Top 20 Most Popular Poems of Richard Le Gallienne

These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of Richard Le Gallienne.

From Her Portrait Immortal to The Friend.

If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.

Keep reading!…

Her Portrait Immortal

Must I believe this beauty wholly gone
That in her picture here so deathless seems,
And must I henceforth speak of her as one
Tells of some face of legend or of dreams,
Still here and there remembered – scarce believed,
Or held the fancy of a heart bereaved.

So beautiful she – was; ah! “was,” say I,
Yet doubt her dead – I did not see her die.
Only by others borne across the sea
Came the incredible wild blasphemy
They called her death – as though it could be true
Of such an immortality as you!

True of these eyes that from her picture gaze,
Serene, star-steadfast, as the heaven’s own eyes;
Of that deep bosom, white as hawthorn sprays,
Where my world-weary head forever lies;
True of these quiet hands, so marble-cool,
Still on her lap as lilies on a pool.

Must I believe her dead – that this sweet clay,
That even from her picture breathes perfume,
Was carried on a fiery wind away,
Or foully locked in the worm-whispering tomb;
This casket rifled, ribald fingers thrust
‘Mid all her dainty treasure – is this dust!

Once such a dewy marvel of a girl,
Warm as the sun, and ivory as the moon;
All gone of her, all lost – except this curl
Saved from her head one summer afternoon,
Tied with a little ribbon from her breast –
This only mine, and Death’s now all the rest.

Must I believe it true! Bid me not go
Where on her grave the English violets blow;
Nay, leave me – if a dream, indeed, it be –
Still in my dream that she is somewhere she,
Silent, as was her wont. It is a lie –
She is not dead – I did not see her die.

Richard Le Gallienne

Cor Cordium – O Golden Day! O Silver Night!

O golden day! O silver night!
That brought my own true love at last,
Ah, wilt thou drop from out our sight,
And drown within the past?

One wave, no more, in life’s wide sea,
One little nameless crest of foam,
The day that gave her all to me
And brought us to our home.

Nay, rather as the morning grows
In flush, and gleam, and kingly ray,
While up the heaven the sun-god goes,
So shall ascend our day.

And when at last the long night nears,
And love grows angel in the gloam,
Nay, sweetheart, what of fears and tears? –
The stars shall see us home.

Richard Le Gallienne

A Ballad Of The Kind Little Creatures

I had no where to go,
I had no money to spend:
“O come with me,” the Beaver said,
“I live at the world’s end.”

“Does the world ever end!”
To the Beaver then said I:
“O yes! the green world ends,” he said,
“Up there in the blue sky.”

I walked along with him to home,
At the edge of a singing stream –
The little faces in the town
Seemed made out of a dream.

I sat down in the little house,
And ate with the kind things –
Then suddenly a bird comes out
Of the bushes, and he sings:

“Have you no home? O take my nest,
It almost is the sky;”
And then there came along the creek
A purple dragon-fly.

“Have you no home?” he said;
“O come along with me,
Get on my wings – the moon’s my home” –
The dragon-fly said he.

The Bee was told by a young Bat
A man had need of home;
He flew away at once, and said
“Come to my honeycomb!”

Even the butterfly,
A painted hour;
Said to the homeless one:
“I know a flower.”

The Ant came slowly,
Late, of course, but still
Bringing the tiny welcome
Of his hill.

The tired turtle,
Fumbling through the wood,
Came, asking hospitably
“If I would?”

Even a hornet came,
With sheathed sting, –
He never yet had seen
So lost a thing!

There was his nest
Up in the singing boughs,
Among the pears,
A fragrant humming house.

And even little
Stupid things that crawl
Among the reeds, deeming
That that is all,
Came a long weary way
To bid me home.

A snake said:
“In the world there is a place
Where you can lie
And dream of her white face.”

The moss said: “Your blue eyes
Need my green sleep”;
The willow said: “Ah! when
You weep I weep.”

Wonderful earth
Of little kindly things,
That buzz and beam
And flitter little wings!

Over the sexton’s grave
The growing grass
Cried out: “Come home!
I am alive, alas!”

Ah! love, the world is fading,
Flower by flower,
Each has his little house,
And each his hour.

The ship rocked long
Across the weary sea,
But at the last
There is a port for me.

