66 Greatest Poems about Admiration

Admiration is a common yet special emotion, and it may come with admiring things, places, and people. Whatever it might be or whomever it might be, we all have diverse admiration in our lives. The same with our greatest poets. They all have their own ways of writing poems creatively about this content.

If you’re interested how poets described admiration through their poems, here are sixty-six (66) greatest poems about it that you would like.

Keep reading!

“When in the chronicle of wasted time”

Sonnet CVI.

When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme,
In praise of ladies dead, and lovely knights;
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have expressed
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And, for they looked but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing;
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

William Shakespeare


The lark now leaves his watery nest,
And climbing shakes his dewy wings,
He takes your window for the east,
And to implore your light, he sings;
Awake, awake, the morn will never rise,
Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.
The merchant bows unto the seaman’s star,
The ploughman from the sun his season takes;
But still the lover wonders what they are,
Who look for day before his mistress wakes:
Awake, awake, break through your veils of lawn!
Then draw your curtains and begin the dawn.

Sir William Davenant

“Shall I compare thee?”

Sonnet XVIII.

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 dimmed:
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest 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.

William Shakespeare

My Lady

From the Italian by Charles Eliot Norton

So gentle and so gracious doth appear
My lady when she giveth her salute,
That every tongue becometh, trembling, mute;
Nor do the eyes to look upon her dare.
Although she hears her praises, she doth go
Benignly vested with humility;
And like a thing come down she seems to be
From heaven to earth, a miracle to show.
So pleaseth she whoever cometh nigh,
She gives the heart a sweetness through the eyes,
Which none can understand who doth not prove.
And from her countenance there seems to move
A spirit sweet and in Love’s very guise,
Who to the soul, in going, sayeth: Sigh!

Dante Alighieri

To a Lady

On Her Art of Growing Old Gracefully

You ask a verse, to sing (ah, laughing face!)
Your happy art of growing old with grace?
O Muse, begin, and let the truth—but hold!
First let me see that you are growing old.

John James Piatt

“There is a garden in her face”

From “An Houre’s Recreation in Musicke,” 1606

There is a garden in her face,
Where roses and white lilies blow;
A heavenly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do grow;
There cherries grow that none may buy,
Till cherry-ripe themselves do cry.

Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rosebuds filled with snow;
Yet them no peer nor prince may buy,
Till cherry-ripe themselves do cry.

Her eyes like angels watch them still,
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threatening with piercing frowns to kill
All that approach with eye or hand
These sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till cherry-ripe themselves do cry.


The Portrait

Give place, ye ladies, and begone,
Boast not yourselves at all:
For here at hand approacheth one
Whose face will stain you all.

The virtue of her lively looks
Excels the precious stone:
I wish to have none other books
To read or look upon.

In each of her two crystal eyes
Smileth a naked boy:
It would you all in heart suffice
To see that lamp of joy.

I think Nature hath lost the mould
Where she her shape did take;
Or else I doubt if Nature could
So fair a creature make.

In life she is Diana chaste,
In truth Penelope;
In word and eke in deed steadfast:
What will you more we say?

If all the world were sought so far,
Who could find such a wight?
Her beauty twinkleth like a star
Within the frosty night.

Her rosial color comes and goes
With such a comely grace,
More ruddier too than in the rose,
Within her lovely face.

At Bacchus’ feast none shall her meet,
Nor at no wanton play,
Nor gazing in an open street,
Nor gadding as astray.

The modest mirth that she doth use
Is mixt with shamefastness;
All vice she doth wholly refuse,
And hateth idleness.

O Lord! it is a world to see
How virtue can repair
And deck in her such honesty,
Whom Nature made so fair!

How might I do to get a graffe
Of this unspotted tree?
For all the rest are plain but chaff,
Which seem good corn to be.

Thomas Heywood

“Give place, ye lovers”

Give place, ye lovers, here before
That spent your boasts and brags in vain;
My lady’s beauty passeth more
The best of yours, I dare well sayen,
Than doth the sun the candle light,
Or brightest day the darkest night.

And thereto hath a troth as just
As had Penelope the fair;
For what she saith, ye may it trust,
As it by writing sealèd were:
And virtues hath she many mo’
Than I with pen have skill to show.

I could rehearse, if that I would,
The whole effect of Nature’s plaint,
When she had lost the perfect mould,
The like to whom she could not paint:
With wringing hands, how she did cry,
And what she said, I know it aye.

I know she swore with raging mind,
Her kingdom only set apart,
There was no loss by law of kind
That could have gone so near her heart;
And this was chiefly all her pain;
“She could not make the like again.”

Sith Nature thus gave her the praise,
To be the chiefest work she wrought,
In faith, methink, some better ways
On your behalf might well be sought,
Than to compare, as ye have done,
To match the candle with the sun.

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

To His Mistress

Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia

You meaner beauties of the night,
That poorly satisfy our eyes
More by your number than your light,—
You common people of the skies,
What are you when the moon shall rise?

You curious chanters of the wood,
That warble forth Dame Nature’s lays,
Thinking your passions understood
By your weak accents,—what ’s your praise
When Philomel her voice shall raise?

You violets that first appear,
By your pure purple mantles known,
Like the proud virgins of the year,
As if the spring were all your own,—
What are you when the rose is blown?

So when my mistress shall be seen
In form and beauty of her mind:
By virtue first, then choice, a queen,—
Tell me, if she were not designed
The eclipse and glory of her kind?

Sir Henry Wotton

“The forward violet thus did I chide”

Sonnet XCIX.

The forward violet thus did I chide:—
Sweet thief, whence did thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love’s breath? the purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells,
In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemnèd for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stolen thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stolen of both,
And to this robbery had annexed thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
But sweet or color it had stolen from thee.

William Shakespeare


From “Twelfth Night,” Act I. Sc. 5.

Viola.—’T is beauty truly blent, whose red and white
Nature’s own sweet and cunning hand laid on:
Lady, you are the cruel’st she alive,
If you will lead these graces to the grave,
And leave the world no copy.

