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A New Book of Verse

Reality Checkings

Robert Henryson (1424?–1506?)

The Complaint of Cresseid (“O! sop of sorrow, sonkin into cair.”)

François Villon (1431–?)

The Lament of the Once Beautiful Armouress / Les Regrets de la Belle Héaulmiere (“Advis m’est que j’oy regreter”/ “Now I think I hear the regrets”)

Ballade: the Reply to Franc Gontier / Ballade: les contradits de Franc Gontier (“Sur mol duvet assis, un gras chanoine,”/ “A plump cannon lounging on an eiderdown.”)

William Dunbar (ca 1460–ca 1525)

Lament for the Makaris (“I that in heill was and gladness”)


Whanne mine eyen misten

Thomas More (1478–1535)

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

Thomas Wyatt (ca. 1503–1542)

Madam withouten many words (“What means this? When I lie alone”)

Pierre de Ronsard (1524–1585)

O Love, I’m not complaining about the arrogance / Amour, je ne me plains de l’orgeuil endurcy

O long winter nights, bane of my existence / Ah longues nuits d’hiver, de ma vie bourrelles

George Gascoigne (ca. 1528–1577

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

Barnabe Googe (1540–1594)

Give money me, take friendship whoso list

Walter Raleigh (ca. 1552–1618)

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

What is our life? A play of passion

Even such is time, that takes in trust

Three things there be that prosper up apace


Ay Me, Ay Me, I Sigh the Scythe Afield (“Ay me, ay me, I sigh to see the scythe a-field.”)

Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lullaby (“Balow, my Boy, ly still and sleep”)

Michael Drayton (1563–1631)

Since there’s no help, come, let us kiss and part

William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry

Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun

Robert Ayton (1570–1638)

The Exercise of Affection (“There is no worldly pleasure here below”)

Thomas Nashe (ca. 1567–1601)

Adieu, farewell earth’s bliss

Ben Jonson (ca. 1572–1637)

An Ode to Himself (“Where dost thou careless lie”)

My Picture Left in Scotland (“I now think Love is rather deaf than blind”)

The Goodwife’s Ale (“When shall we meet again and have a taste”)


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


The Maid Would Give Ten Shillings for a Kiss (“You young men all take pitty on me”)

The Souldiers Farewell to his Love ( “Margaret my sweetest, Margaret I must go”)

The Lamentation of a Married Man (“You Batchelors that brave it”)

Phillida Flouts Me (“Oh! what a plague is Love! How shall I bear it?”)

The Wooing Rogue (“Come live with me and be my Whore”)

Théophile de Viau (1590–1626)

Sonnet / Sonnet (“Phyllis, tout est foutu, je meurs de la verole” / “Phyllis, everything’s fucked, I‘ve got the pox.”)

Satire / Satyre (“On m’a dit que ma soeur chevauche” / ”They say my sister rides on top”)


Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lamentation

George Herbert (1591–1674)

Affliction (“When first thou didst entice to thee my heart”)

The Temper (“How should I praise thee, Lord? how should my rhymes”)

Jordan (“Who says that fictions only and false hair”)

Church Monuments (“While that my soul repairs to her devotion”)

Thomas Carew (1595–1640)

To a Lady that Desired I Would Love Her (“Now you have freely given me leave to love”)

John Milton (1608–1674)

When I consider how my light is spent

John Suckling (1609–1642)

Why so pale and wan, fond lover?

Anne Bradstreet (ca. 1612–1672)

Before the Birth of One of Her Children (“All things within this fading world hath end,”)

The Prologue (“To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings”)

Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673)

Upon the Theme of Love (“O Love, how thou art tired out with Rhyme!”)

John Wilmot (1647–1680)

The Maimed Debauchee (“As some brave Admiral, in former war”)

The Imperfect Enjoyment (“Naked she lay, clasped in my longing arms,”)

Song (“Love a woman! You’re an ass”)

Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)

The Progress of Marriage (“Aetatis suae fifty-two”)

The Lady’s Dressing Room (“Five Hours (and who can do it in less?)