Richard Le Gallienne

A Ballad Of Too Much Beauty

There is too much beauty upon this earth
For lonely men to bear,
Too many eyes, too enchanted skies,
Too many things too fair;
And the man who would live the life of a man
Must turn his eyes away – if he can.

He must not look at the dawning day,
Or watch the rising moon;
From the little feet, so white, so fleet,
He must turn his eyes away;
And the flowers and the faces he must pass by
With stern self-sacrificing eye.

For beauty and duty are strangers forever,
Work and wonder ever apart,
And the laws of life eternally sever
The ways of the brain from the ways of the heart;
Be it flower or pearl, or the face of a girl,
Or the ways of the waters as they swirl.

Lo! beauty is sorrow, and sorrowful men
Have no heart to look on the face of the sky,
Or hear the remorseful voice of the sea,
Or the song of the wandering wind in the tree,
Or even watch a butterfly.

Richard Le Gallienne

A Ballad Of London – (To H. W. Massinsham)

Ah, London! London! our delight,
Great flower that opens but at night,
Great City of the Midnight Sun,
Whose day begins when day is done.

Lamp after lamp against the sky
Opens a sudden beaming eye,
Leaping alight on either hand,
The iron lilies of the Strand.

Like dragonflies, the hansoms hover,
With jewelled eyes, to catch the lover;
The streets are full of lights and loves,
Soft gowns, and flutter of soiled doves.

The human moths about the light
Dash and cling close in dazed delight,
And burn and laugh, the world and wife,
For this is London, this is life!

Upon thy petals butterflies,
But at thy root, some say, there lies
A world of weeping trodden things,
Poor worms that have not eyes or wings.

From out corruption of their woe
Springs this bright flower that charms us so,
Men die and rot deep out of sight
To keep this jungle-flower bright.

Paris and London, World-Flowers twain
Wherewith the World-Tree blooms again,
Since Time hath gathered Babylon,
And withered Rome still withers on.

Sidon and Tyre were such as ye,
How bright they shone upon the Tree!
But Time hath gathered, both are gone,
And no man sails to Babylon.

Ah, London! London! our delight,
For thee, too, the eternal night,
And Circe Paris hath no charm
To stay Time’s unrelenting arm.

Time and his moths shall eat up all.
Your chiming towers proud and tall
He shall most utterly abase,
And set a desert in their place.

Richard Le Gallienne

Ballade Of The Oldest Duel In The World

A battered swordsman, slashed and scarred,
I scarce had thought to fight again,
But love of the old game dies hard,
So to’t, my lady, if you’re fain!
I’m scarce the mettle to refrain,
I’ll ask no quarter from your art –
But what if we should both be slain!
I fight you, darling, for your heart.

I warn you, though, be on your guard,
Nor an old swordsman’s craft disdain,
He jests at scars – what saith the Bard?
Love’s wounds are real, and fierce the pain;
If we should die of love, we twain!
You laugh – en garde then – so we start;
Cyrano-like, here’s my refrain:
I fight you, darling, for your heart.

If compliments I interlard
Twixt feint and lunge, you’ll not complain
Lacking your eyes, the night’s un-starred,
The rose is beautiful in vain,
In vain smells sweet – Rose-in-the-Brain,
Dizzying the world – a touch! sweet smart! –
Only the envoi doth remain:
I fight you, darling, for your heart.


Princess, I’m yours; the rose-red rain
Pours from my side – but see! I dart
Within your guard – poor pretty stain!
I fight you, darling, for your heart.

Richard Le Gallienne

A Ballad Of Woman

(Gratefully Dedicated to Mrs. Pankhurst)

She bore us in her dreaming womb,
And laughed into the face of Death;
She laughed, in her strange agony, –
To give her little baby breath.

Then, by some holy mystery,
She fed us from her sacred breast,
Soothed us with little birdlike words –
To rest – to rest – to rest – to rest;

Yea, softly fed us with her life –
Her bosom like the world in May:
Can it be true that men, thus fed,
Feed women – as I hear them say?

Long ere we grew to girl and boy,
She sewed the little things we wore,
And smiled unto herself for joy –
Mysterious Portress of the Door.

Shall she who bore the son of God,
And made the rose of Sappho’s song,
She who saved France, and beat the drum
Of freedom, brook this vulgar wrong?