William Shakespeare

Portia’s Picture

From “The Merchant of Venice,” Act III. Sc. 2.

Fair Portia’s counterfeit? What demi-god
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion? Here are severed lips,
Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider; and hath woven
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
Faster than gnats in cobwebs: but her eyes!—
How could he see to do them? having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his,
And leave itself unfurnished.

William Shakespeare

Modern Love: XXXVI

My Lady unto Madam makes her bow.
The charm of women is, that even while
You’re probed by them for tears you yet may smile,
Nay, laugh outright, as I have done just now.
The interview was gracious: they anoint
(To me aside) each other with fine praise:
Discriminating compliments they raise,
That hit with wondrous aim on the weak point:
My Lady’s nose of Nature might complain.
It is not fashioned aptly to express
Her character of large-browed steadfastness.
But Madam says: ‘Thereof she may be vain!’
Now Madam’s faulty feature is a glazed
And inaccessible eye, that has soft fires,
Wide gates, at love-time only. This admires
My Lady. At the two I stand amazed.

George Meredith

Song: “The shape alone let others prize”

The shape alone let others prize,
The features of the fair:
I look for spirit in her eyes,
And meaning in her air.

A damask cheek, an ivory arm,
Shall ne’er my wishes win:
Give me an animated form,
That speaks a mind within.

A face where awful honor shines,
Where sense and sweetness move,
And angel innocence refines
The tenderness of love.

These are the soul of beauty’s frame;
Without whose vital aid
Unfinished all her features seem,
And all her roses dead.

But ah! where both their charms unite,
How perfect is the view,
With every image of delight,
With graces ever new:

Of power to charm the greatest woe,
The wildest rage control,
Diffusing mildness o’er the brow,
And rapture through the soul.

Their power but faintly to express
All language must despair;
But go, behold Arpasia’s face,
And read it perfect there.

Mark Akenside

Triumph of Charis

See the chariot at hand here of Love!
Wherein my lady rideth!
Each that draws is a swan, or a dove,
And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty
Unto her beauty.
And, enamored, do wish, so they might
But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side
Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.

Do but look on her eyes! they do light
All that Love’s world compriseth;
Do but look on her hair! it is bright
As Love’s star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead’s smoother
Than words that soothe her!
And from her arched brows such a grace
Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triumphs to the life,
All the gain, all the good, of the elements’ strife.

Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
Before rude hands have touched it?
Have you marked but the fall of the snow,
Before the soil hath smutched it?
Have you felt the wool of the beaver?
Or swan’s down ever?
Or have smelt o’ the bud of the brier?
Or the nard i’ the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
Oh, so white! oh, so soft! oh, so sweet is she.

Ben Jonson


From “The Rape of the Lock,” Canto II. ll. 7–18.

On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore,
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfixed as those:
Favors to none, to all she smiles extends:
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
Yet, graceful ease and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide;
If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you ’ll forget them all.

Alexander Pope

Hero’s Beauty

From the First Sestiad of “Hero and Leander”

On Hellespont, guilty of true love’s blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoined by Neptune’s might;
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair,
And offered as a dower his burning throne,
Where she should sit, for men to gaze upon.
The outside of her garments were of lawn,
The lining purple silk, with gilt stars drawn;
Her wide sleeves green, and bordered with a grove,
Where Venus in her naked glory strove
To please the careless and disdainful eyes
Of proud Adonis, that before her lies;
Her kirtle blue, whereon was many a stain,
Made with the blood of wretched lovers slain.
Upon her head she ware a myrtle wreath,
From whence her veil reached to the ground beneath:
Her veil was artificial flowers and leaves,
Whose workmanship both man and beast deceives:
Many would praise the sweet smell as she past,
When ’t was the odor which her breath forth cast;
And there for honey bees have sought in vain,
And, beat from thence, have lighted there again.
About her neck hung chains of pebble-stone,
Which, lightened by her neck, like diamonds shone.
She ware no gloves; for neither sun nor wind
Would burn or parch her hands, but, to her mind,
Or warm or cool them, for they took delight
To play upon those hands, they were so white.
Buskins of shells, all silvered, usèd she,
And branched with blushing coral to the knee;
Where sparrows perched, of hollow pearl and gold,
Such as the world would wonder to behold:
Those with sweet water oft her handmaid fills,
Which as she went, would cherup through their bills.
Some say, for her the fairest Cupid pined,
And, looking in her face, was strooken blind.
But this is true; so like was one the other,
As he imagined Hero was his mother;
And oftentimes into her bosom flew,
About her naked neck his bare arms threw,
And laid his childish head upon her breast,
And, with still panting rockt, there took his rest.

Christopher Marlowe

“Drink to me only with thine eyes”

From the Greek of Philostratus

From “The Forest”

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I ’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honoring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon didst only breathe
And sent’st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself but thee!

Ben Jonson

“Eros is missing”

From the Greek by Charles Whibley

Eros is missing. In the early morn
Forth from his bed the rascal took his flight.
Sweet are his tears; his smile is touched with scorn—
A nimble-tongued, swift-footed, fearless sprite!
And he is winged; his hands a quiver bear.
What father ’t was begot him none can tell.
“He is not mine,” Earth, Air, and Sea declare.
That he ’s a foe to all, I know full well.
So keep good watch: beware his snare’s embrace;
Even now his toils may in thy pathway lie.
But look, who ’s that? Ah, there ’s his hiding-place!
I see him, bow and all, in Chloe’s eye.

Meleager of Gadara

A Violet in her Hair

A violet in her lovely hair,
A rose upon her bosom fair!
But O, her eyes
A lovelier violet disclose,
And her ripe lips the sweetest rose
That ’s ’neath the skies.

A lute beneath her graceful hand
Breathes music forth at her command;
But still her tongue
Far richer music calls to birth
Than all the minstrel power on earth
Can give to song.

And thus she moves in tender light,
The purest ray, where all is bright,
Serene, and sweet;
And sheds a graceful influence round,
That hallows e’en the very ground
Beneath her feet!

