James Russell Lowell Poems

June (from “The Vision of Sir Launfal”)

by James Russell Lowell

‘June’ by James Russell Lowell is a religiously-charged romantic narrative poem about the overwhelming beauty and rejuvenating power of summer. 

This is one of James Russell Lowell's best-known and most-loved poems. While it is simply a selection from a longer work, its joyous tone and use of vivid imagery have made it even more popular than the 'Vision of Sir Launfal.'

And what is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days;

Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,

And over it softly her warm ear lays:

The Present Crisis

by James Russell Lowell

‘The Present Crisis’ by James Russell Lowell is an anthem against slavery and, by extension, other racially-induced crimes. Penned in 1845 as a protest against the permission of slavery in Texas, this long poem now serves as a voice for all people of color who continue to face discrimination today.

This James Russell Low poem is perhaps his most famous piece due to its relevance today. It continues to be an anthem for many forms of discrimination, especially against people of color, even though it was written over 100 years ago.

Slavery, the earth-born Cyclops, fellest of the giant brood,

Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who have drenched the earth with blood,

Famished in his self-made desert, blinded by our purer day,

Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable prey;—

The First Snowfall

by James Russell Lowell

‘The First Snowfall’ by James Russell Lowe is a deeply sad poem about the death of a child and what it’s like to consider that loss as time passes. 

This is a particularly pignant poem by James Russell Lowell, covering the topic of loss and the incredible grief that comes with it. With this, it can be considered one of his more meaningful and impactful poems.

The snow had begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

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