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Poems About Pride

Table of Contents

  1. Loss and Gain by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  2. Vanity and Pride by Mart Taylor
  3. From "Pride and Humility" by Ruby Archer
  4. On The Cackling of a Hen by John Bunyan
  5. The Proud Pebble by Anonymous
  6. The Pebble and the Acorn by Hannah Flagg Gould
  7. The Kite; Or, Pride Must Have A Fall by John Newton
  8. Three Hard Words by Anonymous
  9. Independence by Amos Russel Wells
  10. After Wings by Sarah M. B. Piatt
  11. The Butterfly and the Bee by William Lisle Bowles
  12. Bird Egotism by Anonymous
  13. The Dainty Dog by Amos Russel Wells
  14. The Prostrate Pink by Hannah Flagg Gould
  15. Stenography by Anonymous
  16. The Mistaken Anemometer by Amos Russel Wells
  17. A toad can die of light! by Emily Dickinson
  18. The pedigree of honey by Emily Dickinson
  19. High and Low by John B. Tabb
  20. The Silk-Worm's Will by Hannah Flagg Gould
  21. The Foolish Flamingo by Amos Russel Wells
  22. Conceit by Charles Swain
  23. The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls by Thomas Moore
  24. Wolsey's Farewell to his Greatness by John Fletcher
  25. Ozymandias of Egypt by Percy Bysshe Shelley

  1. Loss and Gain

    When I compare
    What I have lost with what I have gained,
    What I have missed with what attained,
    Little room do I find for pride.

    - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    Loss and Gain
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    When I compare
    What I have lost with what I have gained,
    What I have missed with what attained,
    Little room do I find for pride.

    I am aware
    How many days have been idly spent;
    How like an arrow the good intent
    Has fallen short or been turned aside.

    But who shall dare
    To measure loss and gain in this wise?
    Defeat may be victory in disguise;
    The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

  2. Vanity and Pride

    Vanity and Pride...They are weeds of very sudden growth, and, getting once a start,
    They choke the flowers that otherwise would beautify the heart.

    - Mart Taylor
    Vanity and Pride
    by Mart Taylor

    My rhyme is of two little weeds, called Vanity and Pride,
    That in the garden of our hearts are ever side by side.
    They are weeds of very sudden growth, and, getting once a start,
    They choke the flowers that otherwise would beautify the heart.
    They flourish in all seasons, and thrive in every clime.
    They were sown in Eden's garden, and will perish but with time.
    They are weeds that are productive of but very little good,
    And 'tis said the breath of flattery supplies them both with food.

  3. From "Pride and Humility"

    by Ruby Archer

    "Father, see! One stalk bends low,
    With a look ashamed,
    As if having naught to show
    For the life it claimed.

    "But this other, brave and proud,
    Boldly greets the sun.
    I can hear it boast aloud,
    'See how well I've done!'"

    Then the father gathered two,
    Silent all the while,
    Holding both the heads to view
    With a meaning smile.

    To the boy the truth was plain.
    Cried he with a laugh:
    "Why, the bent is bowed with grain,
    And the proud—is chaff!"

  4. On The Cackling of a Hen

    by John Bunyan

    The hen, so soon as she an egg doth lay,
    (Spreads the fame of her doing what she may.)
    About the yard she cackling now doth go,
    To tell what 'twas she at her nest did do.
    Just thus it is with some professing men,
    If they do ought that good is, like our hen
    They can but cackle on't where e'er they go,
    What their right hand doth their left hand must know.

  5. The Proud Pebble

    by Anonymous

    At the top of a slope a pebble lay,
    At the top of a sandy dune;
    And he sung to himself in a lordly way,
    To a slow and majestic tune:

    "Oh, I am the king of the beach below,
    That curves to the north and the south;
    And I am the king of the boats that go
    To the busy harbor's mouth.

    "Yes, I am the king of the swaying tide, And the waves that lightly race;
    And I am the king of the ocean wide
    To the very end of space."

