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Famous Surly Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Burns, Robert
...ING on, sweet thrush, upon the leafless bough,
 Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain,
 See aged Winter, ’mid his surly reign,
At thy blythe carol, clears his furrowed brow.

So in lone Poverty’s dominion drear,
 Sits meek Content with light, unanxious heart;
 Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part,
Nor asks if they bring ought to hope or fear.

I thank thee, Author of this opening day!
 Thou whose bright sun now gilds yon orient skies!
 Riches denied, thy...Read More

by Keats, John
...front death-pale,
With turrets crown'd. Four maned lions hale
The sluggish wheels; solemn their toothed maws,
Their surly eyes brow-hidden, heavy paws
Uplifted drowsily, and nervy tails
Cowering their tawny brushes. Silent sails
This shadowy queen athwart, and faints away
In another gloomy arch.

 Wherefore delay,
Young traveller, in such a mournful place?
Art thou wayworn, or canst not further trace
The diamond path? And does it indeed end
Abrupt in middle air? Y...Read More

by Gregory, Rg
palmerston's perverted gunboat up the
yangtse's **** - lloyd george and winston churchill
rubbing men like salt into surly wounds
(we won those wars and neatly fucked ourselves)
eden at suez a jacked-up piece of wool
macmillan sprinkling cliches where the black
blood boils (the ashes of his kind) - home
as wan as godot (shagged by birth) wilson
for whom the wind blew sharply once or twice
sailing eastwards in the giant's stetson hat
saving jims from the red long john
   gi...Read More

by Pope, Alexander
The hero William, and the martyr Charles,
One knighted Blackmore, and one pension'd Quarles;
Which made old Ben, and surly Dennis swear,
"No Lord's anointed, but a Russian bear."

Not with such majesty, such bold relief,
The forms august, of king, or conqu'ring chief,
E'er swell'd on marble; as in verse have shin'd
(In polish'd verse) the manners and the mind.
Oh! could I mount on the M{ae}onian wing,
Your arms, your actions, your repose to sing!
What seas you tra...Read More

by Marvell, Andrew
...tent on the field; 
Keen Whorwood next, in aid of damsel frail, 
That pierced the giant Mordaunt through his mail; 
And surly Williams, the accountants' bane; 
And Lovelace young, of chimney-men the cane. 
Old Waller, trumpet-general, swore he'd write 
This combat truer than the naval fight. 
How'rd on's birth, wit, strength, courage much presumes 
And in his breast wears many Montezumes. 
These and some more with single valour stay 
The adverse troops, and hold t...Read More

by Hayden, Robert
Celestino ran from below with gun 
and lantern and I saw, before the cane- 
knife's wounding flash, Cinquez, 
that surly brute who calls himself a prince, 
directing, urging on the ghastly work. 
He hacked the poor mulatto down, and then 
he turned on me. The decks were slippery 
when daylight finally came. It sickens me 
to think of what I saw, of how these apes 
threw overboard the butchered bodies of 
our men, true Christians all, like so much jetsam. ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...her’s father, the sailor, told it to me. 

Our foe was no skulk in his ship, I tell you, (said he;) 
His was the surly English pluck—and there is no tougher or truer, and never
 was, and never will be;
Along the lower’d eve he came, horribly raking us. 

We closed with him—the yards entangled—the cannon touch’d; 
My captain lash’d fast with his own hands. 

We had receiv’d some eighteen pound shots under the water; 
On our lower-gun-deck two large piece...Read More

by Shakespeare, William
...No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am...Read More

by Service, Robert William
..... 'neath Millie's skirt.

I stared. had my eyes deceived me? I shivered. I held my breath.
Surly I must have dreamed it. I quivered. I made to rise...
Then - my God! it was real. Millie grew pale as death;
And oh, such a look of terror woke in her lovely eyes.

