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THE GREATEST ENGLISH POEMS

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  • "Tintern Abbey" (1798) by William Wordsworth - the original and most authentic text - November 2013

    This poem is arguably the greatest lyrical poem in the English language.
    It was first published in 1798 in what is probably the most famous book of poetry in the language: Lyrical Ballads, which, in addition to ground-breaking works by Wordsworth exploring the speech and the social situation of the common man in the framework of a nature-centred vision, also contained works by by his close friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, notably his great epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This (...)

  • Poetry Readings - September 2010

    For those who are looking for something new to listen to : how about some of the greatest poems ever written in English?
    click here to see the complete texts of all of these poems.
    24.09.2010: reactivated with modified Adobe Flash Player presentation.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
    Sonnet 12 : When I do count the clock that tells the time - Sonnet 18 : Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? - Sonnet 29 : When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes - Sonnet 73 : That time of year (...)

  • Thoughts on reading "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam", translated by Edward Fitzgerald - February 2006

    One is first and foremost captivated by the sheer lyrical beauty of the poem, from the first of the seventy-five quatrains (or rubaiyats):
    - 1 -
    Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
    Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
    And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
    The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.
    and the stirring early cry:
    - 7 -
    Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
    The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
    The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly (...)

  • An Anthology of the Greatest English Poems - January 2006

    Although the criteria for inclusion in this anthology are personal, they are nevertheless quite straightforward:
    the poems have to approach that superior and very rare level of excellence and poetic power epitomized for me by Wordsworth’s sublime Tintern Abbey, by Coleridge’s epic The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and by François Villon’s immortal La Ballade des Pendus;
    they have to maintain their exceptional level of excellence throughout, from start to end;
    they have to be of a length (...)