    The pebble looked down from his outlook clear
    On a stone at the foot of the slope.
    "Poor creature," said he, "of a lower sphere,
    Condemned to grovel and grope.

    "But some are made to be stately and grave, And some are born to obey,
    As yonder stone was made for a slave,
    And I was born to hold sway."

    A boy just then, with a kick of his toe,
    Sent the stone some inches aside,
    And down forthwith, reluctant and slow,
    The cliff began to glide.

    Higher and higher the movements reach
    On the dune's steep sloping face,
    Till they touch our pebble of lordly speech,
    And draw it down to the base.

    There it lies by the side of the stone,
    And it has not a word to say
    About the folks who are born to a throne,
    And the folks who are born to obey.

  6. The Pebble and the Acorn

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "I am a Pebble! and yield to none!"
    Were swelling words of a tiny stone,
    "Nor time nor season can alter me;
    I am abiding, while ages flee.
    The pelting hail and the drizzling rain
    Have tried to soften me, long, in vain;
    And the tender dew has sought to melt,
    Or touch my heart; but it was not felt.
    There's none that can tell about my birth,
    For I'm as old as the big, round earth.
    The children of men arise, and pass
    Out of the world, like the blades of grass;
    And many a foot on me has trod,
    That's gone from sight, and under the sod!
    I am a Pebble! but who art thou,
    Rattling along from the restless bough?"

    The Acorn was shocked at this rude salute,
    And lay for a moment abashed and mute;
    She never before had been so near
    This gravelly ball, the mundane sphere;
    And she felt for a time at a loss to know
    How to answer a thing so coarse and low.
    But to give reproof of a nobler sort
    Than the angry look, or the keen retort,

    At length she said, in a gentle tone,
    "Since it has happened that I am thrown
    From the lighter element, where I grew,
    Down to another, so hard and new,
    And beside a personage so august,
    Abased, I will cover my head with dust,
    And quickly retire from the sight of one
    Whom time, nor season, nor storm, nor sun,
    Nor the gentle dew, nor the grinding heel
    Has ever subdued, or made to feel!"
    And soon, in the earth, she sunk away
    From the comfortless spot where the Pebble lay.

    But it was not long ere the soil was broke
    By the peering head of an infant oak!
    And, as it arose and its branches spread,
    The Pebble looked up, and wondering said,
    "A modest Acorn! never to tell
    What was enclosed in its simple shell;
    That the pride of the forest was folded up
    In the narrow space of its little cup!
    And meekly to sink in the darksome earth,
    Which proves that nothing could hide her worth!
    And oh! how many will tread on me,
    To come and admire the beautiful tree,
    Whose head is towering towards the sky,
    Above such a worthless thing as I!
    Useless and vain, a cumberer here,
    I have been idling from year to year.

    But never, from this, shall a vaunting word
    From the humbled Pebble again be heard,
    Till something without me or within,
    Shall show the purpose for which I've been!"
    The Pebble its vow could not forget,
    And it lies there wrapt in silence yet.

  7. The Kite; Or, Pride Must Have A Fall

    by John Newton

    My waking dreams are best conceal'd,
    Much folly, little good, they yield;
    But now and then I gain, when sleeping,
    A friendly hint that's worth the keeping.
    Lately I dreamt of ope who cried,
    "Beware of self, beware of pride;
    When you are prone to build a Babel,
    Recall to mind this little fable."