Charles Swain

To Dianeme

Sweet, be not proud of those two eyes,
Which starlike sparkle in their skies;
Nor be you proud that you can see
All hearts your captives, yours yet free.
Be you not proud of that rich hair,
Which wantons with the lovesick air;
Whenas that ruby which you wear,
Sunk from the tip of your soft ear,
Will last to be a precious stone
When all your world of beauty ’s gone.

Robert Herrick


Like to the clear in highest sphere
Where all imperial glory shines:
Of selfsame color is her hair,
Whether unfolded, or in twines:
Heigh-ho, fair Rosalynd!
Her eyes are sapphires set in snow,
Refining heaven by every wink;
The gods do fear whenas they glow,
And I do tremble when I think
Heigh-ho, would she were mine!

Her cheeks are like the blushing cloud
That beautifies Aurora’s face,
Or like the silver-crimson shroud
That Phœbus’ smiling looks doth grace:
Heigh-ho, fair Rosalynd!
Her lips are like two budded roses
Whom ranks of lilies neighbor nigh,
Within which bounds she balm encloses
Apt to entice a deity:
Heigh-ho, would she were mine!

Her neck, like to a stately tower
Where Love himself emprisoned lies
To watch for glances every hour
From her divine and sacred eyes:
Heigh-ho, fair Rosalynd!
Her paps are centres of delight,
Her breasts are orbs of heavenly frame,
Where Nature moulds the dew of light
To feed perfection with the same:
Heigh-ho, would she were mine!

With orient pearl, with ruby red,
With marble white, with sapphire blue,
Her body every way is fed,
Yet soft to touch and sweet in view:
Heigh-ho, fair Rosalynd!
Nature herself her shape admires;
The gods are wounded in her sight;
And Love forsakes his heavenly fires
And at her eyes his brand doth light:
Heigh-ho, would she were mine!

Then muse not, Nymphs, though I bemoan
The absence of fair Rosalynd,
Since for a fair there ’s fairer none,
Nor for her virtues so divine:
Heigh-ho, fair Rosalynd!
Heigh-ho, my heart! would God that she were mine!

Thomas Lodge

Disdain Returned

He that loves a rosy cheek,
Or a coral lip admires,
Or from starlike eyes doth seek
Fuel to maintain his fires;
As old Time makes these decay,
So his flames must waste away.

But a smooth and steadfast mind,
Gentle thoughts, and calm desires,
Hearts with equal love combined,
Kindle never-dying fires:—
Where these are not, I despise
Lovely cheeks or lips or eyes.

Thomas Carew

To a Lady admiring Herself in a Looking-Glass

Fair lady, when you see the grace
Of beauty in your looking-glass;
A stately forehead, smooth and high,
And full of princely majesty;
A sparkling eye no gem so fair,
Whose lustre dims the Cyprian star;
A glorious cheek, divinely sweet,
Wherein both roses kindly meet;
A cherry lip that would entice
Even gods to kiss at any price;
You think no beauty is so rare
That with your shadow might compare;
That your reflection is alone
The thing that men most dote upon.
Madam, alas! your glass doth lie,
And you are much deceived; for I
A beauty know of richer grace
(Sweet, be not angry), ’t is your face.
Hence, then, O, learn more mild to be,
And leave to lay your blame on me:
If me your real substance move,
When you so much your shadow love,
Wise nature would not let your eye
Look on her own bright majesty;
Which, had you once but gazed upon,
You could, except yourself, love none:
What then you cannot love, let me,
That face I can, you cannot see.
Now you have what to love, you ’ll say,
What then is left for me, I pray?
My face, sweet heart, if it please thee;
That which you can, I cannot see,
So either love shall gain his due,
Yours, sweet, in me, and mine in you.

Thomas Randolph

“Phillis is my only joy”

Phillis is my only joy
Faithless as the wind or seas;
Sometimes coming, sometimes coy,
Yet she never fails to please.
If with a frown
I am cast down,
Phillis, smiling
And beguiling,
Makes me happier than before.

Though, alas! too late I find
Nothing can her fancy fix;
Yet the moment she is kind
I forgive her all her tricks;
Which though I see,
I can’t get free;
She deceiving,
I believing,
What need lovers wish for more?

Sir Charles Sedley


Out upon it. I have loved
Three whole days together;
And am like to love three more,
If it prove fair weather.

Time shall moult away his wings,
Ere he shall discover
In the whole wide world again
Such a constant lover.

But the spite on ’t is, no praise
Is due at all to me;
Love with me had made no stays,
Had it any been but she.

Had it any been but she,
And that very face,
There had been at least ere this
A dozen in her place.

Sir John Suckling

A Vision of Beauty

It was a beauty that I saw,—
So pure, so perfect, as the frame
Of all the universe were lame
To that one figure, could I draw,
Or give least line of it a law:
A skein of silk without a knot!
A fair march made without a halt!
A curious form without a fault!
A printed book without a blot!
All beauty!—and without a spot.

Ben Jonson

To the Princess Lucretia

From London Magazine

Thy unripe youth seemed like the purple rose
That to the warm ray opens not its breast,
But, hiding still within its mossy vest,
Dares not its virgin beauties to disclose;
Or like Aurora, when the heaven first glows,—
For likeness from above will suit thee best,—
When she with gold kindles each mountain crest,
And o’er the plain her pearly mantle throws.
No loss from time thy riper age receives,
Nor can young beauty decked with art’s display
Rival the native graces of thy form:
Thus lovelier is the flower whose full-blown leaves
Perfume the air, and more than orient ray
The sun’s meridian glories blaze and warm.

Torquato Tasso

Vision of a Fair Woman

From Elizabeth A. Sharp’s “Lyra Celtica”

Tell us some of the charms of the stars:
Close and well set were her ivory teeth;
White as the canna upon the moor
Was her bosom the tartan bright beneath.

Her well-rounded forehead shone
Soft and fair as the mountain snow;
Her two breasts were heaving full;
To them did the hearts of heroes flow.

