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A New Book of Verse


William Dunbar (ca 1460–ca 1525)

To the Merchantis of Edinburgh (“Quhy will ye, merchantis of renoun”)

Thomas More (1478–1535)

A Lamentation of Queen Elizabeth (“O ye that put your trust and confidence”)

William Forrest (dates?)

A New Ballade of the Marigolde (“The God above, for man’s delight”)

George Gascoigne (ca. 1528–1577

The Lullaby of a Lover (“Sing lullaby, as women do”)

Gascoigne’s Woodmanship (“My worthy Lord, I pray you wonder not”)

Walter Raleigh (ca. 1552–1618)

The Lie (“Go, soul, the body’s guest”)


An Old Souldier of the Queens (“Of an old Souldier of the Queens”)


Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lamentation

A Prognostication on Will Laud, Late Archbishop of Canterbury (“My little lord, methinks ’tis strange”) Note

John Milton (1608–1674)

On the Late Massacre in Piedmont (“Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter’d saints, whose bones”)

Richard Lovelace (1618–1658)

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars (“Tell me not, sweet, I am unkind”)

Claude Le Petit (1638–1662)

Sonnet on the Death of Chausson / Sonnet sur la Mort de Chausson (“Amis, on a brûlé le malheureux Chausson” / “Friends, they have burned the unfortunate Chausson”) French and English


A History of Insipids (“Chaste, pious, prudent Charles the Second”) Note

Anne Finch (1661–1720)

A Song on the South Sea (“Ombre and basset laid aside”)

Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)

A Satirical Elegy (“His Grace! impossible! what, dead?”)


The Extravagant Drunkard’s Wish (“Had I my wish, I would distend my guts”)

An Epistle from a Half-Pay Officer (“Curse on the star, dear Harry, that betrayed”)

Thomas Gray (1716–1771)

On Lord Holland’s Seat Near Margate, Kent (“Old, and abandoned by each venal friend,”)

Jean Elliot (1727–1805)

A Lament for Flodden (“I’ve heard them lilting at our ewe-milking”)

William Cowper (1731–1800)

Sweet Meat has Sour Sauce; or, The Slave-Trader in the Dumps

Robert Fergusson (1750–1774)

To the Principal and Professors of the University of St Andrews, on their Superb Treat to Dr Samuel Johnson (“St Andrews town may look right gawsy”)

William Blake (1757–1827)

London (“I wander through each chartered street”)

Robert Burns (1759–1796)

Johnie Cope (“Sir John Cope rode the north right far”)

Rouget de Lisle (1760–1836)

The Marseillaise / La Marseillaise (“Allons enfants de la patrie”/“Arise, you children of the fatherland”)

Caroline Oliphant (1766–1845)

A Hundred Pipers (“Wi’ a hundred pipers, an’ a’, an’ a’”)

George Canning ( 1770–1827 ) and John Frere (1769–1846)

The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-Grinder (“Needy Knife-grinder! whither are you going?”)

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786–1859)

Canticle of the Mothers / Cantique des Mères (“Reine pieuse au flancs de mère”/ “Pious Queen, with a mother’s breasts”) English and French

A Triumphal Arch / Un Arc de Triomphe (“Tout ce qu’on dit les hirondelles”/ “All that the swallows have said”) French and English

George Colman (1762–1836)

Don Leon (“Thou ermined judge, pull off that sable cap!”)

Percy Shelley (1792–1822)

Ozymandias (“I met a traveler from an antique land”)

Similes for Two Political Characters of 1819 (“As from an ancestral oak”)

England in 1819 (“An old, mad, blind, despis’d and dying king”)

Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)

The Slave Ship / Das Sklavenschiff (“Der Superkargo Mynheer van Koek”/ “The supercargo Mynheer van Koek”)

The Silesian Weavers / Die Schlesischen Weber (“Im düstern Auge keine Träne”/ “In the gloomy eye no tear”)

Victor Hugo (1802–1885)

The Imperial Cloak / Le Manteau Impérial (“Oh! Vous dont le travail est joie,”/ “Oh, you whose work is joy,”) English

Pretty Girls: Sonnet for an Album / Jolies Femmes: Sonnet pour album (“On leur fait des sonnets, passable quelquefois;”/ “You write them sonnets (sometimes pretty good);” English

The Infanta’s Rose / La Rose de l’Infante (“Elle est toute petite; une duègne la garde.”/ “She is quite small and a duenna minds her.”

Gérard de Nerval (1808–1855)

Politics / Politique (“Dans Sainte-Pélagie”/ “In Sainte-Pélagie prison”) French and English

Arthur Clough (1819–1861)

The Latest Decalogue (“Thou shalt have one God only; who”)

Spectator Ab Extra (“As I sat in the Café I said to myself”)

Charles Kingsley (1819–1875)

The Bad Squire (“The merry brown hares came leaping”)

Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910)

Battle Hymn of the Republic (“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”)

Louise Michel (1830–1905)

The Crows / Les Corbeaux (“De la Germanie à l’Ukraine” / “From Germany to the Ukraine”) French English

Circus Song: Bullfight / Chanson de Cirque: Corrida de la Muerte (“Les hauts barons blasonneés d’or,”/ “The high-and-mighty gilded barons,”) French English

Hey, cholera / V’là la choléra (“Parait qu’on attend le choléra”/ “Seems they’re expecting cholera”) French and English

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)

In Time of ‘The Breaking of Nations’ (“Only a man harrowing clods”)