    Once on a time a paper kite
    Was mounted to a wond'rous height,
    Where, giddy with its elevation,
    It thus express'd self-admiration;
    "See how yon crowds of gazing people
    Admire my flight above the steeple;
    How would they wonder if they knew
    All that a kite like me can do!
    Were I but free, I'd take a flight,
    And pierce the clouds beyond their sight;
    But, ah! like a poor pris'ner bound,
    My string confines me near the ground:
    I'd brave the eagle's towering wing,
    Might I but fly without a string."
    It tugg'd and pull'd, while thus it spoke,
    To break the string:—at last it broke.
    Depriv'd at once of all its stay,
    In vain it tried to soar away;
    Unable its own weight to bear,
    It flutter'd downward through the air;
    Unable its own course to guide,
    The winds soon plung'd it in the tide.
    Ah! foolish kite, thou hadst no wing,
    How couldst thou fly without a string?
    My heart replied, "O Lord, I see
    How much this kite resembles me!
    Forgetful that by thee I stand,
    Impatient of thy ruling hand;
    How oft I've wish'd to break the lines
    Thy wisdom for my lot assigns?
    How oft indulg da vain desire,
    For something more or something higher?
    And, but for grace and love divine,
    A fall thus dreadful had been mine."

  8. Three Hard Words

    by Amos Russel Wells

    He can memorize long orations,
    And regards the work as play;
    His masterful dissertations
    The clearest of thought convey.

    His speeches are never the weaker
    For lack of a suitable word;
    In fine, he's the readiest speaker
    You prohably ever have heard.

    He never was known to stutter,
    His voice is vibrant and strong;
    Yet three words he never can utter,
    Those three little words, "I was wrong."

  9. Independence

    by Amos Russel Wells

    I went to the palace
    A wonderful thing
    I went to the palace
    Called by the King

    A herald would lead me
    But fool in my pride
    I sneered at his offer
    And waved him aside

    How large was the palace
    How loftily grand
    What vistas of chambers
    On every hand!

    I wandered and wandered,
    All proud and alone;
    I wandered and wandered
    But found not the Throne

    And still as I wander
    Ah wearisome thing
    I am in the King's palace
    But far from the King

  10. After Wings

    by Sarah M. B. Piatt

    This was your butterfly, you see,—
    His fine wings made him vain:
    The caterpillars crawl, but he
    Passed them in rich disdain.—
    My pretty boy says, "Let him be
    Only a worm again!"

    O child, when things have learned to wear
    Wings once, they must be fain
    To keep them always high and fair:
    Think of the creeping pain
    Which even a butterfly must bear
    To be a worm again!

  11. The Butterfly and the Bee

    by William Lisle Bowles

    Methought I heard a butterfly
    Say to a laboring bee;
    "Thou hast no colors of the sky
    On painted wings like me."

    "Poor child of vanity! those dyes,
    And colors bright and rare,"
    With mild reproof, the bee replies,
    "Are all beneath my care."

    "Content I toil from morn till eve,
    And, scorning idleness,
    To tribes of gaudy sloth I leave
    The vanity of dress."

  12. Bird Egotism

    by Anonymous

    A vireo sings in the top of the tree
    The whole of the livelong day.
    He sings: "See me! Look at me! See me!"
    And that is all he can say.

    He is well worth looking at, natty and trim
    In his garments of olive green;
    He is hard at work on his leafy limb,
    And he wears the friendliest mien.

    But he sings: "Here, here! Look at me! Look, look!
    See me! Look at me! Do, do!"
    And that is the whole of his wisest book,
    Declaiming it through and through.

    I like his grit, and I like his cheer,
    And surely he's good to see;
    But I own it is tiresome forever to hear;
    "See me! Look at me! See me!"

  13. The Dainty Dog

    by Amos Russel Wells

    A dainty dog had chanced to note
    The breakfast of a greedy goat,—
    Half-rotten grass, a shocking pile.
    "Fie!" said the dog; "what wretched style!
    Good taste demands, you clownish beast,
    A dish to eat from, at the least.
    And as for food, that garbage foul
    Would even make a camel scowl,
    Would make a very buzzard groan,
    Would —" Here the goat laid bare a hone,
    Which when our dainty dog had spied,
    "Your pardon, friend!" the critic cried;
    "I'm quite near-sighted, neighbor mine.
    I see your meal is fair and fine.
    Invite me, pray, with you to dine!"

  14. The Prostrate Pink

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Alas! alas! a silly Pink,
    To climb so fast, and never think
    How feeble was my trust!
    I sought a high and airy throne;
    Aspired too far to stand alone;
    And now, in lowliness, must own
    My kindred with the dust!