I wonder if such men as these
Had once a sister with blue eyes,
Kind as the soothing hand of God,
And as the quiet heaven wise.

I wonder if they ever saw
A soldier lying on a bed
On some lone battle-field, and watched
Some holy woman bind his head.

I wonder if they ever walked,
Lost in a black and weary land,
And suddenly a flower came
And took them softly by the hand.

I wonder if they ever heard
The silver scream, in some grey morn,
High in a lit and listening tower,
Because a man-child then was born.

I wonder if they ever saw
A woman’s hair, or in her eye
Read the eternal mystery –
Or ever saw a woman die.

I wonder, when all friends had gone, –
The gay companions, the brave men –
If in some fragile girl they found
Their only stay and comrade then.

She who thus went through flaming hell
To make us, put into our clay
All that there is of heaven, shall she –
Mother and sister, wife and fay, –

Have no part in the world she made –
Serf of the rainbow, vassal flower –
Save knitting in the afternoon,
And rocking cradles, hour by hour!

Richard Le Gallienne

A Child’s Evensong

The sun is weary, for he ran
So far and fast to-day;
The birds are weary, for who sang
So many songs as they?
The bees and butterflies at last
Are tired out, for just think too
How many gardens through the day
Their little wings have fluttered through.
And so, as all tired people do,
They’ve gone to lay their sleepy heads
Deep deep in warm and happy beds.
The sun has shut his golden eye
And gone to sleep beneath the sky,
The birds and butterflies and bees
Have all crept into flowers and trees,
And all lie quiet, still as mice,
Till morning comes – like father’s voice.

So Geoffrey, Owen, Phyllis, you
Must sleep away till morning too.
Close little eyes, down little heads,
And sleep – sleep – sleep in happy beds.

Richard Le Gallienne


The year grows still again, the surging wake
Of full-sailed summer folds its furrows up,
As after passing of an argosy
Old Silence settles back upon the sea,
And ocean grows as placid as a cup.
Spring, the young morn, and Summer, the strong noon,
Have dreamed and done and died for Autumn’s sake:
Autumn that finds not for a loss so dear
Solace in stack and garner hers too soon –
Autumn, the faithful widow of the year.

Autumn, a poet once so full of song,
Wise in all rhymes of blossom and of bud,
Hath lost the early magic of his tongue,
And hath no passion in his failing blood.
Hear ye no sound of sobbing in the air?
‘Tis his. Low bending in a secret lane,
Late blooms of second childhood in his hair,
He tries old magic, like a dotard mage;
Tries spell and spell, to weep and try again:
Yet not a daisy hears, and everywhere
The hedgerow rattles like an empty cage.

He hath no pleasure in his silken skies,
Nor delicate ardours of the yellow land;
Yea, dead, for all its gold, the woodland lies,
And all the throats of music filled with sand.
Neither to him across the stubble field
May stack nor garner any comfort bring,
Who loveth more this jasmine he hath made,
The little tender rhyme he yet can sing,
Than yesterday, with all its pompous yield,
Or all its shaken laurels on his head.

Richard Le Gallienne

Spring In The Paris Catacombs

I saw strange bones to-day in Paris town,
Deep in the quarried dark, while over-head
The roar of glad and busy things went by –
Over our heads –
So many heads –
Deep down, deep down –
Those strange old bones deep down in Paris town:
Heads where no longer dwell –
Yet who shall tell! –
Such thoughts as those
That make a rose
Of a maid’s cheek,

Filling it with such bloom –
All fearless of the unsuspected doom –
As flood wild April with such hushing breath
That Death himself believes no more in Death.

Yea! I went down
Out of the chestnuts and the girl-filled town,
Only a yard or two beneath the street,
Haunted a little while by little feet,
Going, did they but know, the self-same way
As all those bones as white as the white May
That roofs the orchards overhead with bloom.

Perhaps I only dreamed,
And yet to me it seemed
That those old bones talked strangely each to each,
Chattering together in forgotten speech –

Speaking of Her
That was so very fair,
Telling of Him
So strong
He is a song
Up there in the far day, where even yet
Fools sing of fates and faces
Even fools cannot forget.