Her lips were ruddier than the rose;
Tender and tunefully sweet her tongue;
White as the foam adown her side
Her delicate fingers extended hung.

Smooth as the dusky down of the elk
Appeared her shady eyebrows to me;
Lovely her cheeks were, like berries red;
From every guile she was wholly free.

Her countenance looked like the gentle buds
Unfolding their beauty in early spring;
Her yellow locks like the gold-browed hills;
And her eyes like the radiance the sunbeams bring.

From the Ancient Erse


From the Greek by Andrew Lang

Now the bright crocus flames, and now
The slim narcissus takes the rain,
And, straying o’er the mountain’s brow,
The daffodillies bud again.
The thousand blossoms wax and wane
On wold, and heath, and fragrant bough,
But fairer than the flowers art thou,
Than any growth of hill or plain.

Ye gardens, cast your leafy crown,
That my Love’s feet may tread it down,
Like lilies on the lilies set;
My Love, whose lips are softer far
Than drowsy poppy petals are,
And sweeter than the violets!

Meleager of Gadara


From the German by Edgar Taylor
When from the sod the flowerets spring,
And smile to meet the sun’s bright ray,
When birds their sweetest carols sing,
In all the morning pride of May,
What lovelier than the prospect there?
Can earth boast anything more fair?
To me it seems an almost heaven,
So beauteous to my eyes that vision bright is given.

But when a lady chaste and fair,
Noble, and clad in rich attire,
Walks through the throng with gracious air,
As sun that bids the stars retire,—
Then where are all thy boastings, May?
What hast thou beautiful and gay,
Compared with that supreme delight?
We leave thy loveliest flowers, and watch that lady bright.

Wouldst thou believe me,—come and place
Before thee all this pride of May,
Then look but on my lady’s face,
And which is best and brightest say.
For me, how soon (if choice were mine)
This would I take, and that resign;
And say, “Though sweet thy beauties, May,
I ’d rather forfeit all than lose my lady gay!”

Walther von der Vogelweide

The Girl of Cadiz

Oh, never talk again to me
Of northern climes and British ladies;
It has not been your lot to see
Like me, the lovely girl of Cadiz.
Although her eyes be not of blue,
Nor fair her locks, like English lasses’,
How far its own expressive hue
The languid azure eye surpasses!

Prometheus-like, from heaven she stole
The fire that through those silken lashes
In darkest glances seems to roll,
From eyes that cannot hide their flashes;
And as along her bosom steal
In lengthened flow her raven tresses,
You ’d swear each clustering lock could feel,
And curled to give her neck caresses.

Our English maids are long to woo,
And frigid even in possession;
And if their charms be fair to view,
Their lips are slow at love’s confession;
But, born beneath a brighter sun,
For love ordained the Spanish maid is,
And who, when fondly, fairly won,
Enchants you like the girl of Cadiz?

The Spanish maid is no coquette,
Nor joys to see a lover tremble;
And if she love, or if she hate,
Alike she knows not to dissemble.
Her heart can ne’er be bought or sold—
Howe’er it beats, it beats sincerely;
And, though it will not bend to gold,
’T will love you long, and love you dearly.

The Spanish girl that meets your love
Ne’er taunts you with a mock denial;
For every thought is bent to prove
Her passion in the hour of trial.
When thronging foemen menace Spain,
She dares the deed and shares the danger;
And should her lover press the plain,
She hurls the spear, her love’s avenger.

And when, beneath the evening star,
She mingles in the gay bolero;
Or sings to her attuned guitar
Of Christian knight or Moorish hero;
Or counts her beads with fairy hand
Beneath the twinkling rays of Hesper;
Or joins devotion’s choral band
To chant the sweet and hallowed vesper:

In each her charms the heart must move
Of all who venture to behold her.
Then let no maids less fair reprove,
Because her bosom is not colder;
Through many a clime ’t is mine to roam
Where many a soft and melting maid is,
But none abroad, and few at home,
May match the dark-eyed girl of Cadiz.

Lord Byron

“I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden”

I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden;
Thou needest not fear mine;
My spirit is too deeply laden
Ever to burden thine.

I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion;
Thou needest not fear mine;
Innocent is the heart’s devotion
With which I worship thine.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A Budget of Paradoxes

Child in thy beauty; empress in thy pride;
Sweet and unyielding as the summer’s tide;
Starlike to tremble, starlike to abide.

Guiltless of wounding, yet more true than steel;
Gem-like thy light to flash and to conceal;
Tortoise to bear, insect to see and feel.

Blushing and shy, yet dread we thy disdain;
Smiling, a sunbeam fraught with hints of rain;
Trilling love-notes to freedom’s fierce refrain.

The days are fresh, the hours are wild and sweet,
When spring and winter, dawn and darkness meet;
Nymph, with one welcome, thee and these we greet.

John Martley

Love Dissembled

From “As You Like It,” Act III. Sc. 5.

Think not I love him, though I ask for him;
’T is but a peevish boy:—yet he talks well;—
But what care I for words?—yet words do well,
When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
But, sure, he ’s proud; and yet his pride becomes him:
He ’ll make a proper man: The best thing in him
Is his complexion; and faster than his tongue
Did make offence, his eye did heal it up.
He is not very tall; yet for his years he ’s tall;
His leg is but so so; and yet ’t is well:
There was a pretty redness in his lip,
A little riper and more lusty red
Than that mixed in his cheek; ’t was just the difference
Betwixt the constant red, and mingled damask.
There be some women, Silvius, had they marked him
In parcels, as I did, would have gone near
To fall in love with him: but, for my part,
I love him not, nor hate him not; and yet
I have more cause to hate him than to love him:
For what had he to do to chide at me?
He said mine eyes were black and my hair black;
And, now I am remembered, scorned at me:
I marvel, why I answered not again:
But that ’s all one; omittance is no quittance.

William Shakespeare

Her Likeness

A girl, who has so many wilful ways
She would have caused Job’s patience to forsake him;
Yet is so rich in all that ’s girlhood’s praise,
Did Job himself upon her goodness gaze,
A little better she would surely make him.