    O, would my stem had snapped in twain,
    And saved me from the lingering pain
    Of being thus abased!
    'T is worse than death to lie so low,
    While all the laughing flowers must know,
    Ambition caused my overthrow,
    And brought me here disgraced!

    My native spot is far behind!
    Nor can I turn and hope to find
    Again my parent root,
    Where, fain my blushing head I'd screen
    Among the leaves so thick and green,
    Whence I, a timid bud, was seen
    In infancy to shoot.

    My beauteous form and hue, so bright,
    I thought could tempest, hail and blight
    And insect's touch defy.
    I grew in boldness—meekness fled;
    I burst my cup, my odors shed
    With lavish haste; my petals spread,
    And courted every eye.

    I little knew how great the fault
    Myself to flatter and exalt,
    Until I found, too late,
    My head grew giddy with the height;
    The sun-beam seemed a whirling light;
    I lost my balance—lost my sight;
    And here I met my fate.

    My sister Flowers, take heed! take heed!
    Your loveliness will ever need
    Protection from the blast.
    Be cautious what your beauties court,
    Whereon you venture, how you sport;
    And if a straw is your support,
    See where you may be cast.

    Your charms are highest half-concealed;
    Your sweets are dearest, when revealed
    With modesty and fear;
    And she, who quits the leafy shade
    That nature for her shelter made,
    May pine and languish, moan and fade,
    Like her who sorrows here.

  15. The President Who Does It All

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The President Who Does It All,
    A very egotistic elf,
    Is blind to what the rest can do,
    Is mucilaged upon himself.
    Over the whole committee work
    He manages somehow to sprawl,
    And runs the whole society—
    The President Who Does It All.

    The President Who Does It All
    Is very certain, in his pride,
    The whole society would stop
    If he, perchance, were laid aside.
    He meddles with the least details,
    He dictates all things, great and small;
    He's It, he'd have you understand—
    The President Who Does It All.

    The President Who Does It All
    Will get mad and resign some day,
    And find, to his intense surprise,
    The other members glad and gay.
    He'll see the brisk society
    Spring up as if released from thrall,
    And go rejoicing on, without
    The President Who Does It All.

  16. The Mistaken Anemometer

    by Amos Russel Wells

    A little anemometer
    On the weather-bureau high
    Was set to measure off the wind
    That whistled through the sky.
    As the wind blew hard or the wind blew soft,
    So swift he turned or slow,
    And just the numher of miles an hour
    His dial-plate would show.

    But the little anemometer
    On the weather-bureau tall
    Decided, very innocent,
    'Twas he that did it all.
    So when the wind blew a hurricane—
    "I'm a terrible fellow!" he cried;
    And when the wind was a zephyr mild—
    "I'm too tired to blow," he sighed.

    Until one melancholy day
    A little breeze, in fun,
    Twisted the anemometer
    So that it couldn't run;
    And thus it learned that the heavens work
    On an independent plan,
    And it grew to be a modest machine
    And ceased to be like a man.

  17. A toad can die of light!

    by Emily Dickinson

    A toad can die of light!
    Death is the common right
    Of toads and men, —
    Of earl and midge
    The privilege.
    Why swagger then?
    The gnat's supremacy
    Is large as thine.

  18. The pedigree of honey

    by Emily Dickinson

    The pedigree of honey
    Does not concern the bee;
    A clover, any time, to him
    Is aristocracy.

  19. High and Low

    by John B. Tabb

    A boot and a Shoe and a Slipper
    Lived once in the Cobbler's row:
    But the Boot and the Shoe
    Would have nothing to do
    With the Slipper, because she was low.

    But the king and the queen and their daughter
    On the Cobbler chanced to call;
    And as neither the Boot
    Nor the Shoe would suit
    The Slipper went off to the ball.