Lady Acheson Weary of the Dean (“The Dean would visit Market-hill”)

My Lady’s Lamentation and Complaint against the Dean (“Sure never did man see”)

Elizabeth Thomas (1675–1731)

The Forsaken Wife (“Methinks, ‘tis strange you can’t afford”)

The True Effigies of a Certain Squire

John Gay (1685–1732)

To a Young Lady with Some Lampreys (“With lovers ’twas of old the fashion”)


O Waly Waly up yon Bank

Mary Montagu (1689–1762)

A Receipt to Cure the Vapours (“Why will Delia thus retire”)

The Reasons That Induced Dr Swift to Write a Poem Called “The Lady’s Dressing Room” (“The Doctor in a clean, starched band”

Epistle from Mrs. Y[onge] to her Husband (“Think not this Paper comes with vain pretence”)

Saturday: The Small-Pox (“The wretched Flavia on her couch reclined”)

The Lover: a Ballad (“At length, by so much importunity pressed”)

Mary Barber (c.1690–1757)

To Mrs. Frances-Arabella Kelly (“Today, as at my glass I stood,”)

Martha Sansom (1690–1736)

Song (“Foolish eyes, thy streams give over,”)

Arabella Moreton (after 1690–before 1741)

The Humble Wish (“I ask not wit, nor beauty do I crave,”)

Elizabeth Tollet (1694–1754)

On a Death’s Head (“On this resemblance, where we find”)


Sir Patrick Spence (“The king sits in Dumferling toun”)

Edward (“Why dois your brand sae drap wi’ bluid”)

François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) (1694–1778)

A Madame de Châtelet/To Madame de Châtelet “Si vous voulez que j’aime encore,”/ “If you want me to still love,”)

Henrietta Knight (1699–1756)

Written to a Near Neighbour in a Tempestuous Night (“You bid my muse not cease to sing,”)

Mary Jones (d.1778)

An Epistle to Lady Bowyer (“How much of paper’s soiled! What floods of ink!”)

Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

A Short Song of Congratulation (“Long expected one and twenty”)

Charles Morris (1745–1838)

A Town and Country Life Contrasted (“In London I never know what I’d be at”)

William Blake (1757–1827)

London (“I wander through each chartered street”)

Robert Burns (1759–1796)

To a Louse (“Ha! Whaur ye gaun, ye crawlin ferlie!”)

What Can a Young Lassie Do wi’ an Auld Man? (“What can a young lassie, what shall a young lassie”)

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

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

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal


The Demon Lover (“O where have ye been, my long, long love”)

Lord Randal (“O where hae ye been, Lord Randal, my son?) The Twa Corbies (“As I was walking all alane,”)

Lamkin (“It’s Lamkin was a mason good”)

Mary Hamilton (“Word’s gane to the kitchen”)

Robert Southey (1774–1843)

The Inchcape Rock (“No stir in the air, no stir in the sea”)

George Byron (1788–1824)

Dear Doctor, I have Read your Play (“Dear Doctor, I have read your play”)

George Colman (1762–1836)

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


Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye (“While going the road to sweet Athy”)

John Clare (1793–1864)

Decay: a Ballad (“O poesy is on the wane”)

Thomas Hood (1799–1845)

Death in the Kitchen (“Trim, thou art right!—’Tis sure that I”)

Winthrop Praed (1802–1839)

A Letter of Advice (“You tell me you’re promised a lover”)

The Belle of the Ball-Room (“Years, years ago—ere yet my dreams”)

Helen Sheridan (1807–1867)

The Charming Woman (“So Miss Myrtle is going to marry?”)

Gérard de Nerval (1808–1855)

Noblemen and Lackeys / Nobles et Valets (“Ces nobles d’autrefois dont parlent les romans”/ “Those noblemen of bygone days you read of in romances”)

Alfred de Musset (1810–1857)

To Juana / À Juana (“O ciel! Je vous revois, madame” / “Wonderful! So you’re back, madame”)

Frederick Tuckerman (1821–1873)

And change with hurried hand has swept these scenes

And faces, forms and phantoms, numbered not

And me my winter’s task is drawing over

Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867)

The Game / Le Jeu (“Dans les fauteuils fanés des courtisanes vieilles”/ In the faded armchairs of old courtisans) French