Faces went by, as haughty as of old,
Wearing upon their heads the unminted gold
That flowers in blackness only,
And sad lips smiled softly, softly,
Knowing well it was too late
Even for Fate.

Yet one shape that I never can forget
Waved a wild sceptre at me, ruling yet
An empire gone where all empires must go,
Melting away as simply as the snow;
Yet no one heeded the flower of his menace,
As little heeded him as that One Face
That suddenly I saw go wandering by,
And saying as she went – “I – still – am – I!”

And the dry bones thereat
Rattled together, laughing, gossipping
Together in the gloom
That dared not sing,
The little trivial gossip of the tomb –
Ah! just as long ago, in their dry way,
They mocked at fairy faces and strong eyes
That of their foolish loving make us wise.

Paris: May, 1913.

Richard Le Gallienne

Love Eternal

The human heart will never change,
The human dream will still go on,
The enchanted earth be ever strange
With moonlight and the morning sun,
And still the seas shall shout for joy,
And swing the stars as in a glass,
The girl be angel for the boy,
The lad be hero for the lass.

The fashions of our mortal brains
New names for dead men’s thoughts shall give,
But we find not for all our pains
Why ’tis so wonderful to live;
The beauty of a meadow-flower
Shall make a mock of all our skill,
And God, upon his lonely tower
Shall keep his secret – secret still.

The old magician of the skies,
With coloured and sweet-smelling things,
Shall charm the sense and trance the eyes,
Still onward through a million springs;
And nothing old and nothing new
Into the magic world be born,
Yea! nothing older than the dew,
And nothing younger than the morn.

Delight and Destiny and Death
Shall still the mortal story weave,
Man shall not lengthen out his breath,
Nor stay when it is time to leave;
And all in vain for him to ask
His little meaning in the Whole,
Done well or ill his tiny task,
The mystic making of his soul.

Ah! love, and is it not enough
To have our part in this romance
Made of such planetary stuff,
Strange partners in the cosmic dance?
Though Life be all too swift a dream,
And its fair rose must fade and fall,
Life has no sorrow in its scheme
As never to have lived at all.

This fire that through our being runs,
When our two hearts together beat,
Is one with yonder burning sun’s,
Two atoms that in glory meet;
What unimagined loss it were,
If that dread power in which we trust
Had left your eyes, your lips, your hair,
Nought but un-animated dust.

Unknown the thrilling touch divine
That sets our magic clay aflame,
That wrought your beauty to be mine,
And joy enough to speak your name;
Thanks be to Life that did this thing,
Unsought, beloved, for you and me,
Gave us the rose, and birds to sing,
The golden earth, the blue-robed sea.

Richard Le Gallienne


Winter, some call thee fair,
Yea! flatter thy cold face
With vain compare
Of all thy glittering ways
And magic snows
With summer and the rose;
Thy phantom flowers
And fretted traceries
Of crystal breath,
Thy frozen and fantastic art of death,
With April as she showers
The violet on the leas,
And bares her bosom
In the blossoming trees,
And dances on her way
To laugh with May –
Winter that hath no bird
To sing thee, and no bloom
To deck thy brow:
To me thou art an empty haunted room,
Where once the music
Of the summer stirred,
And all the dancers
Fallen on silence now.

Richard Le Gallienne

A Rainy Day

The beauty of this rainy day,
All silver-green and dripping gray,
Has stolen quite my heart away
From all the tasks I meant to do,
Made me forget the resolute blue
And energetic gold of things . . .
So soft a song the rain-bird sings.

Yet am I glad to miss awhile
The sun’s huge domineering smile,
The busy spaces mile on mile,
Shut in behind this shimmering screen
Of falling pearls and phantom green;
As in a cloister walled with rain,
Safe from intrusions, voices vain,
And hurry of invading feet,
Inviolate in my retreat:
Myself, my books, my pipe, my fire –
So runs my rainy-day desire.

Or I old letters may con o’er,
And dream on faces seen no more,
The buried treasure of the years,
Too visionary now for tears;
Open old cupboards and explore
Sometimes, for an old sweetheart’s sake,
A delicate romantic ache,
Sometimes a swifter pang of pain
To read old tenderness again,
As though the ink were scarce yet dry,
And She still She and I still I.
What if I were to write as though
Her letter came an hour ago!
An hour ago! – This post-mark says . . .
But out upon these rainy days!
Come tie the packet up again,
The sun is back – enough of rain.

