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Poems About Fate

Table of Contents

  1. Superiority to Fate by Emily Dickinson
  2. We never know we go, — when we are going by Emily Dickinson
  3. A Man by Emily Dickinson
  4. Fate Defied by Adelaide Crapsey
  5. Fate by Francis Bret Harte
  6. Resolution by Ruby Archer
  7. Destiny by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  8. One Life by Laurence Dunbar
  9. Invictus by William Ernest Henley
  10. Regret by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  1. Superiority to Fate

    by Emily Dickinson

    Superiority to fate
    Is difficult to learn.
    'T is not conferred by any,
    But possible to earn

    A pittance at a time,
    Until, to her surprise,
    The soul with strict economy
    Subsists till Paradise.

  2. We never know we go, — when we are going

    by Emily Dickinson

    We never know we go, — when we are going
    We jest and shut the door;
    Fate following behind us bolts it,
    And we accost no more.

  3. A Man

    by Emily Dickinson

    Fate slew him, but he did not drop;
    She felled — he did not fall —
    Impaled him on her fiercest stakes —
    He neutralized them all.

    She stung him, sapped his firm advance,
    But, when her worst was done,
    And he, unmoved, regarded her,
    Acknowledged him a man.

  4. Fate Defied

    by Adelaide Crapsey

    As it
    Were tissue of silver
    I'll wear, O fate, thy grey,
    And go mistily radiant, clad
    Like the moon.

  5. Fate

    Francis Bret Harte (b. 1839,—) was born in Albany, N.Y. When seventeen years old he went to California, where he engaged in various employments. He was a teacher, was employed in government offices, worked in the gold mines, and learned to be a compositor in a printing office. In 1868 he started the "Overland Monthly," and his original and characteristic poems and sketches soon made it a popular magazine. Mr. Harte has been a contributor to some of the leading periodicals of the country, but principally to the "Atlantic Monthly."

    "The sky is clouded, the rocks are bare;
    The spray of the tempest is white in air;
    The winds are out with the waves at play,
    And I shall not tempt the sea to-day.

    "The trail is narrow, the wood is dim,
    The panther clings to the arching limb;
    And the lion's whelps are abroad at play,
    And I shall not join in the chase to-day."

    But the ship sailed safely over the sea,
    And the hunters came from the chase in glee;
    And the town that was builded upon a rock
    Was swallowed up in the earthquake shock.

  6. Resolution

    by Ruby Archer

    The waves oppose the cliffs with daily force,
    And fall resisted back along their course.
    My soul opposes fate with daily will,
    And falls resisted back, defeated still,
    With gathered strength returning, like the waves,
    To wrest complete dominion that it craves.
    The cliffs are stone, and stone will wear away.
    Spirit shall rule, and fate itself obey.

  7. Destiny

    by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

    Three roses, wan as moonlight and weighed down
    Each with its loveliness as with a crown,
    Drooped in a florist's window in a town.

    The first a lover bought. It lay at rest,
    Like flower on flower, that night, on Beauty's breast.

    The second rose, as virginal and fair,
    Shrunk in the tangles of a harlot's hair.

    The third, a widow, with new grief made wild,
    Shut in the icy palm of her dead child.

  8. One Life

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Oh, I am hurt to death, my Love;
    The shafts of Fate have pierced my striving heart,
    And I am sick and weary of
    The endless pain and smart.
    My soul is weary of the strife,
    And chafes at life, and chafes at life.

    Time mocks me with fair promises;
    A blooming future grows a barren past,
    Like rain my fair full-blossomed trees
    Unburden in the blast.
    The harvest fails on grain and tree,
    Nor comes to me, nor comes to me.

    The stream that bears my hopes abreast
    Turns ever from my way its pregnant tide.
    My laden boat, torn from its rest,
    Drifts to the other side.
    So all my hopes are set astray,
    And drift away, and drift away.

    The lark sings to me at the morn,
    And near me wings her skyward-soaring flight;
    But pleasure dies as soon as born,
    The owl takes up the night,
    And night seems long and doubly dark;
    I miss the lark, I miss the lark.

    Let others labor as they may,
    I'll sing and sigh alone, and write my line.
    Their fate is theirs, or grave or gay,
    And mine shall still be mine.
    I know the world holds joy and glee,
    But not for me, — 't is not for me.


    Time mocks me with fair promises;
    A blooming future grows a barren past,
    Like rain my fair full-blossomed trees
    Unburden in the blast.
    The harvest fails on grain and tree,
    Nor comes to me, nor comes to me.

    – Laurence Dunbar
    One Life
  9. Invictus

    by William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

  10. Regret

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    There is a haunting phantom called Regret,
    A shadowy creature robed somewhat like Wo,
    But fairer in the face, whom all men know
    By her sad mien, and eyes forever wet.
    No heart would seek her; but once having met,
    All take her by the hand, and to and fro
    They wander through those paths of long ago—
    Those hallowed ways 'twere wiser to forget.

    One day she led me to that lost land's gate
    And bade me enter; but I answered "No!
    I will pass on with my bold comrade Fate;
    I have no tears to waste on thee—no time—
    My strength I hoard for heights I hope to climb,
    No friend art thou, for souls that would be great."

    All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
    Some with ornaments of rhyme.

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Builders