The Swan / Le Cygne (“Andromaque, je pense à vous! Ce petit fleuve,”/ “Andromaque, I think of you! That little stream,”) French

Emily Dickinson (1830–1886)

It was not death, for I stood up

What shall I do when the summer troubles

William Gilbert (1836–1911)

Disillusoned (“Oh, that my soul its gods could see”)

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)

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

Afterwards (“When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay”)

The Going (“Why did you give no hint that night”)

After a Journey (“Hereto I come to view a voiceless ghost”)

Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–1898)

Sea Breeze / Brise Marine (“La chair est triste, hélas! et j’ai lu tous les livres”/ The flesh is sad, alas, and I’ve read all the books)

The Chastened Clown (earlier version) / Le Pitre Châtié (“Pour ses yeux—pour nager dans ces lacs, dont les quais”/ For her eyes—for the sake of a swim in those lakes whose banks”)

Paul Verlaine (1844–1896)

Sentimental Conversation / Colloque Sentimental (“Dans le vieux parc, solitaire et glace”/”In the old lonely frozen park”

Wooden Horses / Chevaux de bois (“Tournez, tournez, bons chevaux de bois,” / “Turn, turn, you fine wooden horses,”)

Howling with the wolves / Faute hurler avec les loups (“Je m’suis marié le cinq ou l’six” / “Got married on the fifth or sixth”)

Aristide Bruant (1851–1925)

Sad Notion / Fantaisie triste (“I' bruinait… L'temps était gris”/ “It drizzled, weather grey, grey, grey”)

Augusta Gregory (1852–1932), tr.

Grief of a Girl’s Heart (“O Donal Oge, if you go across the sea,”)

Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891)

Romance / Roman (“On n’est pas serieux quand on a dix-sept ans”/ “Nobody’s serious at seventeen”)

A. Mary F. Robinson (1857–1944)

Neurasthenia (“I watch the happier people of the house”)

Jules Laforgue (1860–1887)

Lament of Pianos Overheard in Wealthy Neighbourhoods / Complainte des Pianos qu’on entend dans les quartiers aisés (“Menez l’âme que les Lettres ont bien nourrie”/“Conduct the soul which Literature has nourished well”)

Complaint Concerning the Poor Human Body / Complainte du Pauvre Corps Humain (“L’Homme et sa compagne sonts serfs”/ “Man and his ‘companion’ are slaves”)

Lament about Forgetting the Dead / Complainte de l’Oubli des Morts (“Mesdames et Messieurs”/ “Ladies and gents”)

Pierrots / Pierrots (“Il me faut vos yeux! Dès que je perds leur étoile”/ “I must have your eyes! Since I lost their star”)

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

“Willful-Missing” (“There is a world outside the one you know”)

William Yeats (1865–1939)

The Municipal Gallery Revisited (“Around me the images of thirty years”)

Francis Jammes (1868–1938)

Il va neiger… (“Il va neiger dans quelques jours. Je me souviens”/ “It’s going to snow in a few days. I remember”)

Edwin Robinson (1869–1935)

Eros Turannos (“She fears him, and will always ask”)

Veteran Sirens (“The ghost of Ninon would be sorry now”)

Rembrandt to Rembrandt (“And there you are again, now as you are.”)

William Handy (1873–1958)

St. Louis Blues (“I hate to see de ev’nin’ sun go down”)

Loveless Love (“Love is like a gold brick in a bunco game”)

John Synge (1871–1909)

Queens (“Seven dog-days we let pass”)

Paul Valéry (1871–1945>

The Cemetery by the Sea / Le Cimitière Marin (“Ce toit tranquille, où marchent des colombes”/ This tranquil roof where doves are walking’)

Robert Frost (1874–1963)

Acquainted with the Night (“I have been one acquainted with the night”)

The Most of It (“He thought he kept the universe alone”)

Spring Pools (“These pools that, though in forests, still reflect”)

Never Again Would Birds’ Song be the Same (“He would declare and could himself believe”)

Desert Places (“Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast”)

Directive (“Back out of all this now too much for us”)

Edward Thomas (1878–1917)

Gone, Gone Again (“Gone, gone again.”)

