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Famous Top Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Shakespeare, William
...ister of lies,
What unapproved witness dost thou bear!
Ink would have seem'd more black and damned here!'
This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,
Big discontent so breaking their contents.

A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh--
Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest hours, observed as they flew--
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew,
And, privileged by age, desires to know
In brief the grounds and mot...Read More

by Brackenridge, Hugh Henry
...shaded earth; now on swift wings 
The rosy hours brought on in beauty mild, 
The day-spring from on high, and from the top 
Of some fair mount Chaldean shepherds view 
That orient star which Beor's son beheld, 
From Aram east, and mark'd its lucid ray, 
Shedding sweet influence on Judah's land. 
Now o'er the plain of Bethl'em to the swains 
Who kept their flocks beneath the dews of night, 
A light appears expressive of that day 
More general, which o'er the shaded earth ...Read More

by Pope, Alexander

Hear how learn'd Greece her useful Rules indites,
When to repress, and when indulge our Flights:
High on Parnassus' Top her Sons she show'd,
And pointed out those arduous Paths they trod,
Held from afar, aloft, th' Immortal Prize,
And urg'd the rest by equal Steps to rise;
Just Precepts thus from great Examples giv'n,
She drew from them what they deriv'd from Heav'n
The gen'rous Critick fann'd the Poet's Fire,
And taught the World, with Reason to Admire.
Then Criticis...Read More

by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...zed the gleeds and the burning thatch, and, uplifting,
Whirled them aloft through the air, at once from a hundred house-tops
Started the sheeted smoke with flashes of flame intermingled.

These things beheld in dismay the crowd on the shore and on shipboard.
Speechless at first they stood, then cried aloud in their anguish,
"We shall behold no more our homes in the village of Grand-Pre!"
Loud on a sudden the cocks began to crow in the farm-yards,
Thinking the day had ...Read More

by Keats, John
...Of Ops the queen; all clouded round from sight,
No shape distinguishable, more than when
Thick night confounds the pine-tops with the clouds:
And many else whose names may not be told.
For when the Muse's wings are air-ward spread,
Who shall delay her flight? And she must chaunt
Of Saturn, and his guide, who now had climb'd
With damp and slippery footing from a depth
More horrid still. Above a sombre cliff
Their heads appear'd, and up their stature grew
Till on the le...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."...Read More

by Milton, John
 Thus they their doubtful consultations dark 
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief: 
As, when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds 
Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread 
Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element 
Scowls o'er the darkened landscape snow or shower, 
If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet, 
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive, 
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds 
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings....Read More

by Milton, John
...till advance his praise. 
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow, 
Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines, 
With every plant, in sign of worship wave. 
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow, 
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise. 
Join voices, all ye living Souls: Ye Birds, 
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend, 
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise. 
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk 
The earth, and stat...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
I hear the chirp of the Mexican muleteer, and the bells of the mule; 
I hear the Arab muezzin, calling from the top of the mosque; 
I hear the Christian priests at the altars of their churches—I hear the responsive bass
I hear the wail of utter despair of the white-hair’d Irish grandparents, when they learn
 of their grandson; 
I hear the cry of the Cossack, and the sailor’s voice, putting to sea at Okotsk; 
I hear the wheeze of the slave-co...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...ain, like a wall of burs and thorns;
But she with her strong feet up the steep hill
Trod out a path: I follow'd; and at top
She pointed seaward: there a fleet of glass,
That seem'd a fleet of jewels under me,
Sailing along before a gloomy cloud
That not one moment ceased to thunder, past
In sunshine: right across its track there lay,
Down in the water, a long reef of gold,
Or what seem'd gold: and I was glad at first
To think that in our often-ransack'd world
Still so much go...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read? 
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? 

Stop this day and night with me, and you shall possess the origin of all poems;
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun—(there are millions of suns
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the
 eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books; 
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things...Read More

by Masefield, John
...e five pounds a side." 
Those were the words, that was the place 
By which God brought me into grace. 

On Wood Top Field the peewits go 
Mewing and wheeling ever so; 
And like the shaking of a timbrel 
Cackles the laughter of the whimbrel.. 

In the old quarry-pit they say 
Head-keeper Pike was made away. 
He walks, head-keeper Pike, for harm, 
He taps the windows of the farm; 
The blood drips from his broken chin, 
He taps and begs to be let in. 
On ...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...n banks, surprise
The silence: over plains in the moonlight bare
I chase my shadow, and perch where no bird dare
In treetops torn by fiercest winds of the skies. 
Poor simple birds, foolish birds! then I cry,
Ye pretty pictures of delight, unstir'd
By the only joy of knowing that ye fly;
Ye are not what ye are, but rather, sum'd in a word,
The alphabet of a god's idea, and I
Who master it, I am the only bird. 

O weary pilgrims, chanting of your woe,
That turn your...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...I was left alone 
And wearying in a land of sand and thorns. 

`And I rode on and found a mighty hill, 
And on the top, a city walled: the spires 
Pricked with incredible pinnacles into heaven. 
And by the gateway stirred a crowd; and these 
Cried to me climbing, "Welcome, Percivale! 
Thou mightiest and thou purest among men!" 
And glad was I and clomb, but found at top 
No man, nor any voice. And thence I past 
Far through a ruinous city, and I saw 
That man had...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
 As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
 By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
 That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
 What I tell you three times is true."

 The crew was complete: it included a Boots--
 A maker of Bonnets and Hoods--
A Barrister, brought to arrange their...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...he night, making his moan.
And if he hearde song or instrument,
Then would he weepen, he might not be stent*. *stopped
So feeble were his spirits, and so low,
And changed so, that no man coulde know
His speech, neither his voice, though men it heard.
And in his gear* for all the world he far'd *behaviour 
Not only like the lovers' malady
Of Eros, but rather y-like manie* *madness
Engender'd of humours melancholic,
Before his head in his cell fantastic....Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)> 


The very cherubs huddled all together, 
Like birds when soars the falcon; and they felt 
A tingling to the top of every feather, 
And form'd a circle like Orion's belt 
Around their poor old charge; who scarce knew whither 
His guards had led him, though they gently dealt 
With royal manes (for by many stories, 
And true, we learn the angels all are Tories.) 


As things were in this posture, the gate flew 
Asunder, and the flashing of its hinges 
Flun...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...he war of 1812 seems to me
About as just as a war could be.
How could we help but come to grips
With a nation that stopped and searched our ships,
And took off our seamen for no other reason
Except that they needed crews that season.
I can get angry still at the tale
Of their letting the Alabama sail,
And Palmerston being insolent
To Lincoln and Seward over the Trent.
All very long ago, you'll say,
But whenever I go up Boston-way,
I drive through Concord—that neck...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia
I remember a white, cold wing

And the great swan, with its terrible look,
Coming at me, like a castle, from the top of the river.
There is a snake in swans.
He glided by; his eye had a black meaning.
I saw the world in it--small, mean and black,
Every little word hooked to every little word, and act to act.
A hot blue day had budded into something.

I wasn't ready. The white clouds rearing
Aside were dragging me in four directions.
I wasn't...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...d on the swamplands bakes.
Today even birds did not sing songs
And the aspen-tree does not shake.

Sun has stopped in divine displeasure
Easter rain did not pelt fields hard.
A one-legged passerby came here
And alone said in the yard:

"Awful times near. For freshly dug graves
There will be not be enough place soon.
Expect pest, expect plague, expect coward,
And eclipses of Sun and Moon.

But the enemy won't get to divide
Our lands for h...Read More

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