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Romantic Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Ae Fond Kiss by Robert Burns
  2. Thou Flower of Summer by John Clare
  3. Sonnet 43: How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  4. Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? by William Shakespeare
  5. Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe
  6. To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet
  7. She Walks in Beauty by George Gordon, Lord Byron
  8. A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns
  9. The Lonely Wife by Li T'ai-po
  10. Another (II) by Anne Bradstreet
  11. To a Beautiful Quaker by George Gordon, Lord Byron
  12. The Door of Dreams by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  13. My Heart of Hearts by Ruby Archer
  14. Greeting by Annette Wynne
  15. The Sun Rising by John Donne
  16. Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  17. I Love You by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  18. Bedouin Love Song by Bayard Taylor

  1. Ae Fond Kiss

    by Robert Burns

    Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
    Ae fareweel, and then forever!
    Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
    Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
    Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
    While the star of hope she leaves him?
    Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me;
    Dark despair around benights me.

    I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy,
    Naething could resist my Nancy;
    But to see her was to love her;
    Love but her, and love forever.
    Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
    Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
    Never met—or never parted—
    We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

    Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
    Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
    Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
    Peace. enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
    Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
    Ae fareweel, alas, forever!
    Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
    Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!

  2. Thou Flower of Summer

    by John Clare

    When in summer thou walkest
    In the meads by the river,
    And to thyself talkest,
    Dost thou think of one ever—
    A lost and a lorn one
    That adores thee and loves thee?
    And when happy morn's gone,
    And nature's calm moves thee,
    Leaving thee to thy sleep like an angel at rest,
    Does the one who adores thee still live in thy breast?

    Does nature eer give thee
    Love's past happy vision,
    And wrap thee and leave thee
    In fancies elysian?
    Thy beauty I clung to,
    As leaves to the tree;
    When thou fair and young too
    Looked lightly on me,
    Till love came upon thee like the sun to the west
    And shed its perfuming and bloom on thy breast.

  3. Sonnet 43: How Do I Love Thee?

    by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of being and ideal grace.
    I love thee to the level of every day's
    Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
    I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

  4. Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?

    by William Shakespeare

    Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
    Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
    And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
    And every fair from fair sometime declines,
    By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
    But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
    Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
    Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
    When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

  5. Annabel Lee

    by Edgar Allen Poe

    It was many and many a year ago,
    In a kingdom by the sea,
    That a maiden there lived whom you may know
    By the name of Annabel Lee;
    And this maiden she lived with no other thought
    Than to love and be loved by me.

    I was a child and she was a child,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
    But we loved with a love that was more than love—
    I and my Annabel Lee—
    With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
    Coveted her and me.

    And this was the reason that, long ago,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
    A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
    My beautiful Annabel Lee;
    So that her highborn kinsmen came
    And bore her away from me,
    To shut her up in a sepulchre
    In this kingdom by the sea.

    The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
    Went envying her and me—
    Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
    In this kingdom by the sea)
    That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
    Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

    But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we—
    Of many far wiser than we—
    And neither the angels in Heaven above
    Nor the demons down under the sea
    Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

    For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
    Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
    In her sepulchre there by the sea—
    In her tomb by the sounding sea.

  6. To My Dear and Loving Husband

    by Anne Bradstreet

    If ever two were one, then surely we.
    If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
    If ever wife was happy in a man,
    Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
    I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold
    Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
    My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
    Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
    Thy love is such I can no way repay.
    The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
    Then while we live, in love let's so persevere
    That when we live no more, we may live ever.

  7. She Walks in Beauty

    by George Gordon, Lord Byron

    She walks in beauty, like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that’s best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
    Thus mellowed to that tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
    Or softly lightens o’er her face;
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
    How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

    And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
    So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
    But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent!

  8. A Red, Red Rose

    by Robert Burns

    O my Luve is like a red, red rose
    That’s newly sprung in June;
    O my Luve is like the melody
    That’s sweetly played in tune.

    So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
    So deep in luve am I;
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,
    Till a’ the seas gang dry.

    Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
    And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
    I will love thee still, my dear,
    While the sands o’ life shall run.

    And fare thee weel, my only luve!
    And fare thee weel awhile!
    And I will come again, my luve,
    Though it were ten thousand mile.

  9. The Lonely Wife

    Translated from the Chinese of Li T'ai-po by Florence Ayscough. English Version by Amy Lowell

    The mist is thick. On the wide river, the water-plants float smoothly.
    No letters come; none go.
    There is only the moon, shining through the clouds of a hard, jade-green sky,
    Looking down at us so far divided, so anxiously apart.
    All day, going about my affairs, I suffer and grieve, and press the thought of you closely to my heart.
    My eyebrows are locked in sorrow, I cannot separate them.
    Nightly, nightly, I keep ready half the quilt,
    And wait for the return of that divine dream which is my Lord.