The Long Small Room (“The long small room that showed willows in the west”)

Lights Out (“I have come to the borders of sleep”)

The Gallows (“There was a weasel lived in the sun”)

Wallace Stevens (1879–1955)

Sunday Morning (“Complacencies of the peignoir, and late”)

The Snow Man (“One must have a mind of winter”)

Of Heaven Considered as a Tomb (“What word have you, interpreters, of men”)

The Death of a Soldier (“Life contracts and death is expected”)

The Course of a Particular (“Today the leaves cry, hanging on branches swept by wind”)

Ned Pratt (1882–1964)

The Titanic (“The hammers silent and the derricks still”)

Anna Wickham (1884–1947)

Nervous Prostration (“I married a man of the Croydon class”)

Balladry bleak

Lamkin (“Old Lamkin was as good a mason”)

The Three Butchers (“Johnson said to Dicky”

The Miller’s Apprentice (“I fell in love with a Knoxville girl”)

The Single Girl (“When I was single, went dressed all so fine”)

Thomas Eliot (1888–1965)

Portrait of a Lady (“Among the smoke and fog of a December afternoon”)

Gerontion (“Here I am, an old man in a dry month”)

Journey of the Magi (“A cold coming we had of it,”)

Arthur Waley (1889–1966)

“If you are dying of love”

When dawn comes

If only, when one heard


Kurt Tucholsky (1890–1926)

And What Then? (”A happy end—eternal bliss”)

Brinsley MacNamara (1890–1963)

On Seeing Swift in Laracor

Bessie Smith (1894–1937)

Spider Man Blues (“Early in the mornin’ when it’s dark and dreary outdoors”)

Louise Bogan (1897–1970)

Exhortation (“Give over seeking bastard joy”)

Gertrude Rainey (1896–1939)

Countin’ the Blues (“Layin’ in my bed with my face turned to the wall”)

Erich Kästner (1899–1974)

A Father’s Lullaby / Wiegenlied (“Sleep well, my child; my child, sleep well”) English

Yvor Winters (1900–1968)

At the San Francisco Airport (“This is the terminal: the light”)

Two Old-Fashioned Songs (“Who was who and where were they”/ “What was all the talk about?”)

Sterling Brown (1901–1989)

Puttin’ on Dog ( “Look at old Scrappy puttin’ on dog”)

Choices (“Don’t want no yaller girl, dat’s a color will not stay,”)

Stevie Smith (1902–1971)

Infelice (“Walking swiftly with a dreadful duchess,”)

Pretty (“Why is the word pretty so underrated?”)

Countee Cullen (1903–1946)

That Bright Chimeric Beast (“That bright chimeric beast”)

The Loss of Love (“All through an empty place I go”)

Heritage (“What is Africa to me”)

Abel Meeropol (1903–1986)

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

Raymond Queneau (1903–1976)

I’m not so scared of that / Je crains pas ça tellement (“Je crains pas ça tellement la mort de mes entrailles”/ “ I’m not so scared about my guts dying”)

Dorothy Fields (1905-1975)

A Fine Romance (“A fine romance, with no kisses!”

Stanley Kunitz (1905–

The Summing-Up (“When young I scribbled, boasting, on my wall,”)

John Betjeman (1906–1984

The Cottage Hospital (“At the end of a long-walled garden”

Wystan Auden (1907–1973)

As I Walked Out One Evening (“As I walked out one evening”)

Alec Hope (1907–2000)

Meditation on a Bone (“Words scored upon a bone”)

The Lunch (“Under these trellised vines, below”)

Theodore Roethke (1908–1963)

Meditation in Hydrotherapy (“Six hours a day I lay me down”)

Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979)

One Art (“The art of losing isn’t hard to master”)

James Cunningham (1911–1985)

Coffee (“When I awoke with cold”)

Dark thoughts are my companions

If wisdom, as it seems it is

New York: 8 March 1957 (“Lady, of anonymous flesh and face”)

An Interview with Doctor Drink (“I have a fifth of therapy”)

Dudley Randall (1914–2000)

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

George Johnston (1913–2004)

Time in a Public Ward (“As life goes on to worse and worse”)

On the Porch (“What’s on your mind tonight”)

Thomas McGrath (1916–1990)

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

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

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000)

The preacher: ruminates behind the scenes (“I think it must be lonely to be God”)

Robert Lowell (1917–1977)

Waking Early Sunday Morning (“O to break loose, like the chinook”)

Elma Mitchell (1919–2000)

Thoughts After Ruskin (“Women reminded him of lilies and roses”)

Peggy Lee (1920-2002)

I’m Gonna Go Fishin’ (“Woke up this morning””)

Richard Wilbur (1921–

Cottage Street, 1953 (“Framed in her phoenix fire-screen, Edna Ward”)

In Limbo (“What rattles in the dark? The blinds at Brewster?”)

