle to the tomb unreconciled. 
Whatever suns may rise or set 
There may be nothing kinder for him here 
Than shafts and agonies; 
And under these
He may cry out and stay on horribly; 
Or, seeing in death too small a thing to fear, 
He may go forward like a stoic Roman 
Where pangs and terrors in his pathway lie,— 
Or, seizing the swift logic of a wo...Read More

by Hughes, Langston in the right, let none push you back. 
Remember the whip and the slaver's track. 
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife 
Still bar you the way, and deny you life -- 
But march ever forward, breaking down bars. 
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars. 
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers 
Impel you forever up the great stairs -- 
For I will be with you till no white brother 
Dares keep down the children of the ***** Mother....Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna

x x x

Like a white stone at the bottom of the well,
One memory lies in me.
I cannot and I do not want to struggle,
It is both joy and suffering.

I think that anyone who looks into my
Eyes will all at once see him.
More sad and pensive he'll become
That heard the story of this suffering.

I know that the gods had turned
People to objects, without killing mind,
That divine sadness lived eternally.
You're turned into my memory, I find.<...Read More

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