Great Love Poems

Great Love Poems

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by Shane Weller

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Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
— W. B. Yeats
Down through the millennia the emotion of love has inspired countless poets to great


Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
— W. B. Yeats
Down through the millennia the emotion of love has inspired countless poets to great heights of lyrical expression. In this volume readers can sample more than 150 great love poems by English and American poets. Spanning over four centuries of literary creation in the service of amour, the works include a selection of Shakespeare's sonnets, John Donne's "The Ecstasy," William Blake's "The Garden of Love," Robert Burns's "The Banks o'Doon" and "John Anderson My Jo," Lord Byron's "She Walks in Beauty," Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee," Robert Browning's "Meeting at Night," as well as works by W. B. Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Keats, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Milton, Richard Lovelace, Sir John Suckling, Matthew Arnold, A. E. Housman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Frost. Includes 2 selections from the Common Core State Standards Initiative: "Sonnet 73" and "Song."

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Great Love Poems

By Shane Weller

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1992 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11152-0




    The Lover Showeth How He Is Forsaken of Such as He Sometime Enjoyed

    They flee from me that sometime did me seek,
    With naked foot stalking in my chamber.
    I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
    That now are wild, and do not once remember
    That sometime they have put themselves in danger
    To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
    Busily seeking with a continual change.

    Thanked be fortune, it hath been otherwise
    Twenty times better; but once, in special,
    In thin array, after a pleasant guise,
    When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
    And she me caught in her arms long and small,
    Therewith all sweetly did me kiss,
    And softly said, 'Dear heart, how like you this?'

    It was no dream; I lay broad waking:
    But all is turned, thorough my gentleness,
    Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
    And I have leave to go, of her goodness;
    And she also to use new-fangleness.
    But since that I so unkindly am served,
    I fain would know what she hath deserved.

    The Appeal

    An Earnest Suit to His Unkind Mistress, Not to Forsake Him

    And wilt thou leave me thus?
    Say nay, say nay, for shame!
    —To save thee from the blame
    Of all my grief and grame.
    And wilt thou leave me thus?

    Say nay! say nay!

    And wilt thou leave me thus,
    That hath loved thee so long
    In wealth and woe among?
    And is thy heart so strong
    As for to leave me thus?

    Say nay! say nay!

    And wilt thou leave me thus,
    That hath given thee my heart
    Never for to depart
    Neither for pain nor smart:
    And wilt thou leave me thus?

    Say nay! say nay!

    And wilt thou leave me thus,
    And have no more pity
    Of him that loveth thee?
    Alas, thy cruelty!
    And wilt thou leave me thus?

    Say nay! say nay!



'One Day I Wrote Her Name upon the Strand'

One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away: Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.

'Vain man,' said she, 'that dost in vain assay A mortal thing so to immortalize, For I myself shall like to this decay, And eke my name be wiped out likewise.'

'Not so,' quod I, 'let baser things devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens write your glorious name,

Where, whenas Death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew.'



    "'As Ye Came from the Holy Land'"

    'As ye came from the holy land
    Of Walsinghame,
    Met you not with my true love
    By the way as you came?'

    'How should I know your true love,
    That have met many a one
    As I came from the holy land,
    That have come, that have gone?'
    'She is neither white nor brown,
    But as the heavens fair;
    There is none hath her form divine
    In the earth or the air.'

    'Such a one did I meet, good sir,
    Such an angelic face,
    Who like a nymph, like a queen, did appear
    In her gait, in her grace.'

    'She hath left me here alone,
    All alone, as unknown,
    Who sometime did me lead with herself,
    And me loved as her own.'

    'What's the cause that she
    leaves you alone
    And a new way doth take,
    That sometime did love you as her own,
    And her joy did you make?'

    'I have loved her all my youth,
    But now am old, as you see:
    Love likes not the falling fruit,
    Nor the withered tree.

    'Know that Love is a careless child,
    And forgets promise past;
    He is blind, he is deaf when he list,
    And in faith never fast.

    'His desire is a dureless content,
    And a trustless joy;
    He is won with a world of despair,
    And is lost with a toy.

    'Of womenkind such indeed is the love,
    Or the word love abused,
    Under which many childish desires
    And conceits are excused.