    Beneath the quilt of the Fire Bird, on the bed of the silver-crested Love Pheasant,
    Nightly, nightly I drowse alone.
    The red candles in the silver candlesticks melt, and the wax runs from them,
    As the tears of your so unworthy one escape and continue constantly to flow.
    A flower face endures but a short season,
    Yet still he drifts along the river Hsiao and the river Hsiang.
    As I toss on my pillow, I hear the cold, nostalgic sound of the water-clock:
    Shêng! Shêng! it drips, cutting my heart in two.

    I rise at dawn. In the Hall of Pictures
    They come and tell me that the snow-flowers are falling.
    The reed-blind is rolled high, and I gaze at the beautiful, glittering, premeval snow,
    Whitening the distance, confusing the stone steps and the courtyard.
    The air is filled with its shining, it blows far out like the smoke of a furnace.
    The grass-blades are cold and white, white, like jade girdle pendants.
    Surely the Immortals in Heaven must be crazy with wine to cause such disorder,
    Seizing the white clouds, crumpling them up, destroying them.

  10. Another (II)

    by Anne Bradstreet

    As loving hind that (hartless) wants her deer,
    Scuds through the woods and fern with hark'ning ear,
    Perplext, in every bush and nook doth pry,
    Her dearest deer, might answer ear or eye;
    So doth my anxious soul, which now doth miss
    A dearer dear (far dearer heart) than this.
    Still wait with doubts, and hopes, and failing eye,
    His voice to hear or person to descry.
    Or as the pensive dove doth all alone
    (On withered bough) most uncouthly bemoan
    The absence of her love and loving mate,
    Whose loss hath made her so unfortunate,
    Ev'n thus do I, with many a deep sad groan,
    Bewail my turtle true, who now is gone,
    His presence and his safe return still woos,
    With thousand doleful sighs and mournful coos.
    Or as the loving mullet, that true fish,
    Her fellow lost, nor joy nor life do wish,
    But launches on that shore, there for to die,
    Where she her captive husband doth espy.
    Mine being gone, I lead a joyless life,
    I have a loving peer, yet seem no wife;
    But worst of all, to him can't steer my course,
    I here, he there, alas, both kept by force.
    Return my dear, my joy, my only love,
    Unto thy hind, thy mullet, and thy dove,
    Who neither joys in pasture, house, nor streams,
    The substance gone, O me, these are but dreams.
    Together at one tree, oh let us browse,
    And like two turtles roost within one house,
    And like the mullets in one river glide,
    Let's still remain but one, till death divide.
    Thy loving love and dearest dear,
    At home, abroad, and everywhere.

  11. To a Beautiful Quaker

    by George Gordon, Lord Byron

    Sweet girl! though only once we met,
    That meeting I shall ne'er forget;
    And though we ne'er may meet again,
    Remembrance will thy form retain.
    I would not say, "I love," but still
    My senses struggle with my will:
    In vain, to drive thee from my breast,
    My thoughts are more and more represt;
    In vain I check the rising sighs,
    Another to the last replies:
    Perhaps this is not love, but yet
    Our meeting I can ne'er forget.

    What though we never silence broke,
    Our eyes a sweeter language spoke.
    The toungue in flattering falsehood deals,
    And tells a tale in never feels;
    Deceit the guilty lips impart,
    And hush the mandates of the heart;
    But soul's interpreters, the eyes,
    Spurn such restraint and scorn disguise.
    As thus our glances oft conversed,
    And all our bosoms felt, rehearsed,
    No spirit, from within, reproved us,
    Say rather, "'twas the spirit moved us."
    Though what they utter'd I repress,
    Yet I conceive thou'lt partly guess;
    For as on thee my memory ponders,
    Perchance to me thine also wanders.
    This for myself, at least, I'll say,
    Thy form appears through night, through day:
    Awake, with it my fancy teems;
    In sleep, it smiles in fleeting dreams;
    The vision charms the hours away,
    And bids me curse Aurora's ray
    For breaking slumbers of delight
    Which make me wish for endless night:
    Since, oh! whate'er my future fate,
    Shall joy or woe my steps await,
    Tempted by love, by storms beset,
    Thine image I can ne'er forget.