Yet is this girl I sing in naught uncommon,
And very far from angel yet, I trow.
Her faults, her sweetness, are purely human;
Yet she ’s more lovable as simple woman
Than any one diviner that I know.

Therefore I wish that she may safely keep
This womanhede, and change not, only grow:
From maid to matron, youth to age, may creep,
And in perennial blessedness, still reap

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

“She walks in beauty”

“Hebrew Melodies”

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.

Lord Byron

“She is not fair to outward view”

She is not fair to outward view,
As many maidens be;
Her loveliness I never knew
Until she smiled on me:
O, then I saw her eye was bright,—
A well of love, a spring of light.

But now her looks are coy and cold;
To mine they ne’er reply;
And yet I cease not to behold
The love-light in her eye:
Her very frowns are fairer far
Than smiles of other maidens are!

Hartley Coleridge

Verses written in an Album

Here is one leaf reserved for me,
From all thy sweet memorials free;
And here my simple song might tell
The feelings thou must guess so well.
But could I thus, within thy mind,
One little vacant corner find,
Where no impression yet is seen,
Where no memorial yet has been,
O, it should be my sweetest care
To write my name forever there!

Thomas Moore

To Roses in the Bosom of Castara

Ye blushing virgins happy are
In the chaste nunnery of her breasts,
For he ’d profane so chaste a fair,
Who e’er should call them Cupid’s nests.

Transplanted thus how bright ye grow,
How rich a perfume do ye yield!
In some close garden cowslips so
Are sweeter than i’ th’ open field.

In those white cloisters live secure
From the rude blasts of wanton breath,
Each hour more innocent and pure,
Till you shall wither into death.

Then that which living gave you room
Your glorious sepulchre shall be:
There wants no marble for a tomb,
Whose breast has marble been to me.

William Habington

To Helen

Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicæan barks of yore,
That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs, have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!

Edgar Allan Poe

On a Girdle

That which her slender waist confined
Shall now my joyful temples bind;
No monarch but would give his crown,
His arms might do what this hath done.

It was my heaven’s extremest sphere,
The pale which held that lovely deer:
My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
Did all within this circle move.

A narrow compass! and yet there
Dwelt all that ’s good, and all that ’s fair.
Give me but what this ribbon bound,
Take all the rest the sun goes round!

Edmund Waller

The White Rose

Sent by a Yorkish Lover to His Lancastrian Mistress

If this fair rose offend thy sight,
Placed in thy bosom bare,
’T will blush to find itself less white,
And turn Lancastrian there.

But if thy ruby lip it spy,
As kiss it thou mayest deign,
With envy pale ’t will lose its dye,
And Yorkish turn again.


Song: “Ask me no more where Jove bestows”

Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauty’s orient deep,
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.

Ask me no more whither do stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For in pure love heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.

Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat,
She winters and keeps warm her note.

Ask me no more where those stars light
That downward fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there
Fixèd become as in their sphere.

Ask me no more if east or west
The Phœnix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.

Thomas Carew

“Go, lovely rose”

Go, lovely rose!
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that ’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die, that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share,
That are so wondrous sweet and fair.

Stanza Added by Henry Kirke White

Yet, though thou fade,
From thy dead leaves let fragrance rise;
And teach the maid,
That goodness Time’s rude hand defies,
That virtue lives when beauty dies.

Edmund Waller

“Whenas in silks my Julia goes”

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flowes
That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
That brave vibration each way free,
O how that glittering taketh me!

Robert Herrick

“O, do not wanton with those eyes”

O, do not wanton with those eyes,
Lest I be sick with seeing;
Nor cast them down, but let them rise,
Lest shame destroy their being.

O, be not angry with those fires,
For then their threats will kill me;
Nor look too kind on my desires,
For then my hopes will spill me.

O, do not steep them in thy tears,
For so will sorrow slay me;
Nor spread them as distract with fears;
Mine now enough betray me.

Ben Jonson

Black and Blue Eyes

The brilliant black eye
May in triumph let fly
All its darts without caring who feels ’em;
But the soft eye of blue,
Though it scatter wounds too,
Is much better pleased when it heals ’em!
Dear Fanny!

The black eye may say,
“Come and worship my ray;
By adoring, perhaps you may move me!”
But the blue eye, half hid,
Says, from under its lid,
“I love, and am yours, if you love me!”
Dear Fanny!

Then tell me, O why,
In that lovely blue eye,
Not a charm of its tint I discover;
Or why should you wear
The only blue pair
That ever said “No” to a lover?
Dear Fanny!

Thomas Moore

Blue Eyes

Answer to a Sonnet Ending Thus—

“Dark eyes are dearer far
Than those that made the hyacinthine bell.”
By T. H. Reynolds.

Blue! ’T is the life of heaven,—the domain
Of Cynthia,—the wide palace of the sun,—
The tent of Hesperus, and all his train,—
The bosom of clouds, gold, gray, and dun.
Blue! ’T is the life of waters—ocean
And all its vassal streams: pools numberless
May rage, and foam, and fret, but never can
Subside, if not to dark-blue nativeness.
Blue! Gentle cousin of the forest-green,
Married to green in all the sweetest flowers—
Forget-me-not,—the blue-bell,—and, that queen
Of secrecy, the violet: what strange powers
Hast thou, as a mere shadow! But how great,
When in an Eye thou art alive with fate!

John Keats

“O, saw ye the lass?”

O, saw ye the lass wi’ the bonny blue een?
Her smile is the sweetest that ever was seen;
Her cheek like the rose is, but fresher, I ween;
She ’s the loveliest lassie that trips on the green.
The home of my love is below in the valley,
Where wild-flowers welcome the wandering bee;
But the sweetest of flowers in that spot that is seen
Is the maid that I love wi’ the bonny blue een.