    'But true love is a durable fire,
    In the mind ever burning,
    Never sick, never dead, never cold,
    From itself never turning.'

    Her Reply

    If all the world and love were young,
    And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
    These pretty pleasures might me move
    To live with thee and be thy Love.

    But Time drives flocks from field to fold;
    When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
    And Philomel becometh dumb;
    The rest complains of cares to come.

    The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
    To wayward Winter reckoning yields:
    A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
    Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

    Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
    Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
    Soon break, soon wither—soon forgotten,
    In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

    Thy belt of straw and ivy-buds,
    Thy coral clasps and amber studs,—
    All these in me no means can move
    To come to thee and be thy Love.

    But could youth last, and love still breed,
    Had joys no date, nor age no need,
    Then these delights my mind might move
    To live with thee and be thy Love.



    'Loving in Truth, and Fain in Verse My Love to Show'

    Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
    That the dear she might take some pleasure of my pain,
    Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
    Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,
    I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe:
    Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,
    Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
    Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain.
    But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay;
    Invention, Nature's child, fled stepdame Study's blows;
    And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
    Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
    Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
    'Fool,' said my Muse to me, 'look in thy heart, and write.'

    His Lady's Cruelty

    With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
    How silently, and with how wan a face!
    What! may it be that even in heavenly place
    That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?
    Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes
    Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case:
    I read it in thy looks; thy languish'd grace
    To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
    Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
    Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
    Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
    Do they above love to be loved, and yet
    Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
    Do they call 'virtue' there—ungratefulness?

    The Bargain

    My true love hath my heart, and I have his,
    By just exchange one for another given;
    I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
    There never was a better bargain driven:
    My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

    His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
    My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
    He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
    I cherish his because in me it bides:
    My true love hath my heart, and I have his.



    Cards and Kisses

    Cupid and my Campaspe play'd
    At cards for kisses—Cupid paid:
    He stakes his quiver, bow, and arrows,
    His mother's doves, and team of sparrows;
    Loses them too; then down he throws
    The coral of his lips, the rose
    Growing on's cheek (but none knows how);
    With these, the crystal of his brow,
    And then the dimple of his chin:
    All these did my Campaspe win.
    At last he set her both his eyes—
    She won, and Cupid blind did rise.

    O Love! has she done this for thee?

    What shall, alas! become of me?



    A Summer Song

    When as the rye reach to the chin,
    And chopcherry, chopcherry ripe within,
    Strawberries swimming in the cream,
    And school-boys playing in the stream;
    Then O, then O, then O my true love said,
    Till that time come again,
    She could not live a maid.




    Diaphenia like the daffadowndilly,
    White as the sun, fair as the lily,
    Heigh ho, how I do love thee!
    I do love thee as my lambs
    Are beloved of their dams;
    How blest were I if thou wouldst prove me.

    Diaphenia like the spreading roses,
    That in thy sweets all sweets encloses,
    Fair sweet, how I do love thee!
    I do love thee as each flower
    Loves the sun's life-giving power;
    For dead, thy breath to life might move me.

    Diaphenia like to all things blessed
    When all thy praises are expressed,
    Dear joy, how I do love thee!
    As the birds do love the spring,
    Or the bees their careful king:
    Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!



    'If This Be Love, to Draw a Weary Breath'
    If this be love, to draw a weary breath,
    To paint on floods till the shore cry to th'air,
    With downward looks, still reading on the earth
    The sad memorials of my loves despair;
    If this be love, to war against my soul,
    Lie down to wail, rise up to sigh and grieve,
    The never-resting stone of care to roll,
    Still to complain my griefs whilst none relieve;
    If this be love, to clothe me with dark thoughts,
    Haunting untrodden paths to wail apart;
    My pleasures horror, music tragic notes,
    Tears in mine eyes and sorrow at my heart.
    If this be love, to live a living death,
    Then do I love and draw this weary breath.


Excerpted from Great Love Poems by Shane Weller. Copyright © 1992 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Great Love Poems 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. Only $1.00???? Now it's $2.00!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For a dollar thats a good or should i say a great book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved it i mean were can you get a book for a $1.00 and still love it and enjoy it i have read mine 5 times i know them by heart.