A Course of Great Must-Read English Poetry

If someone was to ask me, tell me the most concise best of English poetry featuring the great poets and poems, I would list the following (in approximate chronological order).

-“Sir Patrick Spence”
-The Twa Corbies”

Geoffrey Chaucer
-Prologue to The Canterbury Tales (in the original Middle English and Modern English)

William Shakespeare

Complete Sonnets
Dramatic speeches including:
-John of Gaunt’s “This sceptred isle” speech from Richard II
-Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech
-Macbeth’s “Tomorrow and tomorrow” speech
-Marc Antony’s “Friends, Romans” speech from Julius Caesar
-Henry V’s “St. Crispin’s Day” speech
-Jacques’ “Seven Ages of Man” speech from As You Like It
-Portia’s “Quality of mercy” speech from The Merchant of Venice

John Donne

-“The Good-Morrow”
-“The Sun Rising”
-“The Canonization”
-“A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”
-“The Ecstasy”
-“Death, Be Not Proud”
-“Batter My Heart”
-“Hymn to My God, In My Sickness”

Thomas Gray

-“Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”

William Blake

Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

William Wordsworth

-“She Was a Phantom of Delight”
-“Composed upon Westminster Bridge”
-“The World Is Too Much with Us”
-“To the Daffodils”
-“Tintern Abbey”
-“The Solitary Reaper”
-“Ode: Intimations on Immorality”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

-“Kubla Khan”
-The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

Percy Bysshe Shelley
-“To a Skylark”

John Keats

-“On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”
-“When I Have Fears”
-“La Belle Dame Sans Merci”
-“Ode on a Grecian Urn”
-“Ode to a Nightingale”
-“The Eve of St. Agnes”
-“To Autumn”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

-“The Lady of Shalott”
-“The Charge of the Light Brigade”
-“The Lotus Eaters”
In Memoriam

Robert Browning

-“My Last Duchess”
-“Porphyria’s Lover”
-“The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxid’s Church”
-“Fra Lippo Lippi”

-“Andrea Del Sarto”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
-“How Do I Love Thee?”

Oscar Wilde

-“The Ballad of Reading Gaol”

W.B. Yeats

-“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”
-“The Song of the Wandering Aengus”
-“The Wild Swans of Coole”
-“Sailing to Byzantium”
-“Leda and the Swan”
-“The Second Coming”
-“The Circus Animals’ Desertion”

A.E. Housman

A Shropshire Lad

Wilfred Owen

“Dulce et Decorum Est”, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young”, “Arms and the Boy”

T.S. Eliot

-“The Waste Land”
-Four Quartets
-“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
-“Portrait of a Lady”
-“The Journey of the Magi”

John Masefield
-“Sea Fever”

Walter de la Mare
-“The Listeners”

Alfred Noyes
-“The Highwayman”

W.H. Auden

-“O Where Are You Going?”
-“As I Walked out One Evening”
-“Autumn Song”
-“There Will Be No Peace”
-“Musee des Beaux Arts”
-“In Memory of W.B. Yeats”
-“The Unknown Citizen”
-“O What Is That Sound?”
-“Stop All the Clocks”
“If I Could Tell You”

Virginia Woolf

The Waves

Dylan Thomas

-“The Force That through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower”
-“The Hand That Signed the Paper”
-“And Death Shall Have No Dominion”
-“The Hunchback in the Park”
-“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”
-“A Winter’s Tale”
-“In My Craft or Sullen Art”
-“Ballad of the Long-legged Bait”
-“Fern Hill”
-“I See the Boys of Summer”

A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Ted Hughes

-“Thought Fox”, “Hawk Roosting”, “View of a Pig”

Birthday Letters

John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (with George Harrison’s Within You, Without You”) especially “A Day in the Life”, “When I’m Sixty-four”

-“Back in the USSR”

-“Come Together”

-“Eleanor Rigby”

-“I Am the Walrus”

-“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

-“Penny Lane”

-“Rocky Raccoon”

-“Strawberry Fields Forever”

-“The Ballad of John and Yoko”

Ray Davies (0f The Kinks)

-“A Well-Respected Man”

-“Sunny Afternoon”

-“Dedicated Follower of Fashion”

-“Dead End Street”



-“Waterloo Sunset”

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