Richard Le Gallienne

The World Is Wide

The world is wide – around yon court,
Where dirty little children play,
Another world of street on street
Grows wide and wider every day.

And round the town for endless miles
A great strange land of green is spread –
O wide the world, O weary-wide,
But it is wider overhead.

For could you mount yon glittering stairs
And on their topmost turret stand, –
Still endless shining courts and squares,
And lanes of lamps on every hand.

And, might you tread those starry streets
To where those long perspectives bend,
O you would cast you down and die –
Street upon street, world without end.

Richard Le Gallienne

All The Words In All The World

All the flowers cannot weave
A garland worthy of your hair,
Not a bird in the four winds
Can sing of you that is so fair.

Only the spheres can sing of you;
Some planet in celestial space,
Hallowed and lonely in the dawn,
Shall sing the poem of your face.

Richard Le Gallienne

A Face In A Book

In an old book I found her face
Writ by a dead man long ago –
I found, and then I lost the place;
So nothing but her face I know,
And her soft name writ fair below.

Even if she lived I cannot learn,
Or but a dead man’s dream she were;
Page after yellow page I turn,
But cannot come again to her,
Although I know she must be there.

On other books of other men,
Far in the night, year-long, I pore,
Hoping to find her face again,
Too fair a face to see no more –
And ’twas so soft a name she bore.

Sometimes I think the book was Youth,
And the dead man that wrote it I,
The face was Beauty, the name Truth –
And thus, with an unseeing eye,
I pass the long-sought image by.

Richard Le Gallienne


Art is a gipsy,
Fickle as fair,
Good to kiss and flirt with,
But marry – if you dare!

Richard Le Gallienne

A Lover’s Universe

When winter comes and takes away the rose,
And all the singing of sweet birds is done,
The warm and honeyed world lost deep in snows,
Still, independent of the summer sun,
In vain, with sullen roar,
December shakes my door,
And sleet upon the pane
Threatens my peace in vain,
While, seated by the fire upon my knee,
My love abides with me.

For he who, wise in time, his harvest yields
Reaped into barns, sweet-smelling and secure,
Smiles as the rain beats sternly on his fields,
For wealth is his no winter can make poor;
Safe all his waving gold
Shut in against the cold,
Treasure of summer grass –
So sit I with my lass,
My harvest sheaves of all her garnered charms
Safe in my happy arms.

Still fragrant in the garden of her breast,
The flowers that fled with summer softly bloom,
The birds that shook with song each empty nest
Still, when she speaks, fill all the listening room,
Deep-sheltered from the storm
Within her blossoming form.
Flower-breathed and singing sweet
Is she from head to feet;
All summer in my sweetheart doth abide,
Though winter be outside.

So all the various wonder of the world,
The wizard moon and stars, the haunted sea,
In her small being mystically furled,
She brings as in a golden cup to me;
Within no other book
My eyes for wisdom look,
That have her eyes for lore;
And when the flaming door
Opens into the dark, what shall I fear
Adventuring with my dear?

Richard Le Gallienne

A Love-Letter

Darling little woman, just a little line,
Just a little silver word
For that dear gold of thine,
Only a whisper you have so often heard:

Only such a whisper as hidden in a shell
Holds a little breath of all the mighty sea,
But think what a little of all its depth and swell,
And think what a little is this little note of me.

‘Darling, I love thee, that is all I live for’ –
There is the whisper stealing from the shell,
But here is the ocean, O so deep and boundless,
And each little wave with its whisper as well.

Richard Le Gallienne

The Friend

Through the dark wood
There came to me a friend,
Bringing in his cold hands
Two words – ‘The End.’

His face was fair
As fading autumn flowers,
And the lost joy
Of unforgotten hours.

His voice was sweet
As rain upon a grave;
‘Be brave,’ he smiled.
And yet again – ‘be brave.’

Richard Le Gallienne

All of these poems are classics! Richard Le Gallienne was also apparently best known as the father of the American actress Eva Le Gallienne.

Of course, I wouldn’t miss reading my favorite work in this collection―The Friend. I really enjoy reading poems which are also about friendship.

What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of Richard Le Gallienne?

Do you still want to add another of his poem to this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉


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