When night overshadows her cot in the glen,
She ’ll steal out to meet her loved Donald again;
And when the moon shines on the valley so green,
I ’ll welcome the lass wi’ the bonny blue een.
As the dove that has wandered away from his nest
Returns to the mate his fond heart loves the best,
I ’ll fly from the world’s false and vanishing scene,
To my dear one, the lass wi’ the bonny blue een.

Richard Ryan

A Health

I fill this cup to one made up
Of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex
The seeming paragon;
To whom the better elements
And kindly stars have given
A form so fair, that, like the air,
’T is less of earth than heaven.

Her every tone is music’s own,
Like those of morning birds,
And something more than melody
Dwells ever in her words;
The coinage of her heart are they,
And from her lips each flows,
As one may see the burdened bee
Forth issue from the rose.

Affections are as thoughts to her,
The measures of her hours;
Her feelings have the fragrancy,
The freshness of young flowers;
And lovely passions, changing oft,
So fill her, she appears
The image of themselves by turns,—
The idol of past years!

Of her bright face one glance will trace
A picture on the brain,
And of her voice in echoing hearts
A sound must long remain;
But memory, such as mine of her,
So very much endears,
When death is nigh my latest sigh
Will not be life’s, but hers.

I fill this cup to one made up
Of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex
The seeming paragon.
Her health! and would on earth there stood
Some more of such a frame,
That life might be all poetry,
And weariness a name.

Edward Coate Pinkney

My Sweetheart’s Face

My kingdom is my sweetheart’s face,
And these the boundaries I trace:
Northward her forehead fair;
Beyond a wilderness of auburn hair;
A rosy cheek to east and west;
Her little mouth
The sunny south.
It is the south that I love best.

Her eyes two crystal lakes,
Rippling with light,
Caught from the sun by day,
The stars by night.
The dimples in
Her cheeks and chin
Are snares which Love hath set,
And I have fallen in!

John Allan Wyeth

Her Guitar

By the fire that loves to tint her
Cheeks the color of a rose,
While the wanton winds of winter
Lose the landscape in the snows,—
While the air grows keen and bitter,
And the clean-cut silver stars
Tremble in the cold and glitter
Through the twilight’s dusky bars,—
In a cosey room where lingers
Happy Time on folded wings,
I am watching five white fingers
Float across six slender strings
Of an old guitar, held lightly,—
Captivated while she sets,
Here and there, five others tightly
On the frets.

Lost in loving contemplation
Of the fair, shy, girlish face
Conscious of no admiration,
Posed with such a charming grace
O’er this instrument some Spanish
Serenader used to keep
Hidden till the sun would vanish
And the birds were fast asleep;
Who, below his loved one’s casement,
With the mellow Southern moon
Through a leafy interlacement
Shining softly, thrummed a tune:
Did she answer it, I wonder?
Did she frame a sweet reply?
Did she grant the wish made under
Such a sky?

This I know, if she had listened
To the melody I ’ve heard,
Mute confessions must have glistened
In her eyes at every word;
And the very stars above her
Must have whispered, one by one,
Something sentimental of her
When the serenade was done.
For this music has but ended,
And I leave my dreams to find
With the notes are somehow blended
Like confessions of my mind;
And the gentle girl who guesses
What these broken secrets are,
Is the one whose arm caresses
This guitar.

Frank Dempster Sherman

On Some Buttercups

A little way below her chin,
Caught in her bosom’s snowy hem,
Some buttercups are fastened in,—
Ah, how I envy them!
They do not miss their meadow place,
Nor are they conscious that their skies
Are not the heavens, but her face,
Her hair, and mild blue eyes.

There, in the downy meshes pinned,
Such sweet illusions haunt their rest;
They think her breath the fragrant wind,
And tremble on her breast;
As if, close to her heart, they heard
A captive secret slip its cell,
And with desire were sudden stirred
To find a voice and tell!

Frank Dempster Sherman

“O, fairest of rural maids!”

O, fairest of the rural maids!
Thy birth was in the forest shades;
Green boughs, and glimpses of the sky,
Were all that met thine infant eye.

Thy sports, thy wanderings, when a child,
Were ever in the sylvan wild,
And all the beauty of the place
Is in thy heart and on thy face.

The twilight of the trees and rocks
Is in the light shade of thy locks;
Thy step is as the wind, that weaves
Its playful way among the leaves.

Thine eyes are springs, in whose serene
And silent waters heaven is seen;
Their lashes are the herbs that look
On their young figures in the brook.

The forest depths, by foot impressed,
Are not more sinless than thy breast;
The holy peace, that fills the air
Of those calm solitudes, is there.

William Cullen Bryant

On the Road to Chorrera

Three horsemen galloped the dusty way
While sun and moon were both in the sky;
An old crone crouched in the cactus’ shade,
And craved an alms as they rode by.
A friendless hag she seemed to be,
But the queen of a bandit crew was she.

One horseman tossed her a scanty dole,
A scoffing couplet the second trolled;
But the third, from his blue eyes frank and free,
No glance vouchsafed the beldam old;
As toward the sunset and the sea,
No evil fearing, rode the three.

A curse she gave for the pittance small,
A gibe for the couplet’s ribald word;
But that which once had been her heart
At sight of the silent horseman stirred:
And safe through the ambushed band they speed
For the sake of the rider who would not heed!

Arlo Bates

The Milking-Maid

The year stood at its equinox,
And bluff the North was blowing,
A bleat of lambs came from the flocks,
Green hardy things were growing;
I met a maid with shining locks
Where milky kine were lowing.

She wore a kerchief on her neck,
Her bare arm showed its dimple,
Her apron spread without a speck,
Her air was frank and simple.

She milked into a wooden pail,
And sang a country ditty,—
An innocent fond lovers’ tale,
That was not wise or witty,
Pathetically rustical,
Too pointless for the city.

She kept in time without a beat,
As true as church-bell ringers,
Unless she tapped time with her feet,
Or squeezed it with her fingers;
Her clear, unstudied notes were sweet
As many a practised singer’s.