Aristide Bruant (1851–1925)

Oh, the Jerks! / Ah! les Salauds! (“I’s sont des tin’, i’s sont des tas”/ “They’ve real latrine and dungheap souls”) French English

Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891)

The Hands of Jeanne-Marie / Les Mains de Jeanne-Marie (“Jeanne-Marie a des mains fortes,”/ “Jeanne-Marie has strong hands,”)

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

The Storm Cone: 1932 (“This is the midnight—let no star”)

William Yeats (1865–1939)

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death (“I know that I shall meet my fate”)

The Second Coming (“Turning and turning in the widening gyre”)

The Stare’s Nest by My Window (“The bees build in the crevices”)

Harry McClintock (1882–1957)

The Big Rock Candy Mountains

Walter Mehring

Song of the Stock Market (“Hear it roaring through the nation”)

Dermot O’Byrne (1885–1953)

A Dublin Ballad—1916 (“O write it up above your hearth”)

Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967)

Does It Matter? (“Does it matter?—losing your legs?…”)

To Any Dead Officer (“Well, how are things in Heaven? I wish you’d say.”)


John Henry (“John Henry was a li’l baby, uh-huh” - Note

Estlin Cummings (1894–1962)

I sing of olaf (“I sing of olaf glad and big”)

Louis Aragon (1897–1982)

Unoccupied Zone / Zone Libre (“Fading de la tristesse oubli”/ “Fade-out of forgotten grief”) English

Beer-hall Magick Germany / Bierstube Magie allemande (“Bierstube Magie allemande” /”Beer-hall Magick Germany”) English

Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956)

Legend of the Dead Soldier / Legende vom Toten Soldaten (“Und als der Krieg im fünften Lenz”/ “And when the fifth springtime of war”) English

Pirate Jenny / Die Seeräuber-Jenny (“Meine Herren, heute sehen Sie mich Gläser abwaschen”/ “Gentlemen, today you see me washing glasses”) English

Erich Kästner (1899–1974)

Knowst Thou the Land Where Only Cannons Grow? / Kennst du das Land, wo die Kanonen blühen? (“Knowst thou the land where only cannons grow?”) English

Margaret Walker (1915–1998)

Inflation Blues (“Inflation blues is what we got.”)

Abel Meeropol (1903–1986)

Strange Fruit (“Southern trees bear a strange fruit”)

Countee Cullen (1903–1946)

Heritage (“What is Africa to me”)

John Betjeman (1906–1984

In Westminster Abbey (“Let me take this other glove off”)

Slough (“Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough”)

Wystan Auden (1907–1973)

Refugee Blues (“Say this city has ten million souls,”)

The biscuits are hard and the beef is high

James Honeyman (“James Honeyman was a silent child”)

Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979)

The Burglar of Babylon (“On the fair green hills of Rio”)

Dudley Randall (1914–2000)

Ballad of Birmingham (“Mother dear, may I go downtown”)

Ewan MacColl (1915–1989)

The Big Hewer (“Out of the dirt and darkness I was born, go down”)

The Gravedigger’s Song (“O, come all you gravediggers in Erin’s green isle”)

Thomas McGrath (1916–1990)

Jig Tune: Not for Love (“Where are you going? asked Manny the Mayor”)

A Real Gone Guy: Short Requiem for Percival Angelman (“As I walked out in the streets of Chicago”)

A Little Song about Charity (“The boss came around at Christmas”)

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000)

The Ballad of Rudolph Reed (“Rudolph Reed was oaken.”)

Georges Brassens (1921–1981)

Hecatomb / Hécatombe (“Au marché de Briv’-la-Gaillarde”/ “In the Brive-la-Gaillard market”) French English

Matthew Mead (1924–

Sestina at the End of Socialism (“We watch the workers walk away”)

Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997)

Stool Pigeon Blues (“I was born in Wyoming, Cody is my home town”)

Helen Pinkerton (1927–

Crossing the Pedregal (“The odor of charred embers penetrates”)

X.J. Kennedy (1929–

Talking Dust Bowl (“Old cow’s almost dry now, her hooves scrape hard dirt.”)

Robert Pinsky (1940–

Shirt (“The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,”)

Eurydice and Stalin (“She crossed a bridge, and looking down she saw”)

Bob Dylan (1941–

Talking Bear Mountain Massacre Picnic Blues (“I saw it advertised one day”)

Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues (“Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue”)

Kit Wright (1944–

Elizabeth (“Up from Philadelphia”)

Robert Barth (1947–

A Letter to My Infant Son (“Some day, when you are hunting attic trunks”)

R.S. Gwynn (1948–

Among Philistines (“The night before they meant to pluck his eyes”)

James Fenton (1949–

In a Notebook (“There was a river overhung with trees”)

I Saw a Child (“I saw a child with silver hair”)

Tiananmen (“Tiananmen”)

Dana Gioia (1950–

The Archbishop (“O do not disturb the Archbishop,”)

Paul Lake (1951–

Professing Rape (“Come, step into my office. Sit down. Please.”)

Ian Duhig (1954–

Chocolate Soldier (“To Rowntrees one morning”)

Fiona Pitt-Kethley (1954–

High Noon in the Oral Office (“’It’s time for a snack!’ the President drawled”)

Melissa Balmain (1965–

Tune for the Prune (“I wish they’d leave your name alone”)

Al Gore’s Ode on Global Warming (“I wandered lonely through a cloud”)


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