Did her scream ring out? Ah no, sir. It froze at her very lips.
Clenching her teeth she checked it, and I saw her slim hands lock,
Grasping and gripping ...Read More

by Dyke, Henry Van
...-tops pale, 
I saw the sable birds on every limb, 
Clinging together closely in the shade, 
And croaking placidly their surly hymn. 
But, oh, the little land of peace and love
That those night-loving wings had poised above, --
Where was it gone?
Lost, lost forevermore!
Only a cottage, dull and gray,
In the cold light of dawn,
With iron bars across the door:
Only a garden where the withering heads 
Of flowers, presaging decay, 
Hung over barren beds: 
Only a desolate field...Read More

by Goldsmith, Oliver combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty state
To spurn imploring famine from the gate;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels round befriending Virtue's friend;
Bends to the grave with unperceived decay,
While Resignation gently slopes the way;
All, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His Heaven commences ere the world be past!

Sweet was the sound when...Read More

by Pushkin, Alexander
Down the stream for grave and cross.

Long the dead man as one living
Rocked on waves amid the foam...
Surly as he watched him leaving,
Soon our peasant headed home.
"Come you pups! let's go, don't scatter.
Each of you will get his bun.
But remember: just you chatter --
And I'll whip you, every one."

Dark and stormy it was turning.
High the river ran in gloom.
Now the torch has finished burning
In the peasant's smoky room.
Kids as...Read More

by Turner Smith, Charlotte
...g round her, listens to the sound
Of hostile footsteps---- No! it dies away:
Nor noise remains, but of the cataract,
Or surly breeze of night, that mutters low
Among the thickets, where she trembling seeks
A temporary shelter--clasping close
To her hard-heaving heart, her sleeping child,
All she could rescue of the innocent groupe
That yesterday surrounded her--Escap'd
Almost by miracle! Fear, frantic Fear,
Wing'd her weak feet: yet, half repentant now
Her headlong haste, she...Read More

by Wordsworth, William
...suited me, in journey dark  O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch;  To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark,  Or hang on tiptoe at the lifted latch;  The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match,  The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill,  And ear still busy on its nightly watch,  Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill;  Besides, on griefs so...Read More

by Browning, Robert
The row of crests and shields and banners
Of all achievements after all manners,
And ``ay,'' said the Duke with a surly pride.
The more was his comfort when he died
At next year's end, in a velvet suit,
With a gilt glove on his hand, his foot
In a silken shoe for a leather boot,
Petticoated like a herald,
In a chamher next to an ante-room,
Where he breathed the breath of page and groom,
What he called stink, and they, perfume:
---They should have set him on red Bero...Read More

by Aiken, Conrad
Her eyes were blue; and a purple orchid
Opened its golden heart on her breast . . .
She leaned to the surly languor of lazy music,
Leaned on her partner's arm to rest.
The violins were weaving a weft of silver,
The horns were weaving a lustrous brede of gold,
And time was caught in a glistening pattern,
Time, too elusive to hold . . .

Shadows of leaves fell over her face,—and sunlight:
She turned her face away.
Nearer she moved to a crou...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
There she sees the highway near 
Winding down to Camelot: 50 
There the river eddy whirls, 
And there the surly village-churls, 
And the red cloaks of market girls, 
Pass onward from Shalott. 

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, 55 
An abbot on an ambling pad, 
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad, 
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad, 
Goes by to tower'd Camelot; 
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue 60 
The knights come riding two and two: 
She hath no...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
     Bold Robin Hood and all his band,—
     Friar Tuck with quarterstaff and cowl,
     Old Scathelocke with his surly scowl,
     Maid Marian, fair as ivory bone,
     Scarlet, and Mutch, and Little John;
     Their bugles challenge all that will,
     In archery to prove their skill.
     The Douglas bent a bow of might,—
     His first shaft centred in the white,
     And when in turn he shot again,
     His second split the first in twain.
     From the Ki...Read More

by Dryden, John
...which they pretend; 
Lords envy lords, and friends with every friend 
About their impious merit shall contend. 
The surly Commons shall respect deny 
And justle peerage out with property. 
Their General either shall his trust betray 
And force the crowd to arbitrary sway, 
Or they, suspecting his ambitious aim, 
In hate of kings shall cast anew the frame 
And thrust out Collatine that bore their name. 

Thus inborn broils the factions would engage, 
Or wars of exi...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Wherein the younger Charles abode 
Till all the paths were dim, 
And far below the Roundhead rode, 
And humm'd a surly hymn....Read More

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