I stood a minute out of sight,
Stood silent for a minute,
To eye the pail and creamy white
The frothing milk within it,—

To eye the comely milking-maid,
Herself so fresh and creamy.
“Good day to you!” at last I said;
She turned her head to see me.
“Good day!” she said, with lifted head;
Her eyes looked soft and dreamy.

And all the while she milked and milked
The grave cow heavy-laden:
I ’ve seen grand ladies, plumed and silked,
But not a sweeter maiden;

But not a sweeter, fresher maid
Than this in homely cotton,
Whose pleasant face and silky braid
I have not yet forgotten.

Seven springs have passed since then, as I
Count with a sober sorrow;
Seven springs have come and passed me by,
And spring sets in to-morrow.

I ’ve half a mind to shake myself
Free, just for once, from London,
To set my work upon the shelf,
And leave it done or undone;

To run down by the early train,
Whirl down with shriek and whistle,
And feel the bluff north glow again,
And mark the sprouting thistle
Set up on waste patch of the lane
Its green and tender bristle;

And spy the scarce-blown violet banks,
Crisp primrose-leaves and others,
And watch the lambs leap at their pranks,
And butt their patient mothers.

Alas! one point in all my plan
My serious thoughts demur to:
Seven years have passed for maid and man,
Seven years have passed for her too.

Perhaps my rose is over-blown,
Not rosy, or too rosy;
Perhaps in farm-house of her own
Some husband keeps her cosy,
Where I should show a face unknown,—
Good-bye, my wayside posy!

Christina Georgina Rossetti

Lovely Mary Donnelly

O Lovely Mary Donnelly, it ’s you I love the best!
If fifty girls were round you, I ’d hardly see the rest.
Be what it may the time of day, the place be where it will,
Sweet looks of Mary Donnelly, they bloom before me still.

Her eyes like mountain water that ’s flowing on a rock,
How clear they are! how dark they are! and they give me many a shock.
Red rowans warm in sunshine, and wetted with a shower,
Could ne’er express the charming lip that has me in its power.

Her nose is straight and handsome, her eyebrows lifted up,
Her chin is very neat and pert, and smooth like a china cup,
Her hair ’s the brag of Ireland, so weighty and so fine,—
It ’s rolling down upon her neck, and gathered in a twine.

The dance o’ last Whit-Monday night exceeded all before;
No pretty girl for miles about was missing from the floor;
But Mary kept the belt of love, and O, but she was gay!
She danced a jig, she sung a song, that took my heart away.

When she stood up for dancing, her steps were so complete
The music nearly killed itself to listen to her feet;
The fiddler moaned his blindness, he heard her so much praised,
But blessed himself he wasn’t deaf when once her voice she raised.

And evermore I ’m whistling or lilting what you sung,
Your smile is always in my heart, your name beside my tongue;
But you ’ve as many sweethearts as you ’d count on both your hands,
And for myself there ’s not a thumb or little finger stands.

O, you ’re the flower o’ womankind in country or in town;
The higher I exalt you, the lower I ’m cast down.
If some great lord should come this way, and see your beauty bright,
And you to be his lady, I ’d own it was but right.

O, might we live together in a lofty palace hall,
Where joyful music rises, and where scarlet curtains fall!
O, might we live together in a cottage mean and small;
With sods of grass the only roof, and mud the only wall!

O lovely Mary Donnelly, your beauty ’s my distress;
It ’s far too beauteous to be mine, but I ’ll never wish it less.
The proudest place would fit your face, and I am poor and low;
But blessings be about you, dear, wherever you may go!

William Allingham

The Irish Spinning-Wheel

Show me a sight,
Bates for delight
An ould Irish wheel wid a young Irish girl at it.
Oh no!
Nothing you ’ll show
Aquals her sittin’ an’ takin’ a whirl at it.

Look at her there—
Night in her hair,
The blue ray of day from her eye laughin’ out on us!
Faix, an’ a foot,
Perfect of cut,
Peepin’ to put an end to all doubt in us.

That there ’s a sight
Bates for delight
An ould Irish wheel wid a young Irish girl at it—
Oh no!
Nothin’ you ’ll show
Aquals her sittin’ an’ takin’ a twirl at it.

See! the lamb’s wool
Turns coarse an’ dull
By them soft, beautiful weeshy white hands of her.
Down goes her heel,
Roun’ runs the wheel,
Purrin’ wid pleasure to take the commands of her.

Then show me a sight
Bates for delight
An ould Irish wheel wid a young Irish girl at it.
Oh no!
Nothin’ you ’ll show
Aquals her sittin’ an’ takin’ a twirl at it.

Talk of Three Fates,
Seated on sates,
Spinnin’ and shearin’ away till they ’ve done for me!
You may want three
For your massacree,
But one Fate for me, boys—and only the one for me!

And isn’t that fate
Pictured complate—
An ould Irish wheel with a young Irish girl at it?
Oh no!
Nothin’ you ’ll show
Aquals her sittin’ and takin’ a twirl at it.

Alfred Perceval Graves

The Low-Backed Car

When first I saw sweet Peggy,
’T was on a market day:
A low-backed car she drove, and sat
Upon a truss of hay;
And when that hay was blooming grass
And decked with flowers of spring
No flower was there that could compare
With the blooming girl I sing.
As she sat in the low-backed car,
The man at the turnpike bar
Never asked for the toll,
But just rubbed his ould poll,
And looked after the low-backed car.

In battle’s wild commotion,
The proud and mighty Mars
With hostile scythes demands his tithes
Of death in warlike cars;
While Peggy, peaceful goddess,
Has darts in her bright eye,
That knock men down in the market town,
As right and left they fly;
While she sits in her low-backed car,
Than battle more dangerous far,—
For the doctor’s art
Cannot cure the heart
That is hit from that low-backed car.

Sweet Peggy round her car, sir,
Has strings of ducks and geese,
But the scores of hearts she slaughters
By far outnumber these;
While she among her poultry sits,
Just like a turtle-dove,
Well worth the cage, I do engage,
Of the blooming god of Love!
While she sits in the low-backed car,
The lovers come near and far,
And envy the chicken
That Peggy is pickin’,
As she sits in the low-backed car.