    Alas! again no more we meet,
    No more former looks repeat;
    Then let me breathe this parting prayer,
    The dictate of my bosom's care:
    "May heaven so guard my lovely quaker,
    That anguish never can o'ertake her;
    That peace and virtue ne'er forsake her,
    But bliss be aye her heart's partaker!
    Oh, may the happy mortal, fated
    To be by dearest ties related,
    For her each hour new joys discover,
    And lose the husband in the lover!
    May that fair bosom never know
    What 't is to feel the restless woe
    Which stings the soul with vain regret,
    Of him who never can forget!"

  12. The Door of Dreams

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    I often passed the Door of Dreams
    But never stepped inside,
    Though sometimes, with surprise, I saw
    The door was open wide.

    I might have gone forever by,
    As I had done before,
    But one day, when I passed, I saw
    You standing in the door.

  13. My Heart of Hearts

    by Ruby Archer

    My heart of hearts is a garden fair
    All abud and abloom for you,
    And a grey stone wall goes all around
    That none without may see it is there.
    But a little wicket your love has found
    Furtively, shyly open for you.

    A revel of blossom, a riot of bee,
    And fragrance fine as a melody,
    A thousand windings, soft to your feet;—
    And none may win by the grey stone bound
    To my heart of hearts with its rose and rue
    And hidden wildness of wanton sweet—
    Save you, Beloved, my Love, save you.

  14. Greeting

    by Annette Wynne

    Sweet as the summer breeze
    Bright as the summer sea,
    Pure as the breath of flowers
    Is the wish I wish to thee;
    High as the heaven's blue arch,
    Staunch as the woodland tree,
    Sure as the spring time's coming,
    Is the love I bear to thee.

  15. The Sun Rising

    by John Donne

    Busy old fool, unruly sun,
    Why dost thou thus,
    Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
    Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
    Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
    Late school boys and sour prentices,
    Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
    Call country ants to harvest offices,
    Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
    Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

    Thy beams, so reverend and strong
    Why shouldst thou think?
    I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
    But that I would not lose her sight so long;
    If her eyes have not blinded thine,
    Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
    Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
    Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
    Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
    And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

    She's all states, and all princes, I,
    Nothing else is.
    Princes do but play us; compared to this,
    All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
    Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
    In that the world's contracted thus.
    Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
    To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
    Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
    This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

  16. Love’s Philosophy

    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    The fountains mingle with the river
    And the rivers with the ocean,
    The winds of heaven mix for ever
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single;
    All things by a law divine
    In one spirit meet and mingle.
    Why not I with thine?—

    See the mountains kiss high heaven
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister-flower would be forgiven
    If it disdained its brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
    What is all this sweet work worth
    If thou kiss not me?

  17. I Love You

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    I love your lips when they’re wet with wine
    And red with a wild desire;
    I love your eyes when the lovelight lies
    Lit with a passionate fire.
    I love your arms when the warm white flesh
    Touches mine in a fond embrace;
    I love your hair when the strands enmesh
    Your kisses against my face.

    Not for me the cold, calm kiss
    Of a virgin’s bloodless love;
    Not for me the saint’s white bliss,
    Nor the heart of a spotless dove.
    But give me the love that so freely gives
    And laughs at the whole world’s blame,
    With your body so young and warm in my arms,
    It sets my poor heart aflame.

    So kiss me sweet with your warm wet mouth,
    Still fragrant with ruby wine,
    And say with a fervor born of the South
    That your body and soul are mine.
    Clasp me close in your warm young arms,
    While the pale stars shine above,
    And we’ll live our whole young lives away
    In the joys of a living love.

  18. Bedouin Love Song

    by Bayard Taylor

    From the Desert I come to thee
    On a stallion shod with fire;
    And the winds are left behind
    In the speed of my desire.
    Under thy window I stand,
    And the midnight hears my cry:
    I love thee, I love but thee,
    With a love that shall not die
    Till the sun grows cold,
    And the stars are old,
    And the leaves of the Judgment
    Book unfold!

    Look from thy window and see
    My passion and my pain;
    I lie on the sands below,
    And I faint in thy disdain.
    Let the night-winds touch thy brow
    With the heat of my burnings sigh,
    And melt thee to hear the vow
    Of a love that shall not die
    Till the sun grows cold,
    And the stars are old,
    And the leaves of the Judgment
    Book unfold!

    My steps are nightly driven,
    By the fever in my breast,
    To hear from thy lattice breathed
    The word that shall give me rest.
    Open the door of thy heart,
    And open thy chamber door,
    And my kisses shall teach thy lips
    The love that shall fade no more
    Till the sun grows cold,
    And the stars are old,
    And the leaves of the Judgment
    Book unfold!

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