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Famous Vain Attempt Poems by Famous Poets

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

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by Benet, Stephen Vincent a leaping knife, 
The flame, the noble pageant of our life! 
The burning seal that stamps man's high indenture 
To vain attempt and most forlorn adventure; 
Romance, and purple seas, and toppling towns, 
And the wind's valiance crying o'er the downs; 
That nerves the silly hand, the feeble brain, 
From the loose net of words to deeds again 
And to all courage! Perilous and sharp 
The last chord shook me as wind shakes a harp! 
. . . And my friend swung round ...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
..., and with ambitious aim 
Against the throne and monarchy of God, 
Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud, 
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power 
Hurled headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, 
With hideous ruin and combustion, down 
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell 
In adamantine chains and penal fire, 
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms. 
 Nine times the space that measures day and night 
To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew, 
Lay vanquished...Read more of this...

by Petrarch, Francesco
...o turnOn which I lived, for which I burn and pine.Though since, the vain attempt has oft been mineThat future ages from my song should learnHer heavenly beauties, and like me should burn,My poor verse fails her sweet face to define.The gifts, though all her own, which others share,Which were but s...Read more of this...

by Marvell, Andrew
...o the Mine?
While, with feign'd Treaties, they invade by stealth
Our sore new circumcised Common wealth.
Yet of his vain Attempt no more he sees
Then of Case-Butter shot and Bullet-Cheese.
And the torn Navy stagger'd with him home,
While the Sea laught it self into a foam,
'Tis true since that (as fortune kindly sports,)
A wholesome Danger drove us to our ports.
While half their banish'd keels the Tempest tost,
Half bound at home in Prison to the frost:
That ours ...Read more of this...

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