Poems from the 18th Century

The 18th century English literature saw a rise in satirical works as well as the development of Romanticism at the end of the century. Most poets from the earlier period such as Alexander Pope, John Dryden, Samuel Johnson, and Jonathan Swift wrote satirical poems.

The end of the 18th century was a new beginning of English literature. Poets moved away from the ideals of the past and focused more on the democratization of literature.

The main poets of this movement include William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth and Coleridge’s influential collection Lyrical Ballads published in 1798 marked the beginning of English Romanticism.

Expostulation and Reply by William Wordsworth

‘Expostulation and Reply’ a ballad, written by William Wordsworth, tells the story of Matthew, dissuading the speaker (William) from idling away his precious time in “wise passiveness” or simply daydreaming.

Expostulation and Reply by William Wordsworth Visual Representation

Splendour in the Grass by William Wordsworth

‘Splendour in the Grass’ by William Wordsworth is an excerpt from the poet’s much longer, ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.’ The excerpt describes aging and where, after their youth has ended, one should seek strength and happiness.

Splendour in the Grass by William Wordsworth Visual Representation

Live Your Life by Chief Tecumseh

‘Live Your Life’ by Chief Tecumseh is an easy-to-read and powerful poem. It was written with the intention of sharing the poet’s beliefs about how to live life and embrace death without fear.

Live Your Life by Chief Tecumseh Visual Representation

On a Certain Lady at Court by Alexander Pope

Written in 1717, Pope’s ‘On a Certain Lady at Court’ is about Catharine Howard, one of the waiting-women of Queen Caroline and a mistress to George II. Pope satirizes the lady’s qualities as she rejects his genuine love.

On a Certain Lady at Court by Alexander Pope Visual Representation

A Dream by William Blake

‘A Dream’ by William Blake paints a compassionate and thoughtful picture of the natural world through the personified story of an ant.

a dream by william blake

Here we go round the mulberry bush

‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’ was first recorded in the mid-nineteenth century by James Orchard Halliwell. It was noted, as a great deal of nursery rhymes were, as a children’s game.

here we go round the mulberry bush

Fee-fi-fo-fum

‘Fee-fi-fo-fum’ is a well-known chant from the story of “Jack the Giant Killer.” Dating back to at least the early 1700s, the compelling and entertaining story tells of a young boy’s daring feats and his bravery.

Fee-fi-foh-fum

London by Samuel Johnson

To look back at a nation’s history from a poet’s perspective is an enriching exercise that enlightens modern readers regarding the follies and foibles of the age. Samuel Johnson’s ‘London’ is one such piece that throws light on the condition of 18th century England, especially London.

London by Samuel Johnson Visual Representation

Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns

‘Auld Lang Syne’ is a poem that addresses old acquaintances and the memories associated with them at the end of a year. It is a famous poem that is sung all across the world.

Ae Fond Kiss by Robert Burns

‘Ae Fond Kiss’ by Robert Burns tells of the unfortunate parting of two lovers, and a speaker’s depression over the many parts of his life he is losing.

Evening by Friedrich Schiller 

‘Evening’ by Friedrich Schiller contains a speaker’s plea to Apollo that he allow the sun to set and rest, and love to descend.

To a Mouse by Robert Burns

‘To a Mouse’ by Robert Burns describes the unfortunate situation of a mouse whose home was destroyed by the winter winds. 

The Poplar Field by William Cowper

‘The Poplar Field’ describes the destruction of a field of poplar trees and how its loss allows a speaker to reflect on his death. 

Winter by Anne Hunter

‘Winter’ by Anne Hunter cleverly personifies winter as a “tyrant” who has complete control over those most in need.

A Woman to Her Lover by Christina Walsh

‘A Woman to Her Lover’ goes over the requirements a “wakened” woman will have for her lover. She must be his equal in all aspect of their lives together.

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

‘A Red, Red Rose’ by Robert Burns is a poem that is in the ballad formation of four-line stanzas with ABBA rhyme schemes.

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