O, I ’d rather own that car, sir,
With Peggy by my side,
Than a coach and four, and gold galore.
And a lady for my bride;
For a lady would sit forninst me,
On a cushion made with taste,—
While Peggy would sit beside me,
With my arm around her waist,
While we drove in the low-backed car,
To be married by Father Mahar;
O, my heart would beat high
At her glance and her sigh,—
Though it beat in a low-backed car!

Samuel Lover

A Gage D’Amour

“Martiis cælebs quid agam Kalendis,
——— miraris?”
—Horace iii. 8.

Charles,—for it seems you wish to know,—
You wonder what could scare me so,
And why, in this long-locked bureau,
With trembling fingers,—
With tragic air, I now replace
This ancient web of yellow lace,
Among whose faded folds the trace
Of perfume lingers.

Friend of my youth, severe as true,
I guess the train your thoughts pursue;
But this my state is nowise due
To indigestion;
I had forgotten it was there,
A scarf that Some-one used to wear.
Hinc illæ lacrimæ,—so spare
Your cynic questions.

Some-one who is not girlish now,
And wed long since. We meet and bow;
I don’t suppose our broken vow
Affects us keenly;
Yet, trifling though my act appears,
Your Sternes would make it ground for tears;—
One can’t disturb the dust of years,
And smile serenely.

“My golden locks” are gray and chill,
For hers,—let them be sacred still;
But yet I own, a boyish thrill
Went dancing through me,
Charles, when I held yon yellow lace;
For, from its dusty hiding-place,
Peeped out an arch, ingenuous face
That beckoned to me.

We shut our heart up nowadays,
Like some old music-box that plays
Unfashionable airs that raise
Derisive pity;
Alas,—a nothing starts the spring;
And lo, the sentimental thing
At once commences quavering
Its lover’s ditty.

Laugh, if you like. The boy in me,—
The boy that was,—revived to see
The fresh young smile that shone when she,
Of old, was tender.
Once more we trod the Golden Way,—
That mother you saw yesterday,
And I, whom none can well portray
As young, or slender.

She twirled the flimsy scarf about
Her pretty head, and stepping out,
Slipped arm in mine, with half a pout
Of childish pleasure.
—Where we were bound no mortal knows,
For then you plunged in Ireland’s woes,
And brought me blankly back to prose
And Gladstone’s measure.

Well, well, the wisest bend to Fate.
My brown old books around me wait,
My pipe still holds, unconfiscate,
Its wonted station.
Pass me the wine. To Those that keep
The bachelor’s secluded sleep
Peaceful, inviolate, and deep,
I pour libation.

Austin Dobson

An Experience and a Moral

I lent my love a book one day;
She brought it back; I laid it by:
’T was little either had to say,—
She was so strange, and I so shy.

But yet we loved indifferent things,—
The sprouting buds, the birds in tune,—
And Time stood still and wreathed his wings
With rosy links from June to June.

For her, what task to dare or do?
What peril tempt? what hardship bear?
But with her—ah! she never knew
My heart and what was hidden there!

And she, with me, so cold and coy,
Seemed a little maid bereft of sense;
But in the crowd, all life and joy,
And full of blushful impudence.

She married,—well,—a woman needs
A mate her life and love to share,—
And little cares sprang up like weeds
And played around her elbow-chair.

And years rolled by,—but I, content,
Trimmed my own lamp, and kept it bright,
Till age’s touch my hair besprent
With rays and gleams of silver light.

And then it chanced I took the book
Which she perused in days gone by;
And as I read, such passion shook
My soul,—I needs must curse or cry.

For, here and there, her love was writ,
In old, half-faded pencil-signs,
As if she yielded—bit by bit—
Her heart in dots and underlines.

Ah, silvered fool, too late you look!
I know it; let me here record
This maxim: Lend no girl a book
Unless you read it afterward!

Frederick Swartwout Cozzens

At the Church-Gate

Although I enter not,
Yet round about the spot
Ofttimes I hover;
And near the sacred gate
With longing eyes I wait,
Expectant of her.

The minster bell tolls out
Above the city’s rout,
And noise and humming;
They ’ve hushed the minster bell;
The organ ’gins to swell;
She ’s coming, coming!

My lady comes at last,
Timid and stepping fast,
And hastening hither,
With modest eyes downcast;
She comes,—she ’s here, she ’s past!
May Heaven go with her!

Kneel undisturbed, fair saint!
Pour out your praise or plaint
Meekly and duly;
I will not enter there,
To sully your pure prayer
With thoughts unruly.

But suffer me to pace
Round the forbidden place,
Lingering a minute,
Like outcast spirits, who wait,
And see, through heaven’s gate,
Angels within it.

William Makepeace Thackeray

No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change: (Sonnet 123)

No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
What thou dost foist upon us that is old,
And rather make them born to our desire
Than think that we before have heard them told.
Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see doth lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.
This I do vow and this shall ever be;
I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee.

William Shakespeare

Who is it that says most? Which can say more (Sonnet 84)

Who is it that says most? Which can say more
Than this rich praise, that you alone are you?
In whose confine immured is the store
Which should example where your equal grew
Lean penury within that pen doth dwell
That to his subject lends not some small glory;
But he that writes of you, if he can tell
That you are you, so dignified his story,
Let him but copy what in you is writ,
Not making worse what nature made so clear
And such a counterpart shall fame his wit,
Making his style admired every where.
You to your beauteous blessings add a curse,
Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse.

William Shakespeare

If there be nothing new, but that which is (Sonnet 59)

If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled,
Which, laboring for invention, bear amiss
The second burthen of a former child!
O, that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some antique book,
Since mind at first in character was done!
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composed wonder of your frame;
Whether we are mended, or whether better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.
O, sure I am, the wits of former days
To subjects worse have given admiring praise.

William Shakespeare

So, here is the greatest compilation of poems about admiration.

Let me know which one is your favorite! 😉


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