This Pleasing Anxious Being (“In no time you are back where safety was”)

Philip Larkin (1922–1985)

The Explosion (“On the day of the explosion”)

Church Going (“Once I am sure there’s nothing going on”)

Edgar Bowers (1924–2000)

Dark Earth and Summer (“Earth is dark where you rest”)

From William Tyndale to John Frith (“The letter I, your lone friend, write in sorrow”)

The Astronomers of Mont Blanc (“Who are you there that, from your icy tower”)

Wandering (“Customs, but there seems nothing to declare”)

In the Last Circle (“You spoke all evening hatred and contempt”)

Catherine Davis (1924–2002)

After a Time (“After a time, all losses are the same”)

Belongings (“Nothing about the first abandonment”)

In York (“What can I do here? I could learn to lie;”)

Matthew Mead (1924–

The Flickering Shadow Stanzas (“Into the unlit room like non-existence”)

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

Alan Stephens (1925–

Prologue: Moments in a Glade (“Abiding snake: At thirty-four”)

Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997)

Sickness Blues (“Lord Lord I got the sickness blues, I must’ve done something wrong”)

William Snodgrass (1926–

April Inventory (“The green catalpa tree has turned

Helen Pinkerton (1927–

The Return (“Once in September, having crossed the desert,”) On Watteau’s Pilgrimage to Cythera (1717) in the Louvre (“Not Compostela where these pilgrims journey.”)

For an End (“Had I not loved,”)

James Wright (1927–1980)

Written in a Copy of Swift’s Poems for Wayne Burns (“I promised once if I got hold of”)

Edward Sissman (1928–1976)

Safety at Forty: or, An Abecedarian Takes a Walk

Bannerman’s Funeral Chapel, Inc

Thom Gunn (1929–2004)

On the Move (“The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows”)

In Santa Maria del Popolo (“Waiting for when the sun an hour or less”)

Waitress (“At one they hurry in to eat.”)

The J Car (“Last year I used to ride the J CHURCH line”)

Bob Dylan (1941–

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

John Whitworth (1945–

Princess Time (“I am a princess and I need a prince”)

Clive Wilmer (1945–

The Natural History of the Rook (“The rooks are Gothick which have brought to mind”)

Transference (“A moving tableau, so to speak.”)

In Memory of Graham Davies, Psychotherapist (1937–1993) (“You, invisible, once again, I address”)

Bottom’s Dream (“I was a weaver, and I wove”)

John Finlay (1941–1991)

The Slaughter of the Herd (“The trucks will come tomorrow afternoon.”)

Wendy Cope (1945–

Rondeau Redoublé (“There are so many kinds of awful men”)

After the Lunch (“On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes”)

By the Round Pond (“You watch yourself. You watch the watcher too“)

Robert Barth (1947–

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

R.S. Gwynn (1948–

My Agent Says (“My agent says Los Angeles will call.”)

Snow White and the Seven Deadly Sins (“Good Catholic girl, she didn’t mind the cleaning,”)

Timothy Steele (1948–

Wait (“Six beds in a square room; you give your name”)

Fiona Pitt-Kethley (1954–

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

The Serpent’s Complaint (“One day I heard a serpent hiss”)

Penis Envy (“Freud, you were right! I must expose my id”)

Joseph Harrison (1957–

At the Grave of Burns (“Ah, Burns, what have they done to ye”)

Catherine Tufariello (1963–

Useful Advice (“You’re 37? Don’t you think that maybe”)

Caki Wilkinson (1980–

Lares and Penates (“The suburbs? Well, for heaven’s sake”)


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