  20. The Silk-Worm's Will

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    On a plain rush hurdle a silk-worm lay,
    When a proud young princess came that way;
    The haughty child of a human king
    Threw a sidelong glance at the humble thing,
    That received with silent gratitude
    From the mulberry leaf her simple food,
    And shrunk, half scorn and half disgust,
    Away from her sister child of the dust;
    Declaring she never yet could see
    Why a reptile form like this should be;
    And that she was not made with nerves so firm,
    As calmly to stand by a 'crawling worm!'

    With mute forbearance the silk-worm took
    The taunting words and the spurning look.
    Alike a stranger to self and pride,
    She'd no disquiet from aught beside;
    And lived of a meekness and peace possessed,
    Which these debar from the human breast.
    She only wished, for the harsh abuse,
    To find some way to become of rise
    To the haughty daughter of lordly man;
    And thus did she lay a noble plan
    To teach her wisdom and make it plain,
    That the humble worm was not made in vain;
    A plan so generous, deep and high,
    That, to carry it out, she must even die!

    'No more,' said she, 'will I drink or eat!
    I'll spin and weave me a winding sheet,
    To wrap me up from the sun's clear light, And hide thy form from her wounded sight.
    In secret then, till my end draws nigh,
    I'll toil for her; and, when I die,
    I'll leave behind, as a farewell boon
    To the proud young princess, my whole cocoon,
    To be reeled and wove to a shining lace,
    And hung in a veil o'er her scornful face!
    And when she can calmly draw her breath
    Through the very threads that have caused my death;
    When she finds, at length, she has nerves so firm,
    As to wear the shroud of a crawling worm,
    May she bear in mind, that she walks with pride
    In the winding sheet where the silk-worm died!'

  21. The Foolish Flamingo

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The foolish flamingo she looked in the glass.
    Ah, foolish flamingo!
    She fell in love with herself, alas!
    Ah, foolish flamingo!
    Her beaux all exclaimed as they left in a huff,
    "The bird has one lover and one is enough!"
    Ah, foolish flamingo!

  22. Conceit

    by Charles Swain

    Oh! have you all the beauty youth e'er knew
    That you're so vain?
    Less pride might serve, if even it were true;
    And, you might gain
    By humbler show of graces you possess;
    The haughty bearing makes the charm the less.

    Nor is your beauty every thing to praise;
    Although your glass
    Reflect so fair a vision to your gaze,
    And, as you pass,
    A form, with something of patrician air;
    Yet hath the world some faces quite as fair.

    And eyes as blue, and ringlets just as curled,
    And lips of rose;—
    You have not all the beauty in the world,
    As you suppose:
    And if you had,—'tis easy to be seen
    What beauty loses with so proud a mien!

  23. The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls

    So sleeps the pride of former days,
    So glory's thrill is o'er,
    And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
    Now feel that pulse no more.

    - Thomas Moore
    The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls
    by Thomas Moore

    The harp that once through Tara's halls
    The soul of music shed,
    Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls
    As if that soul were fled.
    So sleeps the pride of former days,
    So glory's thrill is o'er,
    And hearts, that once beat high for praise,
    Now feel that pulse no more.

    No more to chiefs and ladies bright
    The harp of Tara swells:
    The chord alone, that breaks at night,
    Its tale of ruin tells.
    Thus freedom now so seldom wakes,
    The only throb she gives
    Is when some heart indignant breaks,
    To show that still she lives.

  24. Wolsey's Farewell to his Greatness

    by John Fletcher

    Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!
    This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
    The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,
    And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
    The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
    And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
    His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,

    And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
    Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
    This many summers in a sea of glory,
    But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
    At length broke under me and now has left me,
    Weary and old with service, to the mercy
    Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
    Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye:
    I feel my heart new opened. O, how wretched
    Is that poor man that hangs on princes’ favours!
    There is betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
    That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
    More pangs and fears than wars or women have:
    And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
    Never to hope again.

  25. Ozymandias of Egypt

    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:

    'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away;"


    Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

    – Proverbs 16:18
    The